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SOLON
Of Athens, son of Execestides, born about 640 B.C., died 559, the famous Athenian lawgiver. (See below on the SOLONIAN CONSTITUTION.) He is one of the "Seven Wise Men." He also holds a high position amongst the lyric, and especially amongst the elegiac, poets of Greece. The noble patriotism and kindly wisdom which marked the whole of his life found expression in his poems, which were in part connected with the political condition of his own city, and were also intended to teach universal principles of humanity in an appropriate poetical form. His elegies are said to have amounted to 5,000 lines in all. Among his political elegies may be mentioned that on Salamis, by which, in his earlier years, he roused his fellow citizens to reconquer that island when it had been taken from them by the Megarians; also his Exhortations to the Athenians. To his ethical elegies belong the Exhortations to Himself. Of the last two poems in particular we possess extensive fragments [in which the elegiac measure is raised to a new dignity by being made the vehicle of ethical teaching. One of the finest fragments owes its preservation to its being quoted by Demosthenes, De Falsa Legatione, § 265]. There are also some fragments of minor poems in iambics and trochaics as well as a skolion. (In Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 5, 12, we have several quotations from Solon's poems, including about twenty lines which are otherwise unknown.]
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