Ancient Greece Timeline > Archaic Age > Solon
Also see: Solon's Reforms
Dates: c. 638 B.C.-558 B.C.
Father: Euphorion or Execestides
Occupation: Statesman, poet
In his biography of Solon, Plutarch says that Solon's father may have been Euphorion, but more probably Execestides, a descendant of the legendary King Codrus of Athens; his mother was related to the tyrant Peisistratus.
Solon traveled to Egypt.
Plutarch calls Solon a trader, lyric poet, and an acquaintance of the philosopher Thales of Miletus.
Plutarch says Solon led the Athenians in an expedition against Megara [see Map of Greece].
Solon is known for having honored the Delphic Oracle.
Solon the Law-Giver of Athens
Solon is probably best known for his wisdom, especially in his handling of the laws of Athens, for which reason he is called Solon the lawgiver of Athens. His laws were publicly posted on axones and/or kyrbeis [see: "Solon's Axones and Kyrbeis, and the Sixth-Century Background (Figs. 1-2)," by Noel Robertson; Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte (1986), pp. 147-176]. Solon repealed the too harsh laws of Draco -- except those on homicide, allowed the magistracies to continue in the hands of the wealthy, but involved the citizens of Athens -- ranked into classes according to wealth -- into other parts of the government so that they might serve as jurors and deliberate. Solon freed the poor of their burden of debt, established a council of 400, and disenfranchised those who took no part in a sedition [see Greek Idiots]. He also stipulated a minimum number of conjugal visits between man and heiress and made other laws about marriage and other aspects of daily life.