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Jesus Minano Hist. to 1500 BMW Professor: Trumbach, R.

Greece in Times of Solon The organization of power in each social class in a country always creates big issues about politics, and the old Greece was not the exception. When democracy was rose as a new political system instead of oligarchy, and brought unrest to the social organization, Solon as elected as mediator in order to solve these problems. In this paper I intend to explain each different issues and theirs factors in time of Solon, and how he took measures in order to solve them as much as he tried to turn Greece into a democracy by reorganizing the society, the families and the Constitution. In order to explain this theme better, I organized my paper in three parts according to the big issues that Solon has passed. The first one I will talk about the conflict between peasants and aristocrats that explains the problem of debts slavery and the solution made by Solon. The second one will describe the problem between the highest social class, the aristocrats, and how their fight for power turn Athens in a ring of a blood-feud, also how Solon tried to change this way of view families and alliances of kinsmen. Finally, the third one is going to discuss the change in Constitution that Solon made in order to force the harmony between classes, also the changes about women as properties. As my principle source, I used to explain all this period of time the book of "The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives" written by the great Plutarch, and as my source of support "The Athenian Constitution" by the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

In this first part of my paper I am going to talk about the conflict between the aristocrats and the peasant in time of Solon, also the information I will explain is divided into three sources described in The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch. Each source represents a factor that contributes to the big problem of debt slavery and ownership of lands. Firstly, it has to be said that an aristocrat is a man who possess a lot of property like lands or animals and has an inherit status, and a peasant is a person who just work for his family and cannot grow anything for the market. As a first factor, we have the territory organization. All the lands of Attica were divided into three zones: the hills, the plains, and the shore; they are supported by an extreme democracy, an extreme oligarchy and a political point of view in between, respectively (Plutarchs Rise and Fall of Athens, page 54, paragraph #13). This organization caused a geographical problem about the fertility of the lands, enriching the plains with more rainwater and leaving the hills poorer, and with this we have some owners with very good lands and others with poor ones. This problem about the ownership of lands brings a desire of redistributions of them for the lower level class that Solon could not achieve because he worked for the harmony between the peasants and aristocrats, and a reform of constitution was not a solution but a favouritism of a social class instead (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 55, ph. #14). In relationship with this problem, we have as a second factor the two types of peasants whom worked in Greece. The first type was the landless peasant or sharecropper; he was required to pay a rent of one-sixth of his crop, and the second type was the landowner peasant who has to borrow seed to keep his crop and become debts slaves. The

rent that sharecropper had to pay to the owner add to the family alimentation, and feeding the animals that work in farm, did not allow any possible savings and stick them into peasants. Also, the peasants whom have their own lands did not have enough resources to keep some seed of their crop and continuously have to borrow seed from the rich but without any property or material good they have to use as collateral their own freedom, become to slaves of their debts. (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 54, bottom ph. #13). Most of those landowner peasants have their lands in the hills, and according to the geographical fact mentioned before, they have small infertile lands. This did not give them other option to borrow more and more seeds from the rich whom have their lands in the plains, which means they have large good-quality lands, in an endless cycle of debt and aristocrats enrichment. As a solution of this slavery problem, Solon declared all current debts

forgiven: he put into forced decreed that existing debts were wiped out and that in future nobody could accept a person of a debtor as security, this measure was called the discharge (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 57, middle ph. #15). The third factor enclosed in this problem was the classification of social class. Solon divided the society in four different groups according to their annual income. Those who received an annual income of five-hundred measures were in the first class and those who has a horse or three-hundred measure in the second one; all of them are considerate aristocrats, then the third ones who received an annual income of two-hundred measures, and finally the rest of citizen were known Thetes; these last two were considerate peasants (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 59-60, ph. #18). The decision to forgive debts bring with it a problem of work and production in these two big society groups, the aristocrats could not employ the peasants and these could not asking for work as debts slaves. In this margin, according

to Hesiod each average household has five family members: husband, wife, two children and one slave (Trumbach) making and an approximate of twenty-five thousands of household families, with a two percentage of them were aristocrats. Subtracting the five hundred aristocrats of the total population we get a result of more than twenty-four thousands of peasant whom has problems to work and continuing feed their families. In addition, there was a problem of economy about exportations, Solon only allowed the exportation of olive soil and absolutely prohibited the export of seeds (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 66, ph. #24). Solon tried to solve this problem of unproductive people encourage them to turn to the arts of manufacture and made a law that no son was obligated to support his father unless he had first been taught a trade (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 64, ph. #22), and ordered the Council of Areopagus to inquire into every man's means of livelihood and to punish those who had no occupation (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 65, bottom ph. #22). But, even though this measures were applied, Athens just had no more than twenty shops with a maximum of ten people working inside it (Trumbach), it means no more than two thousand artisans, leaving more than twenty thousand peasants with problems about the forgiveness of debts.

