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Lecture 4

HISTORY 36B Lecture 4: History 36 B Notes

Course Code

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Professor Brusuelas
History Department
History 36 B
History of Ancient Greece
Course Code: 26580
Course Code: 26581
4 units
No Pre-Reqs
Location: HG 1800
Solon’s laws enshrined
Solon believed his laws were governed by the principle of “governance by good
laws” (eunomia)
In times of civil strife, every many must choose a side
Laws were inscribed on wood tablets called axones and displayed in the agora
Athenians agreed to keep laws in effect for 100 years
Each archon had to pledge to uphold the laws upon taking office
Solon’s legacy
Included in the list of the seven sages
Left athens after his reforms, supposedly so that no one would appeal for more
Later sources sometimes considered from the father of athenian democracy, since
he created a free lower class, and drew a line between freedom and slavery in the
context of athenian citizenship (N.B. Solon did not oppose the institution of
Aftermath of Solon
Reforms alleviated suffering, primarily as result of debt slavery
But the reforms likely did not eradicate social tensions
The ability for the poorer citizens to participate more in government was probably
more theory than actual practice
New Social Groups
We are not sure why, but sources describe Athenians (post Solon) as separated by
Men of the plain
Possibly large land owners
Men of the Coast
Possibly craftsmen
Men of the Hill
Possibly poor inhabitants of the highlands (and maybe city-
Pisistratus the Tyrant
Pisistratus was a distant relative of Solon
Gained support of the Men of the Hill and city-dwellers
Around 560 BCE carries out a successful coup
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