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Observing that the city was getting full of people who were constantly streaming into Attica from all quarters for greater security of living, and that most of the country was unfruitful and worthless, and that seafaring men are not wont to import goods for those who have nothing to give them in exchange, he turned the attention of the citizens to the arts of manufacture, and enacted a law that no son who had not been taught a trade should be compelled to support his father. [2] It was well enough for Lycurgus, whose city was free from swarms of strangers, and whose country was, in the words of Euripides,

For many large, for twice as many more than large,
1 and because, above all, that country was flooded with a multitude of Helots, whom it was better not to leave in idleness, but to keep down by continual hardships and toil,—it was well enough for him to set his citizens free from laborious and mechanical occupations and confine their thoughts to arms, giving them this one trade to learn and practice. [3] But Solon, adapting his laws to the situation, rather than the situation to his laws, and observing that the land could give but a mere subsistence to those who tilled it, and was incapable of supporting an unoccupied and leisured multitude, gave dignity to all the trades, and ordered the council of the Areiopagus to examine into every man's means of livelihood, and chastise those who had no occupation. [4] But that provision of his was yet more severe, which, as Heracleides Ponticus informs us, relieved the sons who were born out of wedlock from the necessity of supporting their fathers at all. For he that avoids the honorable state of marriage, clearly takes a woman to himself not for the sake of children, but of pleasure; and he has his reward, in that he robs himself of all right to upbraid his sons for neglecting him, since he has made their very existence a reproach to them.

1 Euripides, unknown; Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. (2), p. 680

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