Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Solon, a descendant of Codrus and kinsman of Pisistratus, was born at Salamis about 638 B.C. Returning to Athens after a long voyage, he found the state torn by factions, undermined by the system of slavery for debt, and preyed upon by Megara. By a poem he stirred the citizens to recover Salamis, and was rewarded by being appointed archon. He at once set to work upon the reforms with which his name is associated. He wiped off all existing mortgages, classified the citizens according to property, gave votes to all, but limited the exercise of high office to the wealthiest, established trial by jury, and the elective council of 400, strengthened the aristocratic Senate or Areopagus, invited foreigners to settle, as "metoikoi," under the protection of citizen patrons, regulated education, and introduced many social restrictions. He then bade farewell to his country for ten years in order to give his constitution time to get into working order. He visited Egypt, Cyprus, and Asia, held his memorable interview with Croesus, and came home to find the old evils cropping up once more, and the tyranny of Pisistratus imminent. Between the latter and Solon there seems to have been some sympathy, though the lawgiver objected to absolute government. He died at the age of eighty before the new dynasty had fully come into power. Fragments of his poems have come down, to us.