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Poseidon and Athena are offering their gifts to the city of Athens.

 

The legend

The initial name of Athens was Akte or Aktike, named after the first king, Akteos. Kecrops is accepting Athena's gift, the olive tree,  krater 410 BC Her second name, Kekropia, received it from the king, Kekrops, who succeeded Akteos, by marrying his daughter. According to the legend, his lower body was that of a dragon. During his reign, goddess Athena and Poseidon were competing for the protection of the city and each one offered presents. Poseidon struck the rock at the Acropolis with his trident (the three marks can be seen behind the Erectheion..) and a spring with salted water gushed up. With the blow also leaped the first horse, ready to serve the man faithfully, while Athena offered an olive tree. The legend tell us, that all the men of Athens voted for the gift of Poseidon and all the women, for the gift of Athena and because there was one woman more than the men, goddess Athena was selected and from her, the city took her name. 
To defend the country from the Karian pirates from the sea and the Boeotians from the land, Kekrops, in order to manage better the population, distributed Attica in the following twelve sections: Aphidna, Brauron, Dekeleia, Epakria, Eleusis, Kekropia, Kephisius, Kytherus, Phalerus, Sphettus, Tetrapolis, Thorikus. He also ordered each man to cast a single stone and by counting the stones, it was found that they were twenty thousand inhabitants.
Kekrops introduced the worship of Zeus and the ritual offerings of sweet meats (pelanoi), instead of human sacrifice. His grave in Acropolis was preserved until the fourth century BC. 
When an enemy army besieged Athens, the Athenians asked the advice of Delphi, which gave them the oracle, that in order to save the city, an Athenian ought to be sacrificed by his own will. When the daughter of king Kekrops, Agravlos, learned about the oracle, she ascended to the Acropolis and fell to her death. Athenians to honor her, build a temple in the Acropolis and every year, were celebrating the Agravleia.
According to another legend, Agravlos or Aglavros, the same daughter of king Kekrops and her two sisters Herse The three daughters of Kekrop's, Aglauros, Herse, Pandrosos, to whom Athena gave the box, and ordered them not to open it. They disobeyed and punished, krater 410 BC and Pandrosos, they were entrusted with a box by goddess Athena, which commanded them not to open it. Pandrosos, the younger one, obeyed, but Agravlos and Herse opened it and saw a serpent shaped child or according to another version, a snake surrounding the child Erichthonios, which came out and crawled to the shield of Athena. The girls were so frightened from what they saw, that they leapt to their deaths, from the Acropolis. 
Kekrops was succeeded by his son, Erysichthon, who had no children and he was succeeded by Kranaos. One of the daughters of Kranaos was called Atthis and from her, the whole region took the name, Attica.
Kranaos was dethroned by Amphiktyon, who in return was expelled by Erichthonios, son of Hephaestos and the Earth.
The Legend represents him as half man and half serpent. He took power around 1500 BC and started a powerful dynasty from which the heroes Pandion, Erechtheos, Aegeas, Theseus descended. Erichthonios placed in the Acropolis the wooden statue of Athena and introduced the festival of Athenaea. He was the inventor of the four wheeled chariot and the first to bread horses. He married the nymph Pasithea and had a son, Pandion.  Pandion married the nymph Zeuxippe and had twin sons Erechtheos and Butes and two daughters, Prokne and Philomela.
Pandion was succeeded by Erechtheos. When Erechtheos was at war with the Eleusinians and Thracians, under their leader Eumolpos, he was advised by the Delphic oracle, that in order to win the war, he ought to sacrifice the three of his six daughters. When the girls voluntary consented, Erechtheos put them to death. After this, he went to the battle with confidence and totally vanquished his enemy. When the Eleusinians were defeated, Poseidon in anger destroyed the house of Erechtheos, who was probably killed in the battle. 
Erechtheos was succeeded by his son Kekrops II and he by his son Pandion II, who had four sons, Aegeus, Pallas, Nisus and Lycos. 

