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Afterwards it came about that a party quarrel took place between the notables and the multitude that lasted a long time. [2] For the Athenian constitution was in all respects oligarchical, and in fact the poor themselves and also their wives and children were actually in slavery to the rich; and they were called Clients,1 and Sixth-part-tenants (for that was the rent they paid for the rich men's land which they farmed, and the whole of the country was in few hands), and if they ever failed to pay their rents, they themselves and their children were liable to arrest; and all borrowing was on the security of the debtors' persons down to the time of Solon: it was he who first became head2 of the People. [3] Thus the most grievous and bitter thing in the state of public affairs for the masses was their slavery; not but what they were discontented also about everything else, for they found themselves virtually without a share in anything.

1 πελάτης 'one who approaches as a dependent' was later used as the Greek for cliens.

2 Apparently this became almost an official title, see Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.95
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 28
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