Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIII.: Party divisions immediately following. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. XIII.: Party divisions immediately following. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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Party divisions immediately following.
These, then, were the reasons why Solon went and lived abroad.
After he had left his country, although the city was still in an unquiet state, for four years they lived in peace; but in the fifth year after the magistracy of Solon they did not appoint an archon, owing to the factions which prevailed; and a second time in the fifth year, for the same reason, they did not appoint to the office. And after this, in the same period, Damasias was elected archon, and continued in office for two years and two months, until he was driven from it by force. Then they decided, on account of the strength of party feeling, to elect ten archons, five from the nobles, three from the landowners, and two from the handicraftsmen; and these held office the year after Damasias, thus making it clear that the archon possessed the greatest power, for it is evident that they were always engaged in party strife about this office. And they continued generally in an unhealthy state in their relations with one another, some on the score of office, and making a pretext of the cancelling of debts, for they had become poor men in consequence; some from discontent at the government, because the change had been great; and others because of their rivalry with one another. The divisions were three: one the party of the Shore, at the head of which was Megakles, the son of Alkmæon, and they had the reputation of aiming, most of all, at a moderate government; and the second, the party of the Plain, who sought an oligarchy, with Lykurgus as their leader; and the third, the party of the Mountain, at the head of which stood Peisistratus, with the character of being a strong partisan of the people. And the ranks of this party had been swollen by such as had been relieved of their debts in consequence of their poverty, and by such as were not of pure blood from motives of fear.* Evidence of this is afforded by the fact that after the establishment of tyrants they made a proclamation that it was not fitting that many should participate in the government. And each party took its name from the district in which they cultivated the land.
[* ]No doubt a return of the aristocratic government.