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2. Thus did Solon enhance the fame of Publicola. And Publicola, too, in his political activities, enhanced the fame of Solon, by making him the fairest of examples for one who was arranging a democracy. For he took away the arrogant powers of the consulship and made it gracious and acceptable to all, and he adopted many of Solon's laws. For instance, he put the appointment of their rulers in the power of the people, and gave defendants the right of appealing to the people, as Solon to the jurors. He did not, indeed, create a new senate, as Solon did, but he increased the one already existing to almost double its numbers. [2] And his appointment of quaestors over the public moneys mad a like origin. Its purpose was that the consul, if a worthy officer, might not be without leisure for his more important duties, and, if unworthy, might not have greater opportunities for injustice by having both the administration and the treasury in his hands. Hatred of tyranny was more intense in Publicola than in Solon. For in case any one attempted to usurp the power, by Solon's law he could be punished only after conviction, whereas Publicola made it lawful to kill him before any trial. [3] Moreover, though Solon rightly and justly plumes himself on rejecting absolute power even when circumstances offered it to him and his fellow-citizens were willing that he should take it, it redounds no less to the honour of Publicola that, when he had received a tyrannical power, he made it more democratic, and did not use even the prerogatives which were his by right of possession. And of the wisdom of such a course Solon seems to have been conscious even before Publicola, when he says1 that a people
then will yield the best obedience to its guides
When it is neither humoured nor oppressed too much.

1 Fragment 6 (Bergk); cf. Aristotle, Const. of Athens, xii. 2.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 12.2
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