Born in Cholarges, a plain near Athens, Pericles was the child of a wealthy family, but nevertheless had good intentions for the rest of the populace. During his time as the leader of Athens, the city-state grew to its peak, a high point dubbed the "golden age." Much was accomplished, most of which included the people of Athens, making him a very popular and well-honored leader and man. Cultural life thrived, as many well-known authors arose during his reign and increased the popularity of drama and philosophy. Through the help of the people, Athens also became a beautiful city-state; well known for its buildings, temples, statues, and a government system that still continues to influence nations today. Many of the key features of Pericles" era, in fact, still have an effect on the ideals of the western world. .
After the Persians burned it down, Pericles had the opportunity to unite Athenians and start to rebuild the city-state of Athens in a new way. To start, he employed citizens as workers and paid them a salary for accomplishing their job, something no ruler had ever done before. Many of the buildings that were built still remain and have become an example of solid architecture and aesthetic beauty. Most of the buildings erected were ones that could be used by common people. For example, the people were paid to build the Parthenon as a symbol of victory when they triumphed in the war against Persia. Inside the Parthenon they placed a statue of Athene, the goddess of war and wisdom, made out of ivory and gold. In addition, the people themselves were glorified in "the Ionic frieze above [the Pathenon's] columns, [which] depicted the struggle between the Greeks and the Persians" (116). Other new Athenian buildings were similarly dedicated to gods, goddesses, or demigods, a practice that spread the Greek religion by making it more accessible and highly visible. Today, buildings are often built with users in mind, and dedicated to donors, events, or famous figures.