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Moreover they were the ones who lived and held top

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birth, inheritance and wealth which was measured by the amount of land they owned at that time. Moreover, they were the ones who lived and held top political and lawmaking offices in the capital located at shores as well as command over military forces. On the contrary, the peasants were poor and low of birth citizens who lived in plains and hills and did not have any savings nor political power. At that time, divided into two types, landless peasants known as sharecroppers and landowning farmer who eventually turned into debt slaves. Sharecroppers were the peasants who rent and worked on the land of aristocratic families; meanwhile, poor landowning farmers from the hills were the ones frequently borrowing seeds from aristocrats due to feeble harvests on the mountains. According to the Athenian Constitution "The poor were called dependants and sixth-parters since it was for the rent of a 2 | P a g e
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sixth that they worked the fields of the rich... if poor failed to pay the rent they were liable for seizure. " (AC. pg. 1 #2) In other words, annually hill sharecroppers and hill peasants were paying 1/6 of their product to aristocrats, yet if were failed to do so resulted in debt slavery, the condition whereby fellow Athenian citizens were becoming the property of aristocrats. To deal with this issue, Solon passes a set of laws which was challenged by the members of both groups and mostly dealt with hill peasants. He discharged all previous debts from sharecroppers and landless citizens also, prohibited debt slavery whereby releases peasants from aristocratic control. Doubtless, Solon didn't succeed at carrying out land redistribution thus, neglecting aristocrat’s positions of power and leaving peasants destitute without any source of income and food. (Pl pg. 58 #16) Meaning that while Solon was promoting equality by abolishing slavery and debts, he was not able to divide the land among peasants and aristocrats which he promised hence leaving many hill peasants unemployed. To rearrange this changes Solon suggested poor to learn a trade and manufacture alternatively to make some living. (Pl. pg. 64. #22) Doubtless, the market for this job was small mostly because of lack of consumers who mostly were aristocrats. Additionally, the situation at the trade was not as effective after restrictions on the export of products other than olive oil, as well competition made of foreigners who were granted citizenship for exercising commerce in Athens which decreased the number of available positions. (Pl. pg. 67. #24) II The second part of this paper deals with the conflict between aristocratic families over political power. The most known example of this disputes appeared in the story of Cylon and Megacles. Whereby Cylon and his followers were attempting to arrange coup d’état to seize the 3 | P a g e
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Athenian government and establish tyranny. On the other hand, Megacles one of the members of
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  • Spring '12
  • obi
  • Athenian democracy

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