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Pericles   


piece of his work was immediately, even at that time, for its beauty
and elegance, antique; and yet in its vigour and freshness looks to
this day as if it were just executed. There is a sort of bloom of
newness upon those works of his, preserving them from the touch of
time, as if they had some perennial spirit and undying vitality mingled
in the composition of them.
Phidias had the oversight of all the works, and was surveyor-general,
though upon the various portions other great masters and workmen were
employed. For Callicrates and Ictinus built the Parthenon; the chapel
at Eleusis, where the mysteries were celebrated, was begun by Coroebus,
who erected the pillars that stand upon the floor or pavement, and
joined them to the architraves; and after his death Metagenes of Xypete
added the frieze and the upper line of columns; Xenocles of Cholargus
roofed or arched the lantern on top of the temple of Castor and Pollux;
and the long wall, which Socrates says he himself heard Pericles propose
to the people, was undertaken by Callicrates. This work Cratinus ridicules,
as long in finishing-
"'Tis long since Pericles, if words would do it,
Talked up the wall; yet adds not one mite to it."
The Odeum, or music-room, which in its interior was full of seats
and ranges of pillars, and outside had its roof made to slope and
descend from one single point at the top, was constructed, we are
told, in imitation of the King of Persia's Pavilion; this likewise
by Pericles's order; which Cratinus again, in his comedy called the
Thracian Women, made an occasion of raillery-
"So, we see here,
Jupiter Long-pate Pericles appear,
Since ostracism time, he's laid aside his head,
And wears the new Odeum in its stead."
Pericles, also eager for distinction, then first obtained the decree
for a contest in musical skill to be held yearly at the Panathenaea,
and he himself, being chosen judge, arranged the order and method
in which the competitors should sing and play on the flute and on
the harp. And both at that time, and at other times also, they sat
in this music-room to see and hear all such trials of skill.
The propylaea, or entrances to the Acropolis, were finished in five
years' time, Mnesicles being the principal architect. A strange accident
happened in the course of building, which showed that the goddess
was not averse to the work, but was aiding and co-operating to bring
it to perfection. One of the artificers, the quickest and the handiest
workman among them all, with a slip of his foot fell down from a great
height, and lay in a miserable condition, the physicians having no
hope of his recovery. When Pericles was in distress about this, Minerva
appeared to him at night in a dream, and ordered a course of treatment,
which he applied, and in a short time and with great ease cured the
man. And upon this occasion it was that he set up a brass statue of
Minerva, surnamed Health, in the citadel near the altar, which they
say was there before. But it was Phidias who wrought the goddess's
image in gold, and he has his name inscribed on the pedestal as the
workman of it; and indeed the whole work in a manner was under his
charge, and he had, as we have said already, the oversight over all
the artists and workmen, through Pericles's friendship for him; and
this, indeed, made him much envied, and his patron shamefully slandered
with stories, as if Phidias were in the habit of receiving, for Pericles's
use, freeborn women that came to see the works. The comic writers
of the town, when they had got hold of this story, made much of it,
and bespattered him with all the ribaldry they could invent, charging
him falsely with the wife of Menippus, one who was his friend and
served as lieutenant under him in the wars; and with the birds kept
by Pyrilampes, an acquaintance of Pericles, who, they pretended, used
to give presents of peacocks to Pericles's female friends. And how
can one wonder at any number of strange assertions from men whose
whole lives were devoted to mockery, and who were ready at any time
to sacrifice the reputation of their superiors to vulgar envy and

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