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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

025 - The Reforms of Solon

In this episode, we discuss the life of the great Athenian statesman, Solon, who from his position of sole archonship, enacted various economic, political, and legal reforms that would later form the backbone for Athenian democracy in the Classical Period

ca. 625 BC - severe agrarian crisis causes the Athenians to look for new land--their solution was to establish a cleruchy on Salamis; this led to continuous war with Megara, who also held claims to the island
ca. 605 BC - in order to defend their trade routes into the Black Sea, Athens challenges Mytilene for control of Sigeion in the Troad, an event which was arbitrated by Periander in favor of Athens (thanks to Solon's argument)
595 BC - Solon and Peisistratos led forces that defeated the Megarians
594/3 BC - Solon appointed as sole archon to reform the constitution, which (among many other things) eliminated debt slavery and helped ease the land crisis; though wildly successful, his reforms' immediate aftermath led to increased competition amongst the elite for political offices
593-583 BC - Solon's self-imposed exile for 10 years following his reforms so that he couldn't be persuaded to change anything, during which he visited Egypt, Cyprus, Lydia, and Ionia
591/0 BC - political strife led to anarchia as they were unable to elect the three archons; eventually restored
580s-560s BC - The three dominant political factions (Pediakoi, Peralioi, and Diakrioi) competed for control
586/5 BC - second bout of anarchia; once again was eventually restored
582/1 BC - archonship of Damasias, at the end of which he refused to step down
579 BC - after two and half years, Damasias was driven out of the archonship; afterwards, a board of 10 archons were appointed to govern Athens
578 BC - three traditional offices of the archons were re-established
575 BC - great ramp built up the Acropolis; noble families competed for prestige through the funding of the construction of new buildings and statues on the Acropolis, such as the Temple of Athena Poleis, the precursor to the Parthenon, and a statue of Athena Promachos 
566 BC - the Great Panathenaia was instituted by the archon, Hippocleides
ca. 565 BC - Solon recognized that Peisistratos was harboring feelings for a revolution to end the political strife of the three dominant political factions


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