Theseus
ca 1300 BC

Theseus was the son of the king of Athens, Aegeus and Aethra. He had been educated by his grandfather, Pittheus at Troezen, and at age sixteen, he dedicated his forelocks to the Delian Apollo. Theseus is lifting the rock under which his father left the sword and the sandals, Roman relief, 1st century BC His father Aegeus was childless and when he consulted the oracle at Delphi, he received an obscure reply and in order to interpret it, he visited Pittheus, the king of Troezen, famous for his wisdom. Pittheus made him drunk and put him to sleep with his daughter, Aethra, which became pregnant after that. When Aegeus departed, he left behind a sword and a pair of sandals, under a rock and told Aethra, that if the child was a boy and reaches manhood to lift the rock, take the sword and the sandals and come to Athens.
When Theseus reached the age of sixteen, his mother led him to the rock, which he lifted with ease, took his father presents and set out to meet him. In his way to Athens, he had a series of adventures, all of them victorious. When Theseus arrived at Athens, Medeia, the wife of Aegeus, suspecting who was, she persuaded Aegeus to invite him to a banquet, intending to kill him with poison. His father however recognized him in time, from the sword he was wearing and banished Medeia and her son, to Asia. Aegeas, king of Athens, meets his son. A maiden holds a crown to honor the hero, skyphos 470 BC.
Theseus was the first social reformer of Athens. At his time, Attica was consisted from twelve towns, each one having her own ruler (tyrannisko), who came often in conflict between them. Theseus united the towns (synoikismos) and renamed the city of Athena, Athenae, meaning the union of the twelve cities. To commemorate this event, he instituted the feast of the union of the tribes (synoikia or metoikia) and the Athenaea, the festival Erichthonios had introduced, renamed them Panathenaea, a celebration of the new united city of Athens.
He distributed the people in three classes: the Eupatridae, Geomoroi and Demiourgoi. Eupatridae were the rich and educated people, governors, generals, priests, etc. Geomoroi were agricultural people and Demiourgoi were the artisans. All three classes had the same rights. He issued coins, with the picture of an ox upon them, the so called dekaveia and ekatoveia, with the value of ten and one hundred oxen. 
Theseus took also part in the Argonautic expedition and fought with Herakles against the Amazons. He increased the territory of Athens, by conquering Megara, reaching as far as the Isthmos of Corinth. 
He also introduced the Isthmia Games, at Isthmos. 
Menestheos, the rival of Theseus, took advantage to destroy his popularity with the people, while Theseus was away from Attica, to help his friend Perithoos. At the same time Kastor and Pollux invaded Attica, in order to free their sister Helen, whom Theseus had abducted from Sparta. A friend of Menestheos, Academos, who had gardens in the place where later the Academy was created, told Dioskouroi where Theseus was hiding Helen, in Aphidnae. With the Dioskouroi fought also against the Athenians, the general Marathos, from Arkadia. The place, where he was killed in battle, was named Marathon.
When Theseus returned to Athens, he found out that the people were no more disposed to listen and honor him and thus, he left his sons under the protection of Elephenor in Euboea and went to the island of Skyros. 
Temple of Hephaestos and Athena Ergane or Theseum, a Doric temple older than Parthenon, depicts with sculptures in the frieze and metopes the exploits of Theseus, built in 449-440 BC. Theseus was assassinated by his friend king Lykomedes of Skyros. His remains were brought by Kimon in 475 BC, from the island of Skyros to Athens and were buried south west of Agora. Near it, a set of rooms decorated by the famous painters Mikon and Polygnotos, were used for feasts, in his honor. The Doric temple of Hephaestos and Athena Ergane or Theseum, which stands at the western end of the Agora, on the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, erected by the architect Ictinos (449-440 BC), depicts the exploits of Theseus in its friezes and metopes. 
Menestheos later became the commander of the Athenian troops, at Troy. Even though he was alive, he did not return to Athens and Athenians restored the sons of Theseus, Demophoon, Oxynias, Apheidas and Thymaetes, who in succession governed Athens for about sixty years.  
When the Dorians invaded Peloponnesos, they forced Melanthos and the Neleid family of Pylos, to abandon their kingdom and to find shelter at Athens. When a war broke between Athenians and Euboeans for the boundary of Oinoe, the Boeotian king Xanthos challenged Thymaetes to a single combat. When Thymaetes declined to accept, Melanthos took his place and skillfully fought and killed his opponent. After this event Thymaetes resigned and Melanthos became king.

