Agariste (fl. 515 BCE–490 BCE)

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Agariste (fl. 515 bce–490 bce)

Greek noblewoman. Flourished around 515 bce–490 bce; born into the aristocratic Alcemeonid family; married Xanthippus; children: Pericles (c. 495 bce–429 bce), Greek general, politician, and diplomat.

Agariste, mother of Pericles, was an Alcemeonid, an old and influential aristocratic family. The Alcemeonids had been among the elite when Athens was a true aristocracy and had intermarried with the houses of autocratic tyrants. Nevertheless, they were also responsible for the overthrow of Athenian tyranny when Agariste's uncle, Clisthenes, inaugurated his democratic reforms in 507 bce. Agariste's husband was Xanthippus, one of the most important public figures of his generation, whose greatest claim to fame came in 479 when he led Athens to victory over the Persians at Mycale, a battle that virtually assured that Persia would never again invade European Greece.