d the wealthy nobles orthe poor? Give reasons for your views
Solon’s reforms angered many wealthy nobles in that he had, through
seisachtheia, struck a financial blow on them by cancelling debts and
forcing them to give up those who had been enslaved to them by debt.
Solon’s possible introducion of the Boule, the council of 400, 100 from
each Ionic tribe, took away the aristocrats’ power to judge local disputes
– this undermined the aristocrats power and was disliked by many nobles.
The legal reforms – the right of appeal to the dikasterion and third-party
address meant that anyone could appeal against a decision made by an archon
or against the wrongdoings of archons which also displeased the aristocracy
because it weakened the stranglehold which it had on the poor people since
usually it was aristocrats with their tendency to further their own class
who made up the Areopagus. In changing the classes so that the new system
was timocratic and your class was based on wealth and how much grain you
could produce on your land (Solon did not restore the nobles to theeir
traditional position so they were angered.
Solon’s reforms angered many poor people because he had not fully
redistributed the wealth and property as they expected him to so they were
frustrated at what they saw. The fact that the new class system did not
allow them much chance to climb up the social ladder – it was
virtuallyimpossible – meant that many of the poor were angered. Moreover,
since the franchise was still class-based the poor did not have a chance to
voice their opinions and put into power people who represented them and
their wishes. Solon’s reforms did not provide for the poor people’s
financial situation in the future – they ended up being wholly depedent
upon their creditors once again since they, even if they could not be
enslaved by debt and had their own land to work on and take all the produce
from, could not sustain themselves financially.
In the 5th and 9th year after Solon left Attica for Egypt there was
no archon appointed. This is indicative of the dissention of many in
Attica and the political insability aftrer Solon’s archonship and reforms.
More notably in the 13th year after Solon’s reforms Damasias remained
archon for 2 years when he was only legally allowed one year in office of
archon and had to be forcibly removed by the people. Thus Solon’s reforms
had angered many rich and poor and did not prevent the increase of
instability. Attica was wracked with political difficulties.
However Solon’s refoms pleased a lot of poor people in that the right
of appeal and 3rd-party redress had given them the right to challenge
wrongdoings of archons and the changes he made to the Assembly meant that
all classes could be involved in the administration of the state (but
whilst not being involved in policy making) which was similar to the
reforms of the court – he let all classes attend the court which meant a
broder base of people were represented in it and were empowered in that
they had the final decision on the debt. Seisachtheia was very
pleasing to many poor people but, nevertheless, temporary in its benefits.
Solon pleased, to a certain extent much of the noble sentiment – he
did not get rid of the original 4 Ionic tribes, phratries nor clans – they
were still the base of religion and registration of citizenship and also
Solon did not remove the Areopagus’ supervisory powers or right to try
homicide cases so the nobles still had great power: the top three classes
still had the exclusive right to vote on so they sill had a stranglehold on
How did Peisistratus and Hippias unify Athens?
Peisistraus and Hippias made Athens more unified than it had ever
been previously and built on the foundations made by Solon and his reforms.
The introduction of deme judges undermined the nobles who previously
had the right to judge local disputes and reduced the grip that the
aristocracy had on the poor. Equally an important to the unity of Attica
was Peisistratus’ removal of factional strife between the leading noble
families by expelling the Alcmeonids who were seen as the main
troublemakers – something that Solon had failed to do. Similarly the
economic problems that Solon failed to resolve were improved when under
Peisistrstus state loans were offered to poor farmers and 10% of the
farmers’ produce went to the state bcause farming was so successful –
farmers now had more reason to be patriotic. The prosperity of the pottery
and olive oil trades went hand in hand with Peisistratus’ economic success.
The building programme which included a meeting house, a record
office and the Heliaea marked a significant step towards democracy as so
many democratic institutions rose under a sole ruler and were embodied in
stone as a following through of the Athenian constitution. The employment
for craftsmen and poor people provided by the building programme created a
unity of feeling and a unity of purpose as well as the glorifying the
The introduction of the coin with the image of Athena and the owl and
the honour of Athena in the Great Panathenaia which literally brought
thousands of Athenians together along with the embellishment of the
Acropolis and the building of the first Telesterion at Eleusis unified
Attica and its people in both religion and citizenship.
In conclusion, the tyrannies of Peisitratus and Hippias made Attica
more unified to an unprecedented degree. The old phratries lost power of
local jury over the poor masses, the aristocrats were suppressed, local
particularism was overcome by the introduction of deme judges, so the demos
was now more unified than ever as they realised that they were now the
ultimate arbiters of policy and their own defenders and all the while were
ruled by a securely positioned tyranny which brought stable, continuous
paternal government which unified Attica with its building programme, new
coins and most importantly, new religious festivals.