Kodros
ca 1100 BC

Melanthos and his son Kodros, reigned for almost sixty years. There is a story that during the reign of king Kodros, a powerful Dorian force under Aletes from Korinth and Althaemenes from Argos, invaded Attica. The Kodros, the last king of Athens, armed with his shield and helmet, is talking with Aenetos, an Athenian local hero, red-figure kylix 440-430 BC. Bologna Delphic oracle had promised them success to their expedition, provided that they will not injure Kodros. When this was learned by Kodros, he disguised himself as a peasant woodcutter and went to the enemy camp, provoking a quarrel with the Dorians and he was killed. When the Dorians learned that the killed person was Kodros, they left Athens and conquered Megara. According to an older tradition, Kodros was killed in the battle.
Kodros was the last king of Athens. After his heroic sacrifice, the Athenians did not permit anyone else, to bear the title of king. His descendants, they were called Archons. After his death, his sons Medon and Neleus quarreled for the succession, which was decided by the Delphi oracle. Medon became Archon and Neleus left, leading
the Ionians to colonize the Asia Minor.
After Medon, followed twelve Archons for life: Akastos, Archippos, Thersippos, Phorbas, Megakles, Diognetos, Pherekles, Ariphron, Thespieos, Agamestor, Aeschylos and Alkmaeon.
In the second year of Alkmaeon (752 BC), the duration of the Archon changed to ten years. There were seven Archons, which reigned for ten years each: Charops, Aesimides, Kleidikos, Hippomenes, Leokrates, Apsandros, Eryxias.
After Eryxias, the title of Archon was given to nine distinguished persons, descendants of Kodros and Medon, who changed annually, but after 714 BC, they were including distinguished Eupatridae. 
From the nine Archons, who governed since 683 BC, to the end of democracy, three had special titles: the archon Eponymos, from whom the year was named after, the archon Basileus, the archon Polemarch. The other six had the title of Thesmothetae (legislators).

Kylonion Agos
632 BC

Kylon, an Eupatrid and Olympic winner of the diaulos race in 640 BC, tried to take the city and become a tyrant. Kylon had requested an oracle from Delphi and received the answer that, he ought to seize the Acropolis of Athens during the celebration of Zeus. Acquiring an army from his father in-law, Theagenes of Megara and with Athenian friends, he seized Acropolis, during the Olympic games of Peloponnesos. When Athenians learned about the event, they blockaded Acropolis. Kylon and his brother managed to escape, but the rest, exhausted from hunger, sought asylum in the altar of Athena at Acropolis. Athenians promised them a fair trial, if they would surrender. The besieged suspicious, in order to be in touch with the temple, they fastened a rope to the altar and came out holding it. When the rope was broken, the Athenians killed almost everyone, at the precinct of Eumenides, near the Acropolis entry. This unholy event was named "Kylonean taint" (Kylonion agos). 
A warrior's painting on a plaque. His name Megakles (probably of the Alkmaeonidae family) was replaced by Glaukytes. 510-500 BC  The Archon of the Athenians, Megakles of the Alkmaeonidae family and his assistants, who took part in the killing, they were cursed and denounced. When epidemics fell in Athens, Megakles and his personal assistants, the ones who were alive at the time, were put on trial at the instigation of Solon (597 BC). They were found guilty and exiled for life from Attica.
The banishment of the Alkmaeonidae however did not deliver Athenians from their fears and calamities. They invited the sage Epimenides from Crete to purify the city from its guilt. Epimenides visited Athens in 596 BC, where he performed sacrifices and expiatory rites succeeding to purify the city and put a stop to the plague. Athenians in gratitude offered him one talent, but Epimenides accepted only a branch from the sacred olive tree of Acropolis.

