(837 words)
  • Kathleen Conn (Independent Scholar - Europe)

Solon was an oral poet and lawgiver from archaic (pre-classical) Athens. His dates can only be estimated as c. 640-560 BC. Some 280 lines of his elegies have been preserved, in fragments that range from 1 to 76 lines long. As a so-called “wisdom poet” he speaks to the nature of human life, the proper attitude towards wealth and its attainment, and the nature of human understanding. He was considered by later Greeks to be an important moral authority, the source of maxims such as “know thyself” and “nothing to excess”, and one of the Seven Wise Men of ancient Greece. Solon was selected to be chief official of Athens in 594 BC. In an atmosphere of conflict, particularly between creditors and debtors, he was appointed to …

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Conn, Kathleen. "Solon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]