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DEMOCKACY AND  DEMOCRACIES.                     123
had stability, order, and reverential feeling enough in it to
allow the highest productions of human genius to grow up
within its borders, the best men of heathen antiquity to be
shaped by its institutions.
Solon's reforms, beginning in 594 B.C. (when, as a descen-
dant of Coclrus, he was chosen archon), arose out
Solon's reforms.                              .         .                .              ,  .   i        rrc         i
of the territorial factions which afflicted Athens,
the insurrection of Cylon with its consequences, and the gen-
eral misery of the free people not belonging to the nobility
or eupatridse. His social measures for the relief of distress
were the noted scisacktheia, by which debts were either low-
ered in amount or wholly cancelled, to which were added a
lowering of the money standard (so that the same coin now
was made into one hundred and thirty-eight drachmae which
before was needed for one hundred), and the release of mort-
gaged lands from their incumbrances. The necessity of these
extreme measures we cannot judge of with accuracy, and
indeed cannot be entirely sure what the scisachthcia was ;
but that was certainly a righteous measure, by which Solon's
laws abolished servitude for debt, and restored some citizens
who had been sold into foreign lands. The political reforms
of Solon were first the division of the citizens into classes
four in number, according to their property in land ; no esti-
mate of personal property being taken as far as appears,
which shows its relatively small amount. The first class had
lands yielding five hundred medimni (at about three bushels
each) of grain, or an equal number of metrettz (equal each to
three-quarters of a medimnus) of wine or oil, and the two next
three hundred and one hundred and fifty respectively of the
same measures. The fourth class, the thetes or free laborers,
were without landed property.* The three upper classes had
access to the public offices, the first alone to that of an archon
and to a place in the court of Areopagus ; and they were
* Schumann, Or, Altcrth., i., 332, infers from a passage of Aristotle
(Pol., ii., 4,  4) that Solon by law fixed a maximum of property for
the individual landowner ; but the brief passage is ambiguous, and
the fact, if i mistake not, nowhere else mentioned