Athens was primarily an agricultural society and its economic stability depended on the product yielded by the cultivation of its land. We know that Pisistratus legislated state agrarian loans with favourable conditions for those who needed them, possibly without interest. That way, he ensured for himself the immediate support of peasants. The exact tax percentage is not known, but it must have ranged from 1/16 to 1/20 of the produce. Farmers did no longer depend on aristocracy or other powerful creditors. Moreover, the tyrant of Athens was the first to introduce direct taxation on the citizens' products. This measure was later adopted by most tyrants (Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia 16.2-4, 16.6).

There is a possibility that Pisistratus proceeded to land distribution, which Solon had formerly avoided to carry out. First he seized his enemies' property and then he distributed it to poor peasants. However, sources on this subject are not accurate. It should be stressed that, even though the reasons that prompted Pisistratus to distribute the land were different from the ones that made Solon consider this possibility, the idea already existed. The tyrant of Athens wanted to win the poor people's favour, while Solon rejected economic equality saying that the gods give everyone what he deserves.

| introduction | agriculture | trade | state organization | Archaic Period

Note: Click on a picture for a brief description.