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tomcameron on 2008-08-14developed their control over the Peloponnesus, the city-state of Athens
controlled the area of the Attic Peninsula, to the east and northeast of Sparta.
Athens was similar to other city-states of the period of the Greek Renaissance
with two important differences: (1) it was larger both geographically and in
terms of its population and (2) those people it conquered were not reduced to
servitude – this was the rule at Sparta. So, Athens never faced the problem of
trying to control a large population of angry and sometimes violent subjects.
This also explains why Sparta had to remain an intensely militaristic state.
Around the year 600 B.C., and while Lycurgus was reforming the legal system
of the Spartan state, Athens faced a deepening political crisis. Those farmers
who supplied the city-state with food could not keep up with demand because the
Athenian population had grown too quickly. Farmers began to trade their land to
obtain food and quickly went bankrupt as they traded away their last piece of
land. The crisis was solved in 594 B.C. when the Athenians gave control over to
B.C.), a former high official. In his role as archon, Solon cancelled all
agricultural debts and announced that all slaves were free. He also passed
constitutional reforms that divided Athenian subjects into four classes based on
their annual agricultural production rather than birth. Members of the three
highest orders could hold public office.
Solon's system excluded all those people who did not own any productive land
– women, children, slaves, resident aliens, artisans and merchants. However,
with the constitutional reforms of Solon, men from newer and less-established
families could work their way up economically and achieve positions of political
leadership. Solon did not end the agricultural crisis in Greece and so factional
In 561, the former military leader