Drakon
624 BC

Drakon is considered the first legislator of Athens, though the six minor archons, the so-called Thesmothetae, they were legislating unwritten laws from 683 BC.
In the beginning of sixth century, it seems that Athens needed new written laws, because the aristocrats were interpreting the unwritten law according to their advantage. The people commissioned Drakon in 624 BC, to legislate written code of laws.
Drakon did not change the political constitution. His laws were written upon marble plates (621 BC), the so-called Thesmoi or Ordinances, and placed in the Agora, where everyone could read them. The laws were extremely severe in some cases, punishing trivial and serious crimes equally. Drakon made distinction between intentional and unintentional homicide. He left to Areopagos the trial of willful murders, but he appointed fifty one judges (ephetae), who were judging the unintentional cases.  Due to the severity of his laws, the people later said, that they were written with blood. Today the expression "Drakonian" describes repressive legal measures.
But the written laws, instead of helping the people, they became tools in the hands of aristocracy, to take their land, intimidate and oppress them. The whole Attica fell in the hands of aristocracy and the people, who were unable to pay their debts, were sold as slaves. There was so much dissatisfaction, that many people left Attica and immigrated. 
Later Athenians looked back to Drakon with reverence, believing that their author was wise and did not oppress the unfortunate, alleviating the miseries of men, as far as it was possible.

