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Pericles

Pericles was a prominent and influential Greek statesman and general of Athens during its golden age – the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and influential Alcmaeonid family. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, a contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire, led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War; the period during which he led Athens from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century. Pericles promoted literature, he started an ambitious project. This project beautified and protected the city, exhibited its glory, gave work to the people. Pericles fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist. He, along with several members of his family, succumbed to the Plague of Athens in 429 BC, which weakened the city-state during a protracted conflict with Sparta.

Pericles was born c. 495 BC, in Greece. He was the son of the politician Xanthippus, though ostracized in 485–484 BC, returned to Athens to command the Athenian contingent in the Greek victory at Mycale just five years later. Pericles' mother, Agariste, a member of the powerful and controversial noble family of the Alcmaeonidae, her familial connections played a crucial role in helping start Xanthippus' political career. Agariste was the great-granddaughter of the tyrant of Sicyon and the niece of the Athenian reformer Cleisthenes. According to Herodotus and Plutarch, Agariste dreamed, a few nights before Pericles' birth, that she had borne a lion. Legends say that Philip II of Macedon had a similar dream before the birth of his son, Alexander the Great. One interpretation of the dream treats the lion as a traditional symbol of greatness, but the story may allude to the unusually large size of Pericles' skull, which became a popular target of contemporary comedians. Although Plutarch claims that this deformity was the reason that Pericles was always depicted wearing a helmet, this is not the case.

Pericles belonged to the tribe of Acamantis. His early years were quiet, his family's nobility and wealth allowed him to pursue his inclination toward education. He learned music from the masters of the time and he is considered to have been the first politician to attribute importance to philosophy, he enjoyed the company of the philosophers Protagoras, Zeno of Elea, Anaxagoras. Anaxagoras, in particular, influenced him greatly. Pericles' manner of thought and rhetorical charisma may have been in part products of Anaxagoras' emphasis on emotional calm in the face of trouble, skepticism about divine phenomena, his proverbial calmness and self-control are often regarded as products of Anaxagoras' influence. In the spring of 472 BC, Pericles presented The Persians of Aeschylus at the Greater Dionysia as a liturgy, demonstrating that he was one of the wealthier men of Athens. Simon Hornblower has argued that Pericles' selection of this play, which presents a nostalgic picture of Themistocles' famous victory at Salamis, shows that the young politician was supporting Themistocles against his political opponent Cimon, whose faction succeeded in having Themistocles ostracized shortly afterwards.

Plutarch says. If this was so, Pericles must have taken up a position of leadership by the early 460s BC – in his early or mid-thirties. Throughout these years he endeavored to protect his privacy and to present himself as a model for his fellow citizens. For example, he would avoid banquets, trying to be frugal. In 463 BC, Pericles was the leading prosecutor of Cimon, the leader of the conservative faction, accused of neglecting Athens' vital interests in Macedon. Although Cimon was acquitted, this confrontation proved that Pericles' major political opponent was vulnerable. Around 461 BC, the leadership of the democratic party decided it was time to take aim at the Areopagus, a traditional council controlled by the Athenian aristocracy, which had once been the most powerful body in the state; the leader of the party and mentor of Pericles, proposed a reduction of the Areopagus' powers. The Ecclesia adopted Ephialtes' proposal without opposition; this reform signaled the beginning of a new era of "radical democracy".

The democratic party became dominant in Athenian politics, Pericles seemed willing to follow a populist policy in order to cajole the public. According to Aristotle, Pericles' stance can be explained by the fact that his principal political opponent, was both rich and generous, was able to gain public favor by lavishly handing out portions of his sizable personal fortune; the historian Loren J. Samons II argues, that Pericles had enough resources to make a political mark by private means, had he so chosen. In 461 BC, Pericles achieved the p

Walter Aston, 1st Lord Aston of Forfar

Walter Aston, 1st Lord Aston of Forfar was an English courtier and diplomat. Aston was born in Staffordshire, about 1584. On his father's death Edward Coke, the Attorney General, was appointed his guardian, by Lord Burghley, master of the Court of Wards. In 1603, at the coronation of King James I of England, Aston was honoured with the Order of the Bath at which Michael Drayton the poet acted as his esquire. In 1611, after paying a fee of £1095 Sir Walter was created Baronet of Tixall. In 1618 he was appointed steward of the honour of Tutbury by James I. In 1622, Sir Walter was sent to Madrid as the resident ambassador to the Spanish court to negotiate a marriage between Charles, the Prince of Wales, the Infanta Maria Anna of Spain and provisions for joint naval operations to patrol and suppress piracy; the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duke of Buckingham, arrived at the Spanish court in 1623 unannounced: his overtures to the Infanta were rejected and so the marriage proposal fell through.

