Who is Solon?

Solon is the first of the great philosophers who made Athens famous. He was himself descended from the line of the ancient kings of Athens. The laws which he drafted were so just that ultimately they pleased nobody. The nobles thought too much was granted to the commons, who in their turn felt too much was preserved to the nobility. Solon himself said the laws were not the best that could be made, but only the best that the Athenians were ready for. In imitation of the Spartan law-giver, Lycurgus, he pledged the people to abide by his laws for ten years, and then he went into voluntary exile.

On his return he found the city still in disorder. A new leader appeared, seeking to take the place of Cylon, and ride to power on the favor of the poorer people. This was Pisistratus, a relative of Solon. One day Pisistratus appeared suddenly in the market-place covered with blood and cried out that the nobles had sought to kill him as the friend of the commons. Instantly these commons decreed that they would form a bodyguard to protect him. With this guard to help him Pisistratus gradually assumed power over everything, and became "tyrant," the first tyrant of Athens (560 B.C.).

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Read about Who is Solon? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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