BC Landed aristocracy rules Athens.
The economy depended on
surrounding farms, especially the large estates owned by rich noble families,
Nearly all government decisions and operations are in
the hands of a half-dozen leaders called archons and lesser officials called
Indebtedness magnified the hatred of the commoners towards
A poor farmer had to borrow seed from a rich landowner
to plant his crops.
share cropping the farmer pay his debt
with a share of the harvest.
land had to work as tenants by renting
Draco carves his laws on an oak
According to Aristotle, one of the few ancient sources we have
for Draconian Law, these magik runes are stained with human blood, not
Draconian laws severely punished lawbreakers.
594 BC Seeing disaster looming, both
the aristocracy and common people of Athens support the election of
Solon as primary archon.
Solon, age 35, nearly unlimited powers to write new laws.
chose Solon to mediate
their crisis for several reasons.
The aristocrats approve that he
is of noble birth.
The commoners truste him as
a merchant who trades for a
Solon suggested that all the citizens of Athens were
responsible for the common good - not just the ruling archons and
Solon attempted to make the court system fair to the lower
"To the people I have given such honor as is sufficient,
neither taking away nor granting them more.
For those who had power and
were great in riches, I greatly cared that they should suffer nothing wrong.
Thus I stood, holding my strong shield over both, and I did not allow
either side to prevail against justice." - Solon
He made it possible for
any citizen to step forward and seek justice.
Before only the actual
victim of wrongdoing could make a complaint.
The powerful could easily
threaten victims to discourage complaints.
Solon's law code is based on
two fundamental principles.
The first is laws are fixed and not easily
The second is laws must apply equally to everyone, aristocrats
and commoners alike.
Solon's code of law covered virtually every aspect
of lifetheft, treason, taxation, vagrancy, adoption, boundaries, loans,
and religion, among many others.
Solon rejected all but one Draconian
law the homicide law.
Solon's laws differed greatly from Draco's
He made it a crime to publicly speak evil of either the living or
Solon allowed a husband to kill an adulterer caught in the
A theft committed at night or in a public place carried a
Solon's laws focused on compensating victims and
preventing future conflicts.
BC Spartan imposes an oligarchy that rules Athens after the
Thirty commissioners are appointed to the oligarchy
led by Critias.
The oppressive regime fosters a bloody purge, in which
perhaps 1,500 residents are killed.
Moderates flee the city; gather a
force, they returned to defeat the tyrants' forces in a battle at Piraeus in
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