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Solon: The Story of a Wise Lawgiver of Athens - Essay Example

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Name Name of Professor Solon: The Story of a Wise Lawgiver of Athens Biography of Solon of Athens This is the narrative of a remarkable individual; a prosperous merchant, a statesman, a warrior, a philosopher, and a poet. He was perhaps a son of a minority but upper-class, and perhaps religious, family that recognized Kodros, Athens’s famous last king, as its ancestor…
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Solon: The Story of a Wise Lawgiver of Athens
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Solon: The Story of a Wise Lawgiver of Athens

Download file to see previous pages... The name of Solon in the ancient world was momentous; a claim which is highlighted by the fact that more than a large number of ancient intellectuals mention him by name, by his ideas, by his laws, and by his poems. The narrative of Solon is also a narrative of the wisdom of the Athenians who resorted to appeasement and negotiation, instead of resorting to the exercise of force and hostility, to resolve a lingering internal political conflict which was weakening their society’s core foundation. The narrative also concerns an extensive political and economic disaster at the advent of the 6th century BCE that endangered the central structure of Athenian society (Osborne 2009, 213). It involves the response of the Athenians to that disaster; it tries to illustrate the methods, guidelines, structures, and systems established by Solon to alleviate hardships; and to explain both his values, beliefs, and his idea of justice which add force to that response. Solon: The Lawmaker of Athens by Plutarch (2012, para 3) states that Solon was a part of an aristocratic family. He originally attained prominence in Athens due to his contribution in the battle against Megara for Salamis. During this period, Athens was beleaguered with political conflict between the wealthy and the destitute and the residents of various regions. According to Plutarch (2012, para 11), the poor of Athens had been severely weighed down by debt to the rich. A large portion of the poor population farmed the lands of the wealthy, giving them one-sixth of the yield in return. Nevertheless, other portions of the poor population had given themselves as guarantee for debts; when these poor people are not capable of paying their debts, their creditors are allowed to seize them and sell them as slaves. In such situations, Solon was chosen archon to develop political policies. After embarking on social and political reforms, Solon planned to abandon Athens for several years, and he mandated that his policies would not be replaced throughout that period. Solon was held in the highest regard as both a lawgiver and a great philosopher. Throughout the 4th century, spokespersons of Athens ascribed practically every law to Solon (Osborne 2009, 207). In ancient times Solon was grouped among the seven erudite of antiquity. A great deal of what is known about the Athenian lawgiver is sealed in his poems. According to Osborne (2009, 206 & 210), Life of Solon by Plutarch and the Constitution of the Athenians consider his poems as surviving proof of his character and accomplishments. Significance of Solon of Athens in Western History Athens, virtually, although not completely, was unscathed by the numerous attacks before the time of Solon, had been vigorously engaged in the Ionian migration. In the 8th and 9th centuries, the pottery of Athens had thrived; however, after these periods of bustling activity and success there is no proof that Athens was of any value until Solon’s arrival (Osborne 2009, 280). Democracy’s historical root was in the latter part of the 6th century BCE, but the major stride in the formation of Athenian democracy was Solon’s attempt to purge enslavement by debt at the advent of the century. Athenians of the 4th and 5th century had contrary opinions and beliefs about the origins of democracy (Osborne 2009, 209). Several Athenians attribute ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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