Often regarded as the inventor of the Democracy, it belongs to the Seven Wise of Greece. It is born in Athens in a family eupatride. It is made popular at the time of a war against the city close to Mégare, gained on its councils. He plays then an important political role, and promulgates a series of reforms increasing considerably the role of the popular class in the Athenian policy, reforms which bear its name. He leaves his native city to traverse the Mediterranean and Asia, and dies shortly after his return.
He is initially trader, and trades abroad.
In the medium of the years 590 av. J. - C., it militates for a new war against Mégare. During this war, he advises to seize the island of Salamine, and on its councils, the war is gained, which attracts a great popularity to him.
For the posterior Greek historians, its poems were the independent source of information on the economic crisis and social which it tried to cure. He is elected Archonte for 594 - 593 av. J. - C., with for principal task curing the civil disorders which threatened: the Esclavage for debts strongly reduced the number of free men. It introduces an important legislative reform, the Seisachtheia. This law prohibits the slavery for debts, retroactively releases the victims of this practice, and limit the land enrichment of the big families.
One entrusts then the task to him to write a new constitution (see Constitution of Solon), which establishes the first bases of what became later the Athenian Démocratie. It institutes a Timocratie , Oligarchie where the political rights are defined by the real richness and production capacity. Four classes are created:
- the Pentakosiomedimnoi (those whose incomes exceed the 500 Boisseau X per annum);
- the hippeis (knights, i.e. those which could treat to an military equipment and a horse to go to the war, that is to say an income of 300 bushels per annum),
- the zeugitai (plowmen, i.e. owners of a pair of animals of ploughing, having an income of approximately 200 bushels per annum),
- the thètes (manouvriers).
Historian NGL Hammond supposes that taxes proportional were established, at the rates according to the scale of 6-3-1, the thètes not paying any tax, combatant not at the time of the wars, but being ineligible. He also creates the swell (council of 400 men). He reforms justice: all the citizens can carry felt sorry for in front of a court, creates Jury S open to the popular classes in a new court, the Héliée , which is also qualified to judge the archontes at their exit of load. He reforms the Aréopage, modifies the Calendrier and the system of the weights and measures.
This constitution is a compromise between the Oligarchie and the Démocratie, acceptable by the aristocracy and the people.
He also encourages the economic growth by offering the citizenship to the most skilful foreign workers. Its laws were engraved on the special cylinders out of wooden and were placed in the Acropolis.
After its constitution was accepted, Solon leaves Athens. According to the posterior Greek writers, he travels ten years to Cyprus, in Egypt and Lydie where he meets Crésus, which is chronologically impossible.
Old of more than eighty years, it returns to Athens towards 560 before J. - C. It is associated with Pisistrate at the time of its takeover, Pisistrate that Aristote describes like a radical democrat. When Pisistrate founds a tyranny in Athens, Solon leaves its city again. It returns at the time of the second tyranny of Pisistrate and dies shortly after.
Solon and Atlantis
According to Hérodote, Solon accomplished voyages in Libya and Egypt. It is in Egypt with Know that, according to Plato ( Timée ), Solon would have heard the myth of the Atlantis mouth of local priests, guards of a engraved column of Hiéroglyphe S telling the history.
It projected on its return to Athens to write a poem on the subject, but gave up because of the extent of the task. The history nevertheless was transmitted in its family via Dropides and of Critias, to Plato.
- Athenian Democracy
- Other large legislators:
- Lycurgue (mythical),
- Clisthène (Athens) (reform of 508 av JC)