Solon: Solon, an Athenian archon in the early 6th century BC, instituted a number of
reforms which would dramatically affect Athenian society for generations to come. He
produced a new law code for Athens, reorganized the existing economy and society by
redefining property rights, redefined slaves, redistributed land, clarified weights and
measures, and established incentives for craftsmen to come to Athens. He also overhauled
the political system in Athens by dividing citizens into four census classes based on wealth.
He also instituted the Council of 400. Solon is historically significant because his reforms
shaped Athens for years to come. Prohibiting Athenians enslaving other Athenians led to
the importation of foreign slaves, which would eventually become a pillar of Athenian
Pisistratus: Pisistratus, a powerful Athenian aristocrat in the middle 6th century, made
many attempts at establishing a tyranny in Athens. His reign would be known as a golden
age of peace and security. During his time in power, Athenian houses were better built,
public facilities had improved, and its industry and mining were vigorous. Athenians goods
were also widely distributed. There was also population growth. He elevated poor citizens,
listened to the Assembly, and followed the laws. He instituted new taxes, and used the
revenue to provide loans to the farmers to develop their land. He also overhauled the legal
system. He is significant because Athens prospered under his rule. He worked to reduce
aristocratic power, which eventually strengthened the institutions of a centralized state.
--Cleisthenes: Cleisthenes, a mid to late 6th century Athenian politician, made a number
of reforms which would drastically change Athens’ political system. He broke up the four
old kinship tribes that had been sources of aristocratic power into thirty groups. He then
formed ten new tribes with three trittyes in each, one from the coastal area, one from the
inland area, and one from the urban area. He replaced the Council of 400 with the Council
of 500, composed of fifty men selected by lot each year from the 10 new tribes. Cleisthenes
is significant because his reforms led to Athenian democracy. He ceded power to ordinary
Athenians, who all had a role to play in Athenian politics. All citizens were free to come to
the Assembly, discuss the issues, vote, and put decisions into action.
--Darius: Darius was the King of the Persian empire in the late 6th century. He was king
during the Ionian Revolt, where he defeated the Ionian cities and Athenians. Outraged by
Athens’ actions against Persia, Darius launched an invasion of the Greek city-states, which
would culminate in a Persian defeat at the Battle of Marathon.
--Ionian Revolt: The Ionian Revolt, in the first few years of the 5th century, was a revolt of
the Ionian cities under Persian rule. Aristagoras helped inspire the Ionian cities to
overthrow their Persian tyrants, even though they had flourished under Persian rule.
Sparta declined to help, but Athens agreed to send ships. However, when King Darius
ordered his troops against Miletus, the heart of the rebellion, the rebellion fell. The Ionian