CHAP. VI.: Solon; charge against him. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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- Explanation of Terms For the English Reader.
- The Constitution of Athens.
- Chap. I.: Kylon.
- Chap. II.: The Oligarchical Constitution.
- Chap. III.: Before Draco’s Time.
- Chap. IV.: Draco’s Laws.
- Chap. V.: Civil Dissensions; Solon.
- Chap. VI.: Solon; Charge Against Him.
- Chap. VII.: His Constitution.
- Chap. VIII.: Solon’s Constitution.
- Chap. IX.: How Solon Gave Power to the People.
- Chap. X.: Reforms the Currency, Weights and Measures.
- Chap. XI.: Goes Abroad.
- Chap. XII.: The Testimony of His Own Poems.
- Chap. XIII.: Party Divisions Immediately Following.
- Chap. XIV.: Peisistratus Makes Himself Tyrant; His Exile and Return.
- Chap. XV.: How He Disarmed the People.
- Chap. XVI.: His Government Moderate and Popular.
- Chap. XVII.: Succeeded By His Sons.
- Chap. XVIII.: Harmodius and Aristogeiton.
- Chap. XIX.: Expulsion of the Peisistratidæ.
- Chap. XX.: Isagoras and Kleisthenes.
- Chap. XXI.: The Constitution of Kleisthenes.
- Chap. XXII.: The Times Immediately Following; Ostracism; Building of a Hundred Triremes.
- Chap. XXIII.: Recovery of Power By the Areopagus; Themistokles and Aristides.
- Chap. XXIV.: Athens Lays Claims to the Leadership of Greece.
- Chap. XXV.: Overthrow of the Areopagus By Ephialtes and Themistokles.
- Chap. XXVI.: Growth of the Democracy; Kimon.
- Chap. XXVII.: Perikles.
- Chap. XXVIII.: His Successors; Nikias, Kleon, Thucydides, Theramenes.
- Chap. XXIX.: The Four Hundred; the Proposals of Pythodorus.
- Chap. XXX.: The Constitution As Proposed For the Future.
- Chap. XXXI.: The Constitution As Proposed For the Immediate Present.
- Chap. XXXII.: The Government of the Four Hundred.
- Chap. XXXIII.: It Lasted Four Months, and Was Good.
- Chap. XXXIV.: Arginusæ Ægospotami Lysander and Establishment of the Oligarchy.
- Chap. XXXV.: The Thirty and Their Government.
- Chap. XXXVI.: Protests of Theramenes.
- Chap. XXXVII.: Theramenes Put to Death, and the Lacedæmonans Call Ed In.
- Chap. XXXVIII.: End of the Thirty, and Reconciliation of Parties.
- Chap. XXXIX.: Terms of the Reconciliation.
- Chap. Xl.: Its Conclusion; Action of Archinus.
- Chap. Xli.: Recapitulation of the Preceding Changes; the Sovereign Power of the People.
- Chap. Xlii.: Admission to Citizenship; Training of the Ephebi.
- Chap. Xliii.: Election to Offices, By Lot Or Vote.
- Chap. Xliv.: the Council Continued.
- Chap. Xlv.: Deprived of the Power of Putting to Death.
- Chap. Xlvi.: the Council Continued.
- Chap. Xlvii.: the Treasurers of Athena; the Government-sellers.
- Chap. Xlviii.: the Receivers; Auditors.
- Chap. Xlix.: the Council Holds a Muster of the Knights, Etc.
- Chap. L: Surveyors of Temples; City Magistrates.
- Chap. Li.: Clerks of the Market; Inspectors of Weights and Measures, Etc.
- Chap. Lii.: the Eleven; Suits Decided Within a Month.
- Chap. Liii.: Judicial Officers; Arbitrators.
- Chap. Liv.: Surveyors of Roads; Auditors; Secretaries.
- Chap. Lv.: the Archons; How They Are Appointed.
- Chap. Lvi.: the Archon (eponymus); His Duties.
- Chap. Lvii.: the King Archon; His Duties.
- Chap. Lviii: the Commander-in-chief, Polemarch
- Chap. Lix.: the Thesmothetæ; Their Functions.
- Chap. Lx.: the Directors of Games; the Sacred Oil.
- Chap. Lxi.: Election By Vote to All Offices of War Department.
- Chap. Lxii.: Pay Attached to Offices
- Chap. Lxiii.: Appointment of Jurors.
Solon; charge against him.
Now, Solon, when he had got to be at the head of affairs, made the people free both for the present and the future, by forbidding loans on the security of the person, and he made laws, and a cancelling of all debts both private and public; this they call Seisachtheia (the disburdening ordinance), as having shaken off their burden. It is in regard to these measures that men try to attack his character. For it happened that when Solon was about to make the Seisachtheia, he announced it first to some of the upper class, and then, as the popular side say, his friends stole a march upon him, while the possessors of property bring the injurious charge that he made a profit himself.
For these friends borrowed money and bought up a great quantity of land, and as the cancelling of debts took place not long afterwards, they became at once rich; this, they say, is the origin of the class who afterwards had the reputation of being rich from of old. Not but what the account of the popular side is the more trustworthy; for it is not reasonable that in all other respects he should have shown himself so moderate and impartial—while it rested entirely with himself whether, or not, he would, by introducing his laws in an underhand way, make himself master of the state, and so an object of hatred to both sides, as also, whether, or not, he would prefer honour and the salvation of the state to any greed for his own gain—it is not reasonable, I say, to suppose that in such petty and unworthy matters he would defile himself. That he possessed such power, and remedied the distempered state of affairs, both he himself records in many passages of his poems, and all others agree. This charge, therefore, should be adjudged false.