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Jan 27 2015

Laws of Reform by Solon

Solon was a Greek poet, writer and lawmaker who lived in Athens around 600 BC. Because of his reputation for fairness and wisdom, he was given authority to re-write the constitution and laws of Athens. Many of his reformed laws inspired similar laws later in the Roman Empire and some of his basic concepts still exist today.

Previous to Solon, a lawmaker named Draco had written a set of laws that were so extreme that today, any harsh laws or penalties are called, “draconian”. Solon repealed Draco’s code, replacing it with his own and eliminated capital punishment except for serious crimes. He laid out a division of social classes based on property holdings and granted government representation to the top three classes. (the laborer class was not represented) This ended the practice of government by aristocratic birthright.

He banned the practice of selling people into slavery to secure debts and freed those who were already in bondage for debts. Solon also established some of the first laws regarding inheritance, families, and sexual behavior.