Plutarch's Greeks and Romans Podcast

Episode 5: The Life of Solon

February 20, 2021 Season 1 Episode 5
Plutarch's Greeks and Romans Podcast
Episode 5: The Life of Solon
Show Notes

Solon was Athens' original wise man.  Can his guidance and prudent laws help the city avoid disintegrating into civil conflict?

For the life of Solon we return to Athens, where we started the podcast and learned about Theseus, the hero who the Athenians celebrate as their founder because he ended the tribute to King Minos of Crete, brought the people of Attica together, and established some of Athens traditions and festivals.

Chris:  Not to mention slaying a minotaur, and attempting to kidnap a wife on more than one occasion 

Ryan:  Right – Theseus led a very eventful life to say the least 

And Chris, I am excited to be moving forward and taking on the life of Solon today because it means we are now moving into more solid Greek history.  Unlike Theseus who can be placed into the category of myth, and Lycurgus who sits maybe halfway between man and myth, we can be pretty certain that Solon really existed and when he existed.  The year that Solon was appointed to arbitrate the differences of the Athenian people is most likely 594-593 BC.  I know you have been eager to get to some actual dates Chris

Chris:  Ha ha, yes it feels good to hear an actual date 

Ryan:  Agreed.  Now Solon is considered one of the Seven Sages, or Seven Wise Men, according to the Classical Greek tradition.  The earliest surviving list of Seven Wise Men comes from Plato’s Protagoras.  Solon expressed his wisdom through poetry – writing in prose was uncommon.  It is said that Solon travelled widely in his younger days - some say that Solon travelled purely to gain wisdom and knowledge, others that he was a merchant, having come from a noble family whose wealth had ebbed and so it fell to Solon to restore their fortune.  For his part, Plutarch sees no shame in Solon possibly engaging in trade to restore his families wealth – pointing out that trade brings home the good things from other countries, increases friendship with their kings, and is a source of valuable experience. 

Chris:  Very good points.......

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