Pericles’ son (404 BC)
My father had a plan for war all worked out. Athens had over 20,000 men in the army and navy at the start of the war. My father planned for citizens to stay inside the walls of Athens while our navy fought Sparta outside the city walls. My father thought it would be a short war with very few injuries and deaths. He could not have predicted that a plague would ruin Athens. In 430 BC, a year after the war started, a plague spread throughout Athens. Most of the 40,000 citizens and their families were living inside the city walls. The plague killed many Athenians including my father, Pericles.
Our great historian Thucydides described the plague. He writes, “The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about in the streets. The catastrophe became so overwhelming that men cared nothing for any rule of religion or law.” Athens is completely destroyed. One-fifth of all our people are dead, including my father, Pericles.