Friday, December 2, 2016

Solon goes to Egypt

When he had completed his organization of the constitution . . . he set off on a journey to Egypt . . .

He considered that there was no call for him to expound the laws personally, but that every one should obey them just as they were written.

Moreover, his position at this time was unpleasant.

Many members of the upper class had been estranged from him on account of his abolition of debts, and both parties were alienated through their disappointment at the condition of things which he had created.

The mass of the people had expected him to make a complete redistribution of all property, and the upper class hoped he would restore everything to its former position, or, at any rate, make but a small change.

Solon, however, had resisted both classes.

He might have made himself a despot by attaching himself to whichever party he chose, but he preferred, though at the cost of incurring the enmity of both, to be the saviour of his country and the ideal lawgiver.

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens.

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