Pericles was the most famous leader of the most famous ancient Greek democracy - and also the most controversial in his own time and ever since. Was he a brutal imperialist ready to oppress other Greeks, or a clear-eyed defender of Athens' need for power to survive in a relentlessly hostile world? How did his intellectual training in ideas that many Athenians regarded as dangerous make him the most persuasive leader Athenian democracy ever knew? Why was his personal lifestyle so idiosyncratic? How should we evaluate his responsibility for the suffering and loss of the Peloponnesian War? Thomas R. Martin's unique emphasis on the effect on Pericles of his family's notorious history, his youthful experiences as a wartime refugee, and his unusual education reveals a brilliant politician whose hyper-rationality could not, in the end, protect him or his community from tragedy.