Athenian Politics c800-500 BC: A Sourcebook (Studies in by G. R. Stanton

By G. R. Stanton

A serious method of the resources of knowledge on historic Athenian politics providing modern resources, later old and biographical writings, archaeological proof, inscriptions on stone, and papyri from Egypt.

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This, they said, had happened earlier for the Euboians when they chose Tynnondas as tyrant and in their age for the Mitylenaians when they chose Pittakos. (8) None of these arrangements shook Solon from his resolve. To his friends he is reported to have said that tyranny was a noble position, but there was no way down from it. To Phokos he wrote in his poems: If I spared my land, My native land, and withheld my hand from tyranny And relentless force, which would taint and disgrace my good repute, I am not ashamed.

3) By birth and reputation Solon was among the leading men. 3 He himself testifies to the fact in this same group of poems, where he exhorts the wealthy not to be avaricious: Quieten your heart that swells up with ambition, You who have soared to a surfeit of good things. 4 Indeed he repeatedly attributes the blame for the strife to the rich. Thus at the beginning of the poem he says that he fears ‘both greed and an arrogant spirit’,5 implying that the conflict arose through them. 1–2 is translated, with notes, above [18].

Other sources (passages [33] and [34]) indicate that Solon forbade the securing of loans on a debtor’s person. This removed the only security which many families could offer. Moreover, none of these measures enabled families released from vassalage to feed themselves. The only measure taken by Solon to alleviate this problem was the prohibition on the export of all agricultural produce apart from the produce of the olive (passage [35]). This must have induced an immediate drop in the price of grain in Attike.

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