Solon
638 - 559 BC

Solon, archon of Athens 594 BCSolon, the famous statesman and lawgiver, son of Exekestides from Salamis, descendant from the family of Kodros and Neleid's, was born at Athens in 638 BC. His father was a merchant and Solon, who followed him in his profession, traveled in many countries. He was near forty, famous for his poetry and wisdom, when he took part in the civil life of Athens. 
Megarians, after the Kylonian event, had taken possession of the island of Salamis, which belonged to Athens. Solon was bitter that Athens had lost the island. Megara, at that time, was a strong city-state, who was able to compete with Athens. The Athenians, after a long war with them, trying to regain the island, suffered many casualties. For this reason they took an oath, not to wage war for the island and whoever mentions again war, he would be punished by death. 
Solon managed to persuade the Athenians to regain the island by reciting his poem Salamis in the Agora, and as General leading a force, he reached the acroterion of Koliada, where the Athenian women were sacrificing to Demeter. From there, he sent a trusted man to Salamis, pretending that he was a fugitive, informing the Megarians that the Athenian women were unprotected. The Megarians fell into the trap and when disembarked from the ships without their arms to catch them, they found out, that the women were disguised men, with hidden knives. They were all killed and Solon with their ships sailed immediately to the unprotected Salamis and conquered the island. Megarians tried to regain the island and a prolonged war between Athens and Megara proved disastrous for both of them. It was finally agreed to let Sparta decide, who would be the owner of the island. The arbitration of Sparta decided, that Salamis belonged to Athens.
Solon increased his reputation by supporting the Delphians against the inhabitants of Kirra. With difficulty, he persuaded the assembly of Amphictions to open war against the city of Kirra (first Sacred war 595-585 BC).
When Solon became archon in 594 BC at Athens, wealth and power were in few hands. The poor people (class of Thetes) were in debt, many had become slaves, because they were unable to repay their debts and even sold their children.
Solon, a person who loved justice, tried to change the harsh life of the poor people of Athens. He rejected proposals to become a tyrant and instead he made the memorable law of Seisachtheia, a word that means that he lifted from the shoulders of the poor the burdens, which caused them so much pain and anguish. 
The law of Seisachtheia cancelled the contracts of the poor people, who had borrowed on the security of their person or their land. It also prohibited all future loans of such kind and abolished the power of the creditor to imprison or enslave. The law, by canceling the numerous mortgages of the land properties in Attica, left the land free from all past claims. 
In other laws, he helped the wealthier debtors, who could repay back their loans. Solon increased the value of the mna, by twenty seven percent. He changed the currency from the Aeginetan to the Euboic standard, something that proved favorable to the Athenian trade, in order to facilitate the trade with Korinth, Chalkis and Eretria and other colonies. Solon did not only prohibit the mortgage of persons, he also limited the amount of the land an individual could possess. He forbade the big land owners to export the grain from Athens, by attaching a heavy fine and also the export of the agricultural products from Attica, except olive oil. 
Solon repealed the laws of Drakon, except those on homicide. He abolished the death penalty, from all minor crimes.
Many people who had been punished, they were restored to full privileges of citizenship. Under this law the exiled family of Alkmaeonidae returned to Athens.
The laws of the legislator Solon were written in wooden triangular boards named kyrveis and were kept first in the Acropolis and later in the Prytaneum.
He also changed the political system, from Oligarchy to Timocracy, in other words, he diminished the power of noble birth and gave importance to wealth. He reorganized the council or senate (vouli) of 401 members, which had been constituted by Drakon (621 BC), whose members were selected from the whole body of citizens. He reduced it by one member to 400, 100 from each of the four tribes. 
When Solon became archon, the population of Attica was divided in three classes, that often came in hostilities against each other. The three divisions were: the Paedieis, the Diakrioi and the Paralioi. Solon arbitrated successfully, bringing an end to their violent quarrels. He abolished the exclusive privileges of the Eupatrids and divided the population in four classes, according to their property. 
The first class, the Pentacosiomedimnoi, had at least five hundred medimnoi of grain or wine or oil, as yearly income. The Hippeis (knights), with income of at least three hundred medimnoi, able to keep a warhorse. The third class, the Zeugitae (possessors of a pair of oxen), with at least one hundred and fifty medimnoi, and finally the Thetes (workers for wages), which had less than one hundred medimnoi income. Only the first three classes could vote in the election and only from the first class men were elected to the highest offices. The class of Thetes was excluded from all official positions but they could vote in the general public assembly and also had the right to take part, as a jury, in trials. They could not serve in the army as hoplites, but only as light-armed troops. 
