In 447 Pericles began the project he is most famous for: the building program on the Acropolis. Through its great naval alliance the city controlled an empire - Pericles now insisted his countrymen support him in constructing a building whose magnificence, architectural genius, and sheer brilliance would reflect the prestige of imperial Athens:
'All kinds of enterprises should be created which will provide an inspiration for every art, find employment for every hand... we must devote ourselves to acquiring things that will be the source of everlasting fame.'
The most ambitious building program in Greek history, the building of the Parthenon was Pericles' greatest triumph and he oversaw the project personally. Costing 5000 talents in the first year alone - a figure equivalent to some $3 billion in today's money - the building was completed in less than 15 years, despite attempts to derail the projects by Pericles' political opponents. Made from 20 thousand tons of marble quarried from nearby Mount Pentelicus, the huge cost of the building was partly financed from the treasury of the Delian League, which caused great resentment among many of Athens' allies, who were to be the source of many future troubles...
The History of the Acropolis