Solon Vs. Lycurgus Essay

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Law is to country just like soil is to plants. If the soil is right and appropriate then the the plant will flourish. If laws are just and its conditions are right, then the state will benefit from it. Without an appropriate law, the state will be in complete chaos. In the same case, two different lawgivers from different nations were given the same mission: to help make their states better than it was. Solon, an Athenian archon who was elected to make Athens and its city states thrive and remove this nation from its disastrous state. On the other hand, there’s Lycurgus, a Spartan man, whose mission was to help make Sparta also a thriving nation based on his first hand experiences he had during his travels (mostly from Egypt and Crete). At the end of the day, these two lawgivers had a different notion of justice and they each dealt with social inequalities in their city in their own way.
Before Solon was name to reform the laws of the city, Athens was in great chaos. Solon had to tackle issues that were within the city itself. Because of the fact that only aristocrats and nobles were given the power to elect man, many of the “common people” were against that notion; as a result, quarrels between the common people and the aristocrats arose. Furthermore, due the the war that the Athenians just finished, and the accumulation of debts, the poorest of the poor had their lands seized and either sold themselves as slaves or their children and family members.
Then came Solon, mostly known for trying to remain “neutral” during his years as a law giver. Knowing that men are hard to please, Solon, throughout his reform, attempts to remain just. The first and foremost thing Solon did was cancel all debts. During his period of time, he alleviated some of the tensions in Athens in order to restore some balance. Then, he freed all slaves both in and out of the city of Athens. And so, everyone had a clean slates to start anew. But the downside to his reforms is that they are a cycle. Solon did not eliminate the poor citizens' debts as they thought he would, he just provided an extension date where they had to pay a certain percentage to the aristocrats that they owe. But, being poor, trying to feed one's family and at the same time paying back debts, one is soon to fall back into deeper debts. So in a couple years, the poor soon find themselves in the same situation that they were in before Solon came along.
Lycurgus, on the other hand, made reforms based on his experience on his voyage out of Sparta. Lycurgus instated some of the harshest rules, especially for young men, which made Sparta one of the greatest nation with a mirage that holds them to be supreme and undefeatable. On his return from his travel, Lycurgus made some changes to Spartan’s government and its citizen’s daily lives. The notion of having two kings were left untouched, however, in order to keep them on track and prevent them from political corruption, Lycurgus instated five ephors....

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