The Hippeis could only serve from the two highest classes and hoplite from the first three. Only the Thetes were paid for public services, all other classes were serving without payment.
Panathenaic amphora, gift to the victos In minor laws, Solon put very small fines. In contrast, he awarded big sums of money to the Olympic winners (500 drachmas, a fortune at the time) and for the Isthmian games 100 drachmas. For the winners of the Panathenaic games, he awarded one hundred painted amphorae, filled with olive oil.
Though Solon was just at his legislations, he did not make radical changes, believing at his own words that the gods give to every man what is just for him. None was satisfied with his reforms, the poor, who were expecting redistribution of the land, were disappointed and the rich were upset by his concessions to the poor. 
He retained and extended the power of the ancient council of Areopagos, which had jurisdiction in cases of religious crimes and premeditated murder.
Later generations considered Solon the father of democracy, because he liberated the individual from the political domination of the oligarchy and from the economic burdens, giving political rights to the Thetes, to take part in the meeting of Ekklesia, at the same time gave to the individual new responsibilities as a citizen, considering atimia not to take the arms against revolts and tyrants.
Before him the wills were unknown in Athens. The property was inherited from the kin. Solon gave freedom to the individual, permitting to regulate their properties at will, in case they did not have a son. Solon put the foundations for the industry. Every father ought to teach his sons a trade, otherwise his children were not responsible for him in his old age. In his economic reforms, he developed the Athenian industry by importing craftsmen from Corinth and other cities, giving them Athenian citizenship.
Solon was also an excellent lyric and elegiac poet. He was the first Attic poet and wrote iambics and elegiacs on moral, political and social subjects. His elegies amounted more than five thousands lines. In his political elegies, he wrote about the island of Salamis and how he roused the citizens of Athens to regain the island.
As a character, Solon was a sincere, kindly person and generous. He was characterized by moderation and his constant motto was the "Nothing in excess" (Μηδέν άγαν).  He was one of the seven wise men. His wisdom and his noble patriotism marked the Athenian state, as the first true example of humanism.  
He also wrote ethical elegies and his poem "the exhortations to himself" belongs to this category, as also the often-quoted line:
 "I am getting old, but still I am learning a lot
  (Γηράσκω δ' αιεί πολλά διδασκόμενος).
After the completion of his work, Solon left Athens having said to Athenians not to change anything for ten or according to another testimony, for one hundred years. Unfortunately, he lived to see his constitution overthrown from the tyrant Peisistratos. 
Solon first visited Egypt, meeting the kings and priests, learning the history from them. The priests told him about the island of Atlantis and the war of Athenians against the island, nine thousands years before. Solon, from the information the priests gave him, started to write a poem, but he died before finishing it. King Kroesos of Lydia on the pyre, preparing for his death. Attic red figure amphora by Myson, 500 BC.After Egypt, he went to Cyprus and later to Lydia, where he met king Croesos at Sardis. According to the tale of Herodotus, Croesos, after showing his vast treasures to Solon, asked him who was the happiest man he ever known, expecting from Solon that he would mention him. Solon, avoiding to flatter the king, named ordinary Greeks, the Athenian Telamon and the Argive brothers Kleobis and Biton. When Croesos replied that he had not taken under account his vast riches and glory, Solon told him, he considered no man happy, until he knew, how he ended his life: "Don't regard anyone happy, before you know his end" (Μηδένα προ του τέλους μακάριζε).
Croesos at the time showed contempt to Solon, but when was overthrown by Cyros and ready to be burnt, Solon came to his mind and uttered his name three times, with a loud voice: "Solon, Solon, Solon". When Cyros inquired about the strange invocation, he ordered his men to extinguish the fire, but it was too late. Luckily Croesos was saved by a sudden profuse rain. Cyros after the event reinstated Croesos and made him his closest friend and advisor.
During Solon's absence from Athens, the three parties had started violent quarrels between them. The Paedieis (people of the plains) were headed by Lykourgos, the Paralioi (people of seashore) by Megakles of Alkmaeonidae and the Diakrioi (mountaineers) by Peisistratos, a cousin of Solon. When Solon returned to Athens, about 562 BC, tried unsuccessfully to give an end to the ambitions of his cousin Peisistratos. He died at Cyprus and his ashes, according to his will, were scattered around his beloved island of Salamis. 

