The Solonian Constitution was created by Solon in the early 6th century BC.
Solon wanted to revise or abolish the older laws of Draco. Under Solon's reforms, all debts were abolished and all debt-slaves were freed. The status of the hectemoroi (the "one-sixth workers"), who farmed in an early form of serfdom, was also abolished. These reforms were known as the Seisachtheia, the "shaking-off of burdens."
Solon's constitution reduced the power of the old aristocracy by making wealth rather than birth a criterion for holding political positions, a system called timokratia or Timocracy. Citizens were also divided based on their land production: Pentacosiomedimnoi (over 500 bushels of produce), Hippeis (300-500 bushels), Zeugitae (200-300 bushels), and thetes (below 200 bushels, as well as citizens with no wealth tied to the land). Each division had different rights; for example, the pentacosiomedimnoi could be archons, while thetes could only attend the Athenian assembly (the Heliaia).
The only parts of Draco's code that Solon kept were the laws regarding homicide. The constitution was written as poetry, and as soon as it was introduced, Solon went into self-imposed exile for 10 years so he would not be tempted to take power as a tyrant.
- The Athenian Constitution, Aristotle (~350 BC). Commentary on the Solonian Constitution.
- The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Plutarch (~75 AD). Article on Solon.
- The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Frederick Engels. Chapter V. The Rise of the Athenian State, discusses the significance and effects of Solonian Constitution.