Greece moved from monarchy to an Aristocratic Republic in approximately 700 B.C. By 686 B.C., the ruling body of the Greek state was composed of three rulers:

There was no written law at this time. Law was "customary" and people were governed by custom. Because of this, and the concepts of Themis and Deke, corruption was inevitable.

In 621, Draco instituted the first Code of Law. Draco substituted Public trial and punishment for the customary forms of justice: family vendetta and private vengeance. Under Draconian rule debtors could be seized and sold as slaves at a land owner's whim. Draco's codes made punishment very severe; however, he put the force of the Athenian community behind the law. Because of this, the use of legal reasoning replaced the Rambo mentality. This also represents the switch from justice through violence to justice through reasoning/logos/ rhetoric. This action placed justice in the hands of the common and created a need for rhetorical study and practice.

From Draco's reign came the term Eunomia which is defined as the state of being well governed.


Solon was a poet King Archon. Perhaps best known for the statement: "Know Thyself; Do Nothing Too Much." Solon completed the process begun by Draco. He wanted to improve Draconian law into a workable constitution. This constitution was to encourage active participation in government by the Athenian citizenry. His reorganization plans proposed harsh penalties for idleness. Solon stopped the practice of debtor slaves and other arbitrary Draconian penalties.

Solon also slashed personal debt in half and restored lands that had been seized under Draco. These acts freed up the political, social, and commercial energies of Athens. Solon hoped to accomplish a "community of free men who seek justice together rather than having it imposed upon them from a class of nobles."

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