Solon and Aristocracy

2915 Words Apr 1st, 2012 12 Pages
In this paper, I intend to explore the conflicts that arose between those of the aristocratic society, and those who composed the vast number of peasants before, as well as after the life and times of Solon, and the effect and solutions that Solon’s rule had concerning these conflicts. Such major conflicts between peasants and aristocrats include, [but are not limited to] land and slavery (Trumbach). Though, these laws will be explored further later on in this essay. The ruler, Solon imposed a number of laws in order to rectify the problems that were arising between aristocrats and peasants, as well as to mold Athenian society in a much more citizen-oriented way of living (Trumbach). Such laws included relieving the prior debts that …show more content…
I.
The first section of this piece will attempt to explore the conflicts that occurred between the aristocrats and the peasants in Solon’s Athens on the basis of land and slavery, and the solutions that Solon posed in the form of laws, as well as the effects that they had on the citizens of the time. There were city of Athens was divided into three parts; there was the Hill, the Plain, and the Shore (Plutarch: Solon, 54). Each division contained it’s own people with different political views. The Hill supported an extreme democracy, whereas the Plain supported an extreme oligarchy, and the Shore wanted a government that wasn’t quite an oligarchy, and wasn’t quite a democracy. The Shore wanted a government that was modeled after, and was a mix of both democracy and oligarchy (Plutarch: Solon 54). The presence of this third party made it very difficult for either extreme party to rise above the other (Plutarch: Solon 54). The land quality of the peasants was very poor and it was located in the barren part of the city, however the rich owned vast amounts of good quality land (Trumbach). It was very common to find peasants in debt to the aristocrats because of their bad quality land. Many times, commoners would cultivate on the land owned by the aristocrats, and pay them one-sixth of the produce that was harvested (Plutarch: Solon, 54). It was also apparent that peasants would use themselves as collateral, and were often seized as debt slaves by their…