Percy Bysshe Shelley: "The period which intervened between the birth of Pericles and the death of Aristotle, is undoubtedly, whether considered in itself or with reference to the effect which it has produced upon the subsequent destinies of civilized man, the most memorable in the history of the world.”
Golden Age Greece: Athens, 450-399 (death of Socrates). With the threat from the east gone, Athens begins a fifty year period under the brilliant statesman Pericles (495-429 BC) during which time the Parthenon was built on the Acropolis and the city becomes the artistic, cultural and intellectual as well as commercial center of the Hellenic world, attracting all sorts of smart and interesting people and taking command of the other Greek states. Continuing their war against the Persians they liberate the Ionian Greek cities of Asia Minor and the Aegean islands.
If you would like to read one general historical introduction to the Greeks, here is the one to get.
Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind,
W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 16, 2014),
The Visual Arts: A History,
Laurence King Publishing,