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hand, it must imply something truly great and divine in Numa, to have been invited from another country to the throne; by means of persuasion only to have effected so many alterations; to have reigned undisturbed over a city not yet united in itself, without the use of an armed forcę (to which Lycurgus was obliged to have recourse, when he availed himself of the aid of the nobility against the commons) and, singly by his wisdom and justice, to have conciliated and combined all his sabjects in peace.

THE

LIFE

OF

SO L O N.

SUMMARY.

Extraction of Solòn. His character, and manners.

In his youth, he engages in merchandise. His taste for poetry and moral philosophy. The golden tripod offered to each of the Seven Sages, and rejected by them all. Interview of Solon and Anacharsis. His conversation with Thales. The fear of losing should not damp the ardour of acquiring what is necessary, or convenient. An account of his elegy upan Salamis. The conquest of that island. Another history of the expedition. The Lacedæmonians chosen as arbitrators upon the subject. Solon's zeal for the temple of Delphi. The Cylonian conspiracy. Epimenides purifies Athens. That city split into many factions. Solon selected as mediator. He refuses the crown.

Enacts laws for his countrymen. Introduces an act of discharge. His treatment upon that occasion. He repeals Draco's laws. Classes the people, in reference to their income. Institution of the Areopagus. Laws with regard to seditions, marriages, respect for the dead, mulets for damages concerning wills, women, children ; against adultery, and rape; about wells, trees, &c. Right of citizenship: City-feasts. His laws confirmed for a hundred years. He regulates the lunar sponth. Travels to Egypt and Cyprus, and has an interview quith Cræsus; who, after his defeat by Cyrus, repeats Solon's con

versation, and thus preserves his life. Solon, upon his return, finds the city again rent into parties. Tragedies of Thespis. Stratagem of Pisistratus. Solon's steadiness. His poem on the Atlantic Isle. His death.

.

DIDYMUS the grammarian', in his answer to Asclepiades concerning the laws of Solon, cites the testimony of one Philocles, by which he would prove that legislator, in opposition to the opinion of others that have written about him, the son of Euphorion. For they all with one voice declare, that Execestides was his father; a man of moderate fortune and power, but of the noblest family in Athens, being descended from Codrus. His mother, according to Heraclides of Pontus, was cousin-german to the mother of Pisistratus. This tie of kindred at first united Solon and Pisistratus in a very intimate friendship, which was drawn closer (if we may believe some writers) by the regard, which the former had for the beauty and excellent qualities of the latter'. Hence we may

i Of Alexandria, of the school of Aristarchus, and contemporary with Augustus. His commentaries, chiefly upon the ora, tors and poets of Greece, are said by some writers to have amounted to four thousand! The scholiast on Homer, of the same name, was of a much later date. *

? Pisistratus was remarkably courteous, affable, and liberal. He had always two or three slaves péar him, with bags of silver coin: when he saw any man look sickly, or heard that any one had died insolvent, he relieved the one, and buried the other at his own expense. When he perceived people melancholy, he inquired the cause; and if he found it was poverty, he furnished them with what might enable them to get bread, but not to live idly. Nay, he left even his gardens and orchards open, and the fruit free to the citizens. His looks were easy and sedate, his language soft and modest. In short, if his virtues had been genuine, and not dissembled with a view to the tyranny of Athens, he would (as Solon told him) have been the best citizer

believe it was, that when they subsequently differed about matters of state, this dissension broke not out into any harsh or ungenerous treatment of each other ; but their first union kept some hold of their hearts, and the sparks of that ardent flame and tenderness of former friendship still glowed in their bosoms.

That Solon was unable to withstand the attractions of beauty; and sunk like a feeble wrestler under the force of love, is sufficiently evident both from his poems, and from his having enacted a law which forbade slaves to anoint themselves, or to form attachments to youth: thus classing such attachments among things honourable and praiseworthy; and virtually recommending them to the more respectable, by forbidding them to the base. It is said too, that Pisistratus was enamoured of Charmas, and dedicated to him a statue of Love in the Academy, near the place were those who run the sacred torch-race light their torches 4

in it. (L.) He is highly complimented by Herodotus (i. 39.) for his administration, and for his eloquence and learning by Cicero (De Orat. iii. 34.), who adds primus Homeri libros, confusos antea, sic disposuisse fertur, ut nunc habemus.' But this honour is claimed by Plutarch (as we have already seen) for Lycurgus, by Diogenes Laërtius for Solon, and by Plato for Hipparchus. And these may all perhaps, as M. Ricard thinks, be approximated, though not strictly reconciled to each other, by supposing that Lycurgus first collected them, and brought them into Greece; that Solon improved their arrangement, and that Pisistratus perhaps afterward made some alterations, with the assistance of his son Hipparchus, who (as Ælian; Var. Hist. viii. 2., informs us) first introduced them into Athens. *

.3 This involved an exclusion from the exercises of the Gymnasium, of which slaves (it seems) were deemed unworthy.

4 The torch-race was run thrice a year at Athens; during the Parathenæa in honour of Minerva, and in honour of Vulcan and Prometheus likewise, upon their respective festivals. It's celebration was as follows: the young competitors lit their worches but the altar of Prometheus in the Ceramicus, and with their VOL. I.

R

Solon's father having hurt his fortune', as Hermippus informs us, by indulging his great and munificent spirit, though the son might have been supported by his friends, yet as he was of a family that had long been accustomed to assist others, he was ashamed to accept assistance; and. therefore in his younger years engaged himself in merchandise. Some, however, say that he travelled rather to gratify his curiosity and extend his knowledge, than to make a fortune. For he professed his love of wisdom, and when far advanced in years made this declaration, “I grow old in the pursuit of learning.” That he was not excessively attached to wealth, we may gather from the following verses :

The man that boasts of golden stores,
Of grain that loads bis bending floors,
Of fields with freshening herbage green,
Where bounding steeds and herds are seen;
I call not happier than the swain
Whose limbs are sound, whose food is plain,

utmost speed ran toward the city. He, whose torch went out during the course, gave place to the next; and the victory was. adjudged to him, who first reached the goal without such an accident. (Pausan. i. 30.) *

5 Aristotle reckons Solon himself among the inferior citizens, and quotes his own works to prove it. The truth is, that Solon was never rich; it may be, because he was always honest. la his youth, he was much addicted to poetry. And Plato in his Timæus says, that if he had finished all his poems (particularly the History of the Atlantic Isle, which he brought out of Egypt) and had taken time to revise and correct them as others did, neither Homer, Hesiod, nor any other ancient poet would have been more illustrious. It is evident both from the life and writings of this great man, that he was a person not only of exalted virtue, but of a pleasant and agreeable temper. He considered men, as men; and keeping both their capacity for virtue, and their proneness to evil in view, adapted his laws so as to strengthen and support the one, and to check and regulate the other. His institutions are as remarkable for their sweetness and practicability, as those of Lycurgus for their harshness and wolence to human nature.

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