Peisistratos
605 - 527 BC

Peisistratos, son of Hippokrates, the leader of the Diakrioi and cousin of Solon, was born at Athens. He was a remarkable orator, energetic and resourceful. During the war of Athens with Megara in 570 BC, he captured their port of Nisaea. After this event he was very popular with the people. He tried twice with stratagems to become a tyrant, but both times, he was expelled.
In his first attempt, he appeared at the market with a pair of mules wounded intentionally by him. He explained to the people, that he was almost murdered defending their rights. The Athenians, especially the ones dissatisfied with Solon's laws called an assembly, where it was decided to give him fifty men, for his personal security. Peisistratos with the passing of time increased the number of his guards and in 560 BC, he occupied the Acropolis. Preparation of Athenian troops, during the years of Peisistratos from an attic vase, British MuseumBut the leaders of the other two parties, Lykourgos and Megakles, combined forces and exiled him. He returned to Athens, when his two enemies quarreled, invited by Megakles, who offered him his daughter and help, to regain the leadership of Athens. Peisistratos married the daughter of Megakles, but avoided to connect his blood with the family of Alkmaeonidae. The humiliated Megakles, combining again forces with Lykourgos, managed to expel him from Athens and Megakles retired to Eretria of Euboea, where he remained for ten years. 
In exile, Peisistratos did not stay passive. His energetic and resourceful character managed to possess considerable influence from many Greek cities, which furnished him with money.
With mercenaries from Argos and troops from the island of Naxos, Peisistratos sailed from Eretria to Marathon. He then marched towards the city defeating in a small battle the forces of Lykourgos and Megakles and became master of Athens, in 545 BC. His opponents were forced to exile. The leader of the Paraloi, Megakles and the family of Alkmaeonidae left the city and Solon tried unsuccessfully with poems addressed to the people, to oppose him.
Peisistratos proved a great leader. He reorganized the economy of Athens and with his own money, derived from his mines in Thrace and from his estates in Euboea, constructed new big roads, supplying water the city from the upper Illissus. Athenian women socializing and filling their hydrias from the public fountain, black figure hydria 6th century BC. Louvre.He also beautified the city with temples and supported the arts and literature. He is credited for the collection and writing of the Homeric poems. His library, the first in whole Greece, was open to the citizens of Athens. One of his most beautiful constructions was that of Enneakrunos (nine pipes). He covered with a building, the old fountain of Kallirrhoe, which supplied Athens with water. He reorganized the Great Panathenaea in a splendid manner, by making Homeric recitations a future of the festival. He solved the agrarian problem, converting Attica into a country of small land properties.
Peisistratos maintained the constitution of Solon, but made sure, that the main offices of Athens were held by his supporters. Champion of the poor, he redistributed the land, something Solon had avoided and gave agrarian loans, with small interest (five percent). He was the first tyrant of Athens to put a sales tax to every product. He improved the economy of Athens. At his time, a great number of Attic vases were exported to Etruria and Egypt, Asia Minor and cities of Black Sea, containers of wine, olive oil and ointments.   
He was the first to introduce a foreign policy to Athens. He  build a naval fleet and reoccupied the strategic city of Segium in the Hellispond, securing the import of grain from the Black sea. He had friendly relations with Sparta and Argos, having married an Argive wife. His friendly relations with the island of Delos (the religious center of the Ionians) had as a result Athens to become the leader of the Ionian race. Peisistratos died from old age in 527 BC, after thirty years in power.
Style of hermPeisistratos left in power his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchos, who governed Athens according to their father wishes. They governed the city wisely as their father and the people loved them. They brought back from exile the Alkmaeonidae family, which had been exiled by their father.
Hipparchos, who had inherited from his father the love of literary, invited the famous poets Simonides and Anakreon and furnished the highways with Herms, which marked the boundaries of public and sacred precincts. He started building the temple of the Olympian Zeus. It was a colossal structure in Doric style (in later years they changed it to Korinthian style), 359 feet in length by 173 feet wide (515 BC).
Harmodios and Aristogeiton. Roman copy of the group made by Kritios and Nesiotes in 477-476 BC, to replace an earlier version taken by the Persians, in 480 BC.Everything was changed, when Harmodios and Aristogeiton for personal reasons conspired and killed Hipparchos, in 514 BC. Aristogeiton was an Athenian of moderate fortune, who had an affection for his beautiful young friend Harmodios. Hipparchos made repeated propositions to Harmodios, which were repelled. Hipparchos took then revenge by insulting the sister of Harmodios, prohibiting her to take part in a religious procession, as a basket carrier. After this event, the two friends conspired to kill the tyrants, during the festival of Panathenaea. When the day arrived, they approached Hippias at Kerameikos, who at that moment was speaking with one fellow conspirator and thought that their plan had been betrayed. So they took the decision to kill Hipparchos, who was at the city. They found Hipparchos near the chapel Leokorion and killed him. Harmodios was killed by the guards and Aristogeiton was saved by the crowd of people, but he was captured later, tortured and killed. At later times, Harmodios and Aristogeiton became symbols of the democracy.
When Hippias learned about the assassination of his brother, he immediately called the Athenians to put down the arms and assembled them to another place, where he searched and caught the conspirators from their concealed daggers. After the assassination of his brother, Hippias became ruthless, putting to death many Athenian citizens and collecting large sums of money by heavy taxes, feeling threatened from the Athenians, he gave his daughter in marriage to Aeantides, son of the despot of Lamsakos. 
During the time of Peisistratos, the exiled Alkmaeonidae had undertaken the reconstruction of the temple at Delphi, which had been accidentally destroyed by fire (548-547 BC). By their own generosity they rebuild the temple with Parian marble. Indebted to Alkmaeonidae, Delphi whenever the Spartans came to consult the oracle, the responce was: "Athens must be liberated". With the help of Sparta, Hippias was forced after four years from the death of his brother, to leave the city (510 BC) and the Alkmaeonidae family returned to Athens from exile.

