Bust of Athenian statesman Solon.


(c. 630 BC - c. 560 BC)

Solon rose to political prominence in Athens around 600 BC for writing a poem that called for a renewed war with Megara over the control of Salamis. After serving as archon around 594 BC, he revised the city’s onerous law code enacted by his predecessor Draco and instituted a series of reforms, among them the freeing of enslaved debtors and the opening of the assembly to all deemed citizens of the polis. The legendary lawgiver and poet, who wrote that it was “hard to please everyone in politics,” left the city for ten years after his efforts were met with dissatisfaction from the wealthy and poor alike.

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