They also had a strong sense of honor and were trained to never give up in battle.
They believed there was no greater act than to die defending their city-state.
Draco had formed tough laws, but a crisis emerged in 600 B.C. when the farmers who supplied Athens with food fell into debt, and many had to sell themselves into slavery to survive. (This led to anger and distrust among the poor people of Athens.)
Solon made reforms by cancelling all debts and freeing all Athenians who had sold themselves into slavery. He also replaced Draco’s harsher laws with fairer ones.
He laid the foundation on which Athenian democracy was built by allowing more people to participate in government.
His system was based political rights on wealth, not birth.
Male citizens were divided into four classes according to their agricultural wealth. (This included ownership of land, grain, and olive oil.) The greater your wealth, the higher the government position you could hold.
Men without property made up the lowest class and could only attend the assembly and serve on juries. However, citizens could rise to a higher class by acquiring more wealth.
All male citizens were allowed to attend the assembly in Athens. They passed laws, elected leaders, and helped decide court cases.
Decisions were made by majority rule – everyone got 1 vote and the idea that got the most votes passed.
A council was established to support the assembly. They decided what topics to discuss.
The council was made up of 400 citizens who served one-year terms. Every year, council members were selected in a random drawing.
Education was just as important to producing good citizens as it was in Sparta.
Young Athenians learned about good behavior from the fables of Aesop.
Boys studied arithmetic, reading, writing, physical education, and the arts – paining, poetry, and music.
Most began learning their father’s trade – bronze workers, blacksmiths, carpenters, or potters.