Athens Local News

Politics

Politics

The three most famous leader were able to compromise and avoid civil war creating a democracy. Draco was the first lawgiver and published a series of strict, some would argue overly harsh, laws to govern Athens. He punished virtually all crimes with death. This severe system brought order to Athens and encouraged growth but the citizens grew tired of the harsh laws. Most of his laws were repealed by the next great lawgiver. Solon, the second great reformer, instituted a series of legal reforms aimed at improving the Athenian economy and society and moving away from the harsh environment established by Draco. He encouraged a more democratic system and refused to serve for live. Solon Major reforms:

all debts were cancelled and those enslaved for debt were freed.

  • He directed farmers to grow olives and grapes as Athenian soil would not support grain.
  • He required all fathers to teach their sons a trade to encourage a good balance between industry and agriculture.
  • All male citizens were required to attend assembly and vote on issues.
  • He allowed citizens to bring charges against those who had committed crimes regardless of class or status. (Equality before the law)

  • Cleisthenes was the third great reformer. He expanded Athenian democracy through further legal reforms. He increased the power of the assembly and created the Council of five hundred to propose laws and advise the assembly. Members of the council were chosen by lot, so that every citizen had equal chance of serving on the council. This reforms created a strong but limited democratic state. Only 20% of the people of Athens were citizens and thus a majority of the society was excluded from the democracy. Slaves, foreigners, and women were not allowed to participate in any civic functions nor play any significant role in the intellectual life of the Polis.