Despite the failure of Aston's mission, for his good service to Charles, Charles was grateful to him and once he became King helped Sir Walter both and financially. Charles pardoned Sir Walter for recusancy: this allowed him to serve in local government and in 1631 he was made a commissioner for Warwickshire to enforce a fine upon gentry who failed to appear at Charles's coronation to receive a knighthood. Sir Walter claimed that his expenses in Spain had been ruinous, cost him £14,000. To make amends Charles arranged that he be elevated to the Scottish peerage on 28 November 1627, as Baron Forfar in county Angus, gave him a bond of £1000 to buy land in Scotland. Charles appointed him "keeper of the king's mulberry garden" at St James's with an annual income of £60, he arranged an annual pension of £50 for Sir Walter and the same for his wife. Just over a year in December 1628 "a warrant was issued to prepare a bill for a privy seal to pay out of the exchequer £14,000 to cancel his debt"; this largesse did not satisfy Lord Forfar who grumbled to Secretary Conway that it would have been better if the barony had been in recognition of "the ancient house of Tixall".

Lord Forfar returned as envoy to Spain in 1636, although the dispute over the restoration of the Palatinate to the new Elector Palatine remained intractable, Lord Forfar gave assistance to twenty-seven lawsuits involving English merchants in Spanish courts. His health failed, he returned to England in the spring 1638, but did not recover and died on 13 August 1639, he was buried in Stafford. He was succeeded by 2nd Lord Aston of Forfar. Walter Aston's father died in 1597, leaving him with the Attorney-General Sir Edward Coke as his legal guardian. Aston married Anne Barnes in 1600 without his guardian's permission. In 1607 Coke gave permission for Aston to marry Gertrude, only daughter of Sir Thomas Sadler of Standon, they had several children: Walter. Walter, who became 2nd Lord Aston; the Astons were traditionally Roman Catholic, Walter's son and grandson practiced that faith at the height of the Penal Laws, during the Popish Plot hysteria. Herbert, baptised at Chelsea, 16 January 1614, married Catherine, sister of Sir John Thimbleby, of Ingham and was buried at Colton, in Staffordshire, 9 January 1689, at 75.

John, who died in infancy. Thomas, who died in infancy. Gertrude, who died in infancy. Honor, baptised at Tottenham, 17 July 1610, died at Vittoria, during her father's embassy, was buried at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, London. Frances, baptised at Chelsea, 16 April 1612, married Sir William Peshall, of Canwell in Staffordshire. Gertrude, who married Henry, brother of Sir John Thimbleby. Constance, an author who married Walter Fowler, of St. Thomas, near Stafford. Lord Aston of Forfar Burke, Sir Bernard, A Genealogical History of the Dormant: Abeyant and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, Harrison, p. 14 Kishlansky, Mark A.. "Charles I". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5143. Loomie, A. J.. "Aston, Baron Aston of Forfar". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/828.. The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource: "Aston, Walter". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

1885–1900. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages

William Beavers

William M. Beavers is an African-American Democratic politician, he is a former Chicago alderman and former County Commissioner for District 4 of Cook County, which encompasses part of Chicago's South Side and southern suburbs. He has been convicted of federal tax evasion. Beavers was raised in Chicago's Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood, one of six children. Beavers' mother worked as a waitress. Beavers' father was a steel mill worker. Beavers' father worked for a wrecking company and died in an accident on the job. Beavers attended Harold Washington College. Beavers was a Chicago police officer for 21 years. Beavers was an alderman of the 7th Ward in Chicago's far south side. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the Chicago City Council from 1983 to 2006. Beavers said he had read Linda Lovelace's autobiography Ordeal, had visited a topless beach and a nude beach, but had never visited a nudist camp, speaking on April 11, 2000 during testimony at a public hearing before the Finance Committee of the Chicago City Council on a proposed designation of a part of Walton Street in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, the location of the first Playboy Club, as "Hugh Hefner Way" in honor of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

In 2006, Beavers engineered a complex deal concerning the retirement of Cook County Board President John Stroger, who suffered a stroke in March of that year. The deal called for Beavers to assume Stroger's County Commissioner seat, Stroger's son, Todd Stroger, to replace his father on the November 2006 ballot as County Board president, for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to appoint Beavers' daughter and chief of staff, Darcel Beavers, to her father's 7th Ward seat. On February 23, 2012, Beavers was indicted on four federal charges alleging he filed false tax returns and "endeavoring to obstruct and impede" the Internal Revenue Service. Following the indictment, he lashed out against the federal prosecutor. On March 21, 2013, Beavers was found guilty of tax evasion and faced a maximum three-year prison term on each of the four tax counts he was found guilty of. Beavers was sentenced to six months in jail, a $10,000 fine, ordered to pay $31,000 in back taxes. In June, 2014, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.

Beavers has two daughters. One daughter, was his aldermanic chief of staff and was appointed to succeed Beavers as alderman."I like to go to the gambling boats, maybe twice a week. Play the slots. That's my relaxation," Beavers said in profile in the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine in 2006. William Beavers articles in the archive of the Chicago Tribune William Beavers archive at the Chicago Reader