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Fifth-century Athens is the Greek city-state of Athens in the time from 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens with the later part The Age of Pericles. The period began in 478 BC after defeat of the Persian invasion, when an Athenian-led coalition of city-states, known as the Delian League, confronted the Persians to keep the liberated Asian Greek cities free. After peace was made with Persia in the mid 5th century BCE, what started as an alliance of independent city-states became an Athenian empire when Athens abandoned the pretense of parity among its allies and relocated the Delian League treasury from Delos to Athens, where it funded the building of the Athenian Acropolis and put half its population on the public payroll and maintained dominating naval power in the Greek world. With the empire's funds, military dominance and its political fortunes guided by statesman and orator Pericles, Athens produced some of the most influential and enduring cultural artifacts of the Western tradition. The playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides all lived and worked in 5th century BCE Athens, as did the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, the physician Hippocrates, and the philosopher Socrates. Athens' patron goddess was Athena, from whom they derived the name.
During the golden age, Athenian military and external affairs were mostly entrusted to the ten generals who were elected each year by the ten tribes of citizens, who could be relied on rather than the variable-quality magistrates chosen by lot under the democracy. These strategoi were given duties which included planning military expeditions, receiving envoys of other states and directing diplomatic affairs. During the time of the ascendancy of Ephialtes as leader of the democratic faction, Pericles was his deputy. When Ephialtes was assassinated for overthrowing the elitist Council of the Aeropagus, Pericles stepped in and was elected strategos in 445 BCE, a post he held continuously until his death in 429 BCE, always by election of the Athenian Assembly.
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