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Pericles (circa 495-429 BCE)

A major figure in Athenian politics, Pericles was a strong advocate of democracy and of the expansionist policies that spread Athenian influence throughout the region--perhaps exacerbating the rivalry between Athens and Sparta. He was an accomplished orator and an associate of the philosophers Socrates and Anaxagoras. In the Phaedrus, Socrates praises Pericles as someone who succeeds in combining rhetorical skill with philosophical orientation that strives for true knowledge.