Kleisthenes
570 - 507 BC

Kleisthenes, the son of Megakles of the Alkmaeonidae family and Agariste, the daughter of Kleisthenes of Sikyon, was born at Athens, in 570 BC. His great grandfather, Megakles of the Alkmaeonidae, was the Archon of Athens, when Kylon made his unsuccessful attempt to seize the Acropolis of Athens, to become tyrant (632 BC).
Kleisthenes was twenty four years old, when Peisistratos exiled the Alkmaeonidae family, in 546 BC.
After the fall of Hippias, there was a struggle for power, between Kleisthenes, the leader of the Alkmaeonidae and liberator of Athens and Isagoras, the leader of the nobles. When Isagoras took the power and became Archon in 508 BC, Kleisthenes refused to submit and appealed to the people promising restoration of their political rights, if they would help him to overthrow Isagoras from power.
Isagoras called Kleomenes of Sparta, a friend of his, who immediately sent a herald demanding from the Athenians to expel the "accursed" Alkmaeonidae and thus Kleisthenes was forced into exile.
When Kleomenes came to Athens, he expelled seven hundred Athenian families, whom Isagoras considered dangerous.
Kleomenes dissolved the senate and put in the government three hundred of his own people. When this happened, the people rose and Kleomenes, Isagoras and their supporters tried to find refuge in the Acropolis. The Athenians seized Acropolis and after two days permitted Kleomenes and Isagoras to leave, but all others were put to death. After this event the Athenians recalled Kleisthenes and the other seven hundred exiled Athenian families.
When Kleomenes arrived at Sparta immediately prepared an army and marched into Attica, in order to reinstate Isagoras. With the support of Korinthians and other Peloponnesians, Kleomenes encamped at the plain of Eleusis. The Athenians prepared an army and marched to engage them, but in the meantime the Korinthians learned the real purpose of the expedition and withdrew. The second king of Sparta, Demaratos, who was taking part in the expedition, also opposed and the expedition was cancelled.
When the Spartans departed, the Athenians turned against the Chalkidaeans. Αt the Euripos straits, they met and defeated the Thebans, who were coming to their aid. The same day, the Athenians passed over to Euboea and defeated the Chalkidaeans. The land property of the nobles was confiscated and given to four thousand Athenians settlers, the so-called Klerouchoi.
Kleisthenes having now full power, he begun his reforms, that led Athens to an established democracy.
He persuaded the people to change the political organization from family and clan and phatria to local groups. He abolished the power of the old four Ionic blood tribes (Aigikoreis, Hopletes, Geleontes, Argadeis), permitting them to survive only for religious purposes.
The remaining stylae of the Olympian Zeus temple in Korinthian style. The construction started by Peisistratos son Hipparchos in 515 BC, probaly in the Ionic style. It was resumed by the Seleukid king Antiochos IV (176 - 165 BC) and changed at the time to Corinthian style and finished by the Emperor Hadrian (117 - 38 AD). Of the original 104 columns, only 15 are still standing.The population of Athens at the times of Kleisthenes, was including a large body of residents, who did not have citizenship and of course no share in the political decisions. Kleisthenes accordingly divided Attica into one hundred and forty demes (townships).
All the people who resided in the demos, became Athenian citizens, including alien residents and emancipated slaves. The demes had the duties and public rights, registering the citizens and electing their own officials. The demos was a complete local body which had its own Demarch (mayor), its own treasurer, a common property with its own priest and priestesses. The demos were grouped into thirty trittyes, equal in population. Each of the trittyes had a number of demes, though some were consisted from one large demos. Trittyes had no communal life and were serving as connecting link between the demos and the tribe. From the thirty trittyes, he composed ten tribes, drawing by lot one trittye from the Paraloi, Diakrioi, Paedieis and so these three divisions which had troubled Athens for centuries, they were changed completely.
The new regions now were: the Asty (town), which was incuded Athens, Pireaus and Phaleron, the Coast, which now included many additional territories and the Interior, comprised from areas from the Asty and Coast. The distribution of these local functions among all the tribes had as an object  to break up their sectional organizations, giving an end to the endless quarrels of the past.   
The people also were known not only by their fathers name, but from the name of their demo. Kleisthenes arranged the demes in such a way that they were no contiguous to each other but scattered in different parts of Attica. The reason for this was to prevent the tribes to acquire independent local interest, as well to avoid the demes for themselves into political functions. 
The results of Kleisthenes reforms was the isonomia (equal rights) and the people took a more active participation in public life.
Kleisthenes enlarged also the number of the senators (prytaneis). The council was increased from four hundred to five hundred, fifty members from each tribe.
The attic year consisted of twelve lunar months, 354 days. Kleisthenes divided the year for official purposes into ten periods and so each prytanis was serving for 35-36 days. Further, the fifty senators were divided into five bodies of ten each. The so called Proedros, presiding for seven days and the chairman, chosen by lot, was called Epistates, serving both in the Senate and in the Ekklecia, responsible for the treasury and keeper of the keys of the Acropolis.

Ostrakon for the Athenian - Aristeides of Lysimacho Ostrakon for the Athenian - Themistokles of Neokleos Frearios


Kleisthenes introduced also the ostrakism (banishment from the city). The word of ostrakism derived from ostrako, a fragment of pottery, which was used as a ballot. The man, whose name was written in ostrakο and their number exceeded the six thousands, he was driven into exile for ten years. This measure was taken by Kleisthenes, in order to safeguard the city from future tyrants.
Kleisthenes was a great statesman and founder of the Athenian democracy.

 Ostrakon in the name of Themistokles

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