Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pericles - revisited

Last May, I touched briefly on Pericles in one of my posts. This Athenian leader played a significant role in Greek history. Indeed, so significant was his role the period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.
"Remember, too, that if your country has the greatest name in all the world, it is because she never bent before disaster; because she has expended more life and effort in war than any other city, and has won for herself a power greater than any hitherto known, the memory of which will descend to the latest posterity." Pericles' Third Oration according to Thucydides
Pericles was ambitious if nothing else. In fact, I think his ambition was ultimately his undoing. We try to teach our children to have enough ambition as to provide a foundation for success. What is too much ambition? When have we gone too far in our efforts to push for success? Will our success be measured beyond our lifetime? The lifetimes of our children's children?
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