SOLON

Athens
approx. 640 - 560 B.C.





BIOGRAPHY

A great Athenian legislator, philosopher and poet. Solon belonged to a rich and aristocratic family, the Codrids, and his father’s name was Eksikestides. From a young boy he was raised and educated in a harmonious environment. After suffering the loss of his property and wealth, he turned to trade and travelled to Egypt and Asia Minor and took benefit of his journeys, which lasted decades, to study a number of foreign civilizations, their laws and political and social life. This knowledge he used when the time was right, for the rebuilding the social and political status of his hometown, thus becoming the greatest man of his time.

Solon won the trust and admiration of the public initially as a poet, affecting, advising, encouraging and exciting Athenians with his passionate lyrics. After diagnosing that the troubles and disputes of the Athenian society was nothing than a struggle of the lower and upper classes, in 594 BC he was elected ruler of ultimate authority, to solve the social problems that the city of Athens endured. He managed to relieve the oppressed citizens and brought equality to the state by applying just laws, relieving debts, freeing slaves, lifting mortgage from owing estates, and banning personal slavery of people who owed money and of their families’. Moreover he applied different currency policy and many law reformations.

Solon is considered one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece.