With the beginning of the fifth century B.C., the city of Athens entered the most glorious era of its history. The tyranny of Peisistratus had been overthrown in 510, and a few years later there were important political reforms resulting in a complete democracy, the first in Europe. The Persian invasion took place in 480 B.C., and, by what then seemed to be an act of God, the massed power of Asia was defeated by a coalition of the tiny Greek city-states under Athenian leadership. Athens organized the Delian League and began slowly to transform it into an empire. The city became wealthy and powerful, the cultural and intellectual center of all Greece. The century opened by these events was marked throughout by an energetic enterprise and a flowering of genius in all areas of human activity that has rarely been paralleled in the thousands of years since. Aeschylus, who was born in 525 B.C., lived through these stirring events and shared the pride of all
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