Who was the most powerful man in Athens?

It depends on when you're asking about, but the common answer is Pericles.

During the Golden Age of Athens, the guy more or less making the decisions was Pericles. But this does not mean he was in charge. Athens was a direct democracy, so the citizens voted on every single issue. Pericles' power was his ability to persuade the people to see things his way. When he expressed an opinion in the Ecclesia - the Peoples' Assembly -it practically always swung the vote.

Though we call him a statesman, Pericles was, technically, a military man. Year after year he was voted by the people to be one of the ten strategoi, which means Generals. You'll never guess where we get our word strategy.

(I've noticed some common questions leading people to this blog, so I'm making it simple for searchers by answering the questions directly.)

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