Solon (Athenian statesman)
Solon (sō´lən), c.639–c.559 BC, Athenian statesman, lawgiver, and reformer. He was also a poet, and some of his patriotic verse in the Ionic dialect is extant. At some time (perhaps c.600 BC) he led the Athenians in the recapture of Salamis from the Megarians. He was elected chief archon in 594 at a time of social, economic, and political stress in Athens. With most of the land and political power in the hands of the nobles, the peasants were rapidly losing not only their land but their freedom as well. Solon annulled all mortgages and debts, limited the amount of land anyone might add to his holdings, and outlawed all borrowing in which a person's liberty might be pledged. This last reform put an end to serfdom in Attica. Other economic reforms included a ban on the export of all agricultural products except olive oil and the granting of citizenship to immigrant artisans. Solon also made important constitutional changes. The assembly was opened to all freemen, the Areopagus was continued with new powers, and the Council of Four Hundred was created to represent the propertied classes and to prepare the agenda for the popular assembly. Although there was opposition to Solon's reforms, they subsequently became the basis of the Athenian state. He also introduced a more humane law code to replace the code of Draco.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Solon (Athenian statesman). Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.