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(born c. 630died c. 560 BC) Athenian statesman, reformer, and poet, known as one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He was of noble descent but of moderate means. Though he held the office of archonc. 594, he did not gain full power as a reformer and legislator until some 20 years later. He ended aristocratic rule and permitted participation by all citizens who had achieved a measure of wealth, eliminating any bloodline requirement. He replaced Draco's code with more humane laws, freed citizens enslaved for debt and redeemed their land, encouraged professions, and reformed coinage and weights and measures. Despite complaints from all sides, the people abided by the changes. He apparently left Athens for 10 years on a series of travels; on his return, he warned Athens about his relative Peisistratus, who would become tyrant.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Solon, visit Britannica.com.