Category Archives: Solon

Histories 1.30-1.32: Solon at the Court of Croesus Part 2 – Cleobis and Biton

The Cleobis and Biton passage, like the Tellos passage, encapsulates the archaic Greek values of familial piety and of death over life. This passage, however, is somewhat more revolutionary than the Tellos passage, since Tellos was by Herodotus’ admission “prosperous to us” in addition to having healthy children and grandchildren, which was at the time […]

Histories 1.30-1.32: Solon at the Court of Croesus Part 1 – the story of Tellos

This passage is incredibly iconic and embodies as much as it reinforces many conceits in the Greek and consequently the Western imagination: this is the archetypal dialogue between simplicity and wealth, wisdom and desire, the virtuous Greek and the haughty Lydian.  This passage, with its generic hagiographies of two Greeks, also very effectively codifies archaic […]

Justice and the City: Solon fr. 4

Solon, statesman-poet and archon of ancient Athens, here plays off the image of Dike found in Hesiod’s Works and Days, but in such a way as to not only reflect but also bring about more progressive political norms.  Where the penalty for unjust rulers in Hesiod’s passage was material desolation, and the reward only material […]