Solon's Hoplite Assessment Author(s): A. French Source: Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 10, H. 4 (Oct., 1961), pp.

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Accordingly one feels hesitant to accept without further evidence an estimated average of 50 acres for a Zeugites farm. To support his argument Waters cites Gomme's calculation of an Athenian hoplite force of at least Ioooo men in the Persian War period. his argument rests on some doubtful assumptions.88. dividing the Solonian assessment of 285 bