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Solon

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Solon (c.640—c.560 BC) – Athenian lawgiver

Solon has been called the founder of democracy. In 594 he was elected chief magistrate of Athens at a time when the conditions of the poor were very bad.

Up to then the rich farmers and businessmen, who were known as aristocrats, (aristocracy means rule by the best), had had things all their own way. They even made and unmade laws to suit their own interests.

Solon determined to sweep all that away. He put an end to the system by which a debtor who could not pay became the slave of the man to whom he owed money. He re-ordered the constitution of Athens by dividing the population into four classes, each having defined rights. The most important was that members of all four could be elected to the popular assembly, which meant that more people could have a real say in government – the beginnings of democracy.

Solon

Solon

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