This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Solon having become master of affairs made the people free both at the time and for the future by prohibiting loans secured on the person, and he laid down laws, and enacted cancellations of debts both private and public, the measures1 that are known as 'the Shaking-off of Burdens,' meaning that the people shook off their load. In these matters some people try to misrepresent him;  for it happened that when Solon was intending to enact the Shaking-off of Burdens, he informed some of the notables beforehand, and afterwards, as those of popular sympathies say, he was outmaneuvered by his friends, but according to those who want to malign him he himself also took a share. For these persons borrowed money and bought up a quantity of land, and when not long afterwards the cancellation of debts took place they were rich men; and this is said to be the origin of the families subsequently reputed to be ancestrally wealthy.2  Nevertheless, the account of those of popular sympathies is more credible; for considering that he was so moderate and public-spirited in the rest of his conduct that, when he had the opportunity to reduce one of the two parties to subjection and so to be tyrant of the city, he incurred the enmity of both, and valued honor and the safety of the state more than his own aggrandizement, it is not probable that he besmirched himself in such worthless trifles.  And that he got this opportunity is testified by the disordered state of affairs, and also he himself alludes to it in many places in his poems, and everybody else agrees with him. We are bound therefore to consider this charge to be false.