This book addresses the historical, social and political contexts within which Solon of Athens instituted wide-ranging reforms to the Athenian constitution (594-93 BCE), the impact of those reforms on the growing political self-awareness of the archaic Athenians themselves, and the developing ethical and political philosophies that drove reform. It also provides, for the first time in 90 years, a detailed and comprehensive commentary on each of the 43 extant fragments of Solon’s poetry. In the light of modern scholarship, Ron Owens sets out the story of Solon’s life, and examines the nature of the entrenched and threatening political and economic crisis which led to his appointment to high political office; he discusses the manner and consequences of his appointment; seeks to identify both the underlying causes of the crisis and the general outlines of the reform measures adopted by Solon; and explores both the philosophy and the concept of “justice” that appears to have underpinned his reform agenda. The work fills a significant gap in archaic Greek scholarship, both nationally and in the wider academic world, in terms of historical analysis, political development and the beginnings of philosophy in the Greek archaic period generally, and at Athens in particular. Solon was an historical figure of great significance, quoted by some 115 classical and post-classical authors, yet in terms of recent scholarship no one since Woodhouse (1938) has written exclusively on him and not since Linforth (1919) has there been a commentary on each individual fragment of Solon’s poetry. While recent scholarship has emphasised particular aspects of Solon’s works, or particular developments at Athens in which Solon is said to have played a part, this book sets out in full his political and social achievements in the context of the philosophical underpinnings that appear to have privileged the socio-political changes initiated by Solon.