Comparison: The Life Of Solon Of Athens

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In the early sixth century B.C. social tensions were rising within Athens. The rich landowners and professionals were far superior and exploitive of the poor. Many citizens were denounced to the status of farmers, while some even sold themselves into slavery to save themselves from debt. Athens was in crisis. In order to resolve these problems they announced a new leader, Solon of Athens. He was a great Athenian statesman, lawyer and poet. Throughout his reign, he succeeded in political and economical reforms. Compared to other powerful leaders, Lycurgus of Sparta and Pericles of Athens, Solon was the mediator for Athens. He developed a humane code of laws that also helped form the foundation of the Athenian democracy. The people of Athens…show more content…
He enlisted himself into the merchant profession, where he was in charge of the export and import of trade. Solon did consider himself poor as he did not rely on money nor did he respect the currency of it (1). Growing up, Solon grew fond of poetry and his life experience creatively influenced his mantra and mind. Throughout his lifetime, Solon documented most of his achievements within his poetry. Most of the evidence, historians found out about Solon of Athens’ era was from the poetry he kept and wrote throughout his lifetime. Once Solon was established into office as the official mediator and law producer, he began his journey to achieve financial and political agreement between the social classes and Athens…show more content…
The laws enlisted upon Athens were Draco’s laws, which pitted the wealthy against the poor and started this entire divide between social classes. Following Draco’s laws, the poor citizens had to mortgage parts of their lands to wealthier citizens in exchange for food and seeds for plants. This resolved in many poor citizens enslaving themselves to clear their debts (3). While, Solon’s laws were not as severe and also covered most aspects of society, including: marriage, economy, crime, punishment and politics. Although, Solon’s laws did not establish a democracy, they were a crucial step towards Athenian democracy. Within this, Solon also created a social hierarchy based on agriculture, this allowed each class to participate in the government but also have their own obligation for taxes, contributions and other benefits. The classes included: the Pentakosiomedimnoi (the most powerful landowning class), the Hippies (consists of government officials), then the Zeguital (the lower officials in the government) and lastly, Thetes (owned no land, had little or no influence within the government) (4). Solons’ laws allowed the citizens to have more rights with their government and to be able to stabilize within their social hierarchy’s. Solons contributions consisted of moderate rearrangement rather then an entire revolutionary transfer of political power. However, this gave important rights to the lower

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