In the second part of my paper I will describe the conflict between aristocrats and the reforms that Solon made in order to change kinsmen to friendship with your fellow citizen. All of these reforms could be found in Rise and Fall of Athens by Plutarch. In order to understand more about the problem about power between the highest classes in Greece

is important to know the history of Cylon and Megacles. These two people represented two of the most important aristocratic families in Athens; the first one was married with the daughter of the tyrant Magara and Megacles was an important archon of the Alcmaeonidae. On that occasion Megacles, the archon, had induced Cylon and his fellow-conspirators, who had taken sanctuary in the temple of Athens, to come down and stand their trial, these tied themselves at the statue of the goddess and remained with her to stay in their protection. But when they were all the way down the thread snapped of its own accord, and Megacles use this as a pretext to say the goddess refused them her protection and he killed most the followers of Cylon, even chased the ones who ran away the city just leaving a few people alive. This made a permanent faction of the family and followers of Cylon against the descendants of Megacles, making this political conflict into an endless blood feud (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 52-53, ph. #12). These blood feud were a fight for honour between important families in ancient Greece that involves blood relatives as much as kinsmen as a family. In times before Solon, any member considered as your family could take revenge for you if you suffered an injury from other person or family as we saw in the previous history, but Solon made an important change about this by obligate injured people to present his case of the court and he prohibited any fellow citizen to help you bring your case to court (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 60, bottom ph. #18). In the same margin to change the organization of kinsmen, Solon made a law in which any person with no children could leave his inheritance like properties or lands to any fellow citizen he choose, showed that he rated friendship above the ties of blood because in times previous to Solon any person with no children had to leave his inheritance to male relatives (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 63, ph. #21). In addition to promote citizen friendship rather than kinsmen, Solon abolished dowries that

consisted in some material good given away from the father of the bride to the husband, this change prevented the old tradition to make alliances between families by marriage and change it from a making-profit institution to a relationship based in loved and affection (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 62, bottom ph. #20). In the same pattern, Solon also made a change about funerals making them smaller than in the past were people sacrificed ox at the graveside and buried their dead with a lot of clothes, he abolish all these practices and also prohibited to reciting set dirges, lamenting any person at the funeral ceremonies of another or to visit the tomb of others besides their own family; all of these measure were set in order to forbidden the kinsmen alliances (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 64, bottom ph. #21). He also proposed a law which forbade slaves to rub themselves dry with oil, to practice in the gymnasium or to have a boy lover, and with this law Solon was trying to encourage this behaviour as an honourable and dignified practice for the citizen, thus he promoted the close friendship between two fellow citizens that fits with his other propositions (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 43-44, bottom ph. #1).

In the last part of my paper I will describe some of the changes that Solon made in the Constitution in order to improve harmony between the social classes, also the reforms about households and women. Most of the information is from Rise and Fall of Athens and a little details in The Athenian Constitution by Aristotle. As I describe in the first part of the paper, Solon divided the society in four different classes according to their annual income, but those four classes can be enclosed in two big important groups: peasants and

aristocrats. In order to improve democracy and social order he made a law about the nine archons: they had to be elected by a short list of ten candidates per each tribe, they had to be in the five-hundred-measures social class, and they were in charge for periods of just one year (The Athenian Constitution, pg. 4, ph. 8). In this same context, Solon established the Council of Areopagus which was composed for men who had held the annual office of archon (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 61, ph. #19), those are the people whom made proposals of law. These two offices in Solon constitution were exclusively for the highest class in Athens, it means for the aristocrats. But, in order to equilibrate the power, he assigned the Thetes to the Assembly making them the big majority in this office, and they were in charge to approve the laws proposed by the Council of Areopagus. In this same pattern, Solon latter assigned the peasants to the jurors, whom were the guardians of law in all the territory (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 60, ph. #18). Those measures of Solon were made with the same purpose of bring equality for the two classes; because the aristocrats wanted to return the old days of debts slavery but the Assembly did not want to approve the law, and the peasants wanted the redistribution of lands but the Council of Aeropagus did not want to proposed it, with those controlled desires he forced the work in harmony in Athens. Also, as a reform of change the concepts about women as property, Solon made some specific laws about this matter that could be separated in four: if you see your wife having sex with her lover you can kill him only in the act, if you rape against a free women you have to pay a hundred drachmae to her male owner like the father or brother, but if you seduce her you just have to pay twenty drachmae to them except for prostitutes, and you are not allowed to sell your sister or daughter unless you discovered she is no longer virgin. (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 65, ph. #23), all those laws are an implicit way to say that the body of a woman

does not belong to her but for the males in charge of her household, and describe the issue of virginity as an important factor of honour and retribution for them. All those laws about social organization were to remain in force for a hundred years (Plutarchs RFA, pg. 67, ph. #25).

After describes the entire factors and organized them in three different sources: the conflict between peasants and aristocrats, the fight of power between aristocrats, and the changes in Constitution made by Solon, it should be concluded that the reforms of Solon were constituted not by economic changes but in social reforms instead. In the paper we can appreciate that there are three important democratic laws which represent the period of Solon in the government, and that can be found one per each part of the paper. The first one is the ban on loans and the abolition of debts slavery, the next one was the unifiedcourts where any fellow citizen could not help you to subtend your case and making an equality before law, and the third one was the participation of the mass in the juries in order to make a forced harmony in the social classes (The Athenian Constitution, pg. 4, ph. 9). It is true that Solon did not solve the economy problem about lands or exportations of seed, but he made big reforms about society that changed in some way the conflicts between classes and forced them to work together, seeing themselves among each other not as rich or poor, but as citizens of Athens.