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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

2 - Poets, lawgivers, and the beginnings of political reflection in archaic Greece

from THE BEGINNINGS
Summary
The beginnings of political reflection just like the development of political institutions, concepts, and terminology, must have been closely connected with the evolution, experiences, and concerns of the early polis and its society. For an earlier stage, Homer and Hesiod are the only guides. Socially and economically, the Homeric polis is dominated by a group of noble families among whose heads the paramount leader holds a precarious position of pre-eminence. Hesiod, usually dated in the early seventh century, sees the wellbeing of the community threatened by irresponsible actions of its basileis. Solon's political reforms included the introduction of property classes which determined the level of political participation available to the citizens and replaced birth by wealth as criterion for political power. The ideal of eunomia stands for the political resolution of crisis and stasis and for the integration of the polis. It represents the aim of the Archaic lawgivers and encapsulates the main concern of early Greek political thinking.
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The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053716
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521481366
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