Solon was the son of Execestides and his family was of Salamis in Attica; and in wisdom and learning he surpassed all the men of his time.1 Being by nature far superior as regards virtue to the rest of men, he cultivated assiduously a virtue that wins applause; for he devoted much time to every branch of knowledge and became practised in every kind of virtue. [2] While still a youth, for instance, he availed himself of the best teachers, and when he attained to manhood he spent his time in the company of the men who enjoyed the greatest influence for their pursuit of wisdom. As a consequence, by reason of his companionship and association with men of this kind, he came to be called one of the Seven Wise Men and won for himself the highest rank in sagacity, not only among the men just mentioned, but also among all who were regarded with admiration. [3]

The same Solon, who had acquired great fame by his legislation, also in his conversations and answers to questions as a private citizen became an object of wonder by reason of his attainments in learning. [4]

The same Solon, although the city2 followed the whole Ionian manner of life and luxury and a carefree existence had made the inhabitants effeminate, worked a change in them by accustoming them to practise virtue and to emulate the deeds of virile folk. And it was because of this that Harmodius and Aristogeiton,3 their spirits equipped with the panoply of his legislation, made the attempt to destroy the rule of the Peisistratidae.4Const. Exc. 2 (1), p. 217.

1 The following fragments on the Seven Wise Men may be compared with the fuller accounts in Diogenes Laertius (tr. by Hicks in the L.C.L.).

2 Athens.

3 The famous Tyrannicides of Athens; Harmodius killed Hipparchus, son of Peisistratus. See following note, and Book 10.17 and notes.

4 Peisistratus was tyrant, with one or two interruptions, 560-527 B.C.; his two sons continued the tyranny until the assassination of Hipparchus in 514 and the forced retirement of Hippias in 510.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Athens (Greece) (2)
Attica (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: