SOLON of Athens

Diogenes Laertius I. 61 [Life of Solon]:

"Besides the laws, of course, he wrote Speeches to the People and Exhortations to himself in elegiacs, and the poems on Salamis and Athenaion Politeia, 5000 lines in all; also Iambics and Epodes. His statue is inscribed as follows:
'This is Solon the Thesmothete, whom Holy Salamis bore, who ended the hubris of the Medes.'
According to Sosicrates he flourished in Olympiad 46, in the third year of which [594 B.C.] he was Archon in Athens. It was then that he made the laws. He died in Cyprus at 80 years of age, having left the following instruction to his relatives: to carry his bones to Salamis and having burnt them to scatter them over the land. So Kratinos says in the Cheirones, making Solon say:
'I live on an island, as the report of men has it, scattered over all the polis of Ajax.'"

Plutarch Life of Solon 32. 3:

According to Heracleides of Pontos, Solon survived the beginning of the reign of Peisistratus [his mother's sister's son] by some considerable time; according to Phanias of Eresos, by less than two years. Peisistratus began his tyranny in the Archonship of Komias [561/0 B.C.], and Phanias says that Solon died in that of Hegestratos, the man who served as archon after Komias. The absurdity of the scattering of his ashes over the island of Salamis would seem to make it entirely improbable and mythical, and yet the story is attested by reputable authorities including Aristotle the Philosopher.

'Aristotle', Athenaion Politeia 9:

The most democratic of Solon's enactments were these three: the first, and greatest, the forbidding of loans on the person [i.e. using oneself as security for a loan, forclosure resulting in slavery]; the second, the possibility for anyone who wishes to sue over wrongdoings; the third, what is said more than anything else to have strengthened the power of the majority, the right of appeal to the dicastery. For the people, lord of the vote, became lord of the constitution ...

Plato Timaeus 20 e:

KRITIAS: Now he was connected with my family (oikeios), and very much a friend of my great-grandfather Dropides, as he often says in his poetry.
Proclus, comment on the passage: 'The history of Solon's family (genos) and of Plato's connection (syngenneia) is as follows: Solon and Dropides were the sons of Execestides, and Dropides was the father of Kritias, who is mentioned by Solon in his poetry, saying: Tell golden-haired Kritias to listen to his father;/ for he will obey an unerring commander (hegemoni).'

Philo of Alexandria The Creation of the World 24:

(tr. J. M. Edmonds, LCL Greek Elegy and Iambus, p. 141)
These ages of life are given by Solon the Athenian lawgiver in the following elegiac lines:
In seven years the half-grown boy casteth the first teeth he cut as a child; when God hath accomplished him seven years more he showeth signs that his youthful prime is nigh; in the third seven, when his limbs are still a-waxing, his chin groweth downy with the bloom of changing skin; in the fourth every man is at his best in the strength which men bear for a token of virtue and valour; in the fifth 'tis time for a man to bethink him of marriage and to seek offspring to come after him; in the sixth, a man's mind is trained in all things, and he wisheth not so much now for what may not be done; in seven sevens and in eight he is at his best in mind and tongue, to wit fourteen years of both; in the ninth age he is still an able man, but his tongue and his lore have less might unto great virtue; and if a man come to the full measure of the tenth, he will not meet the fate of Death untimely.



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© 08/08/2001
January 26, 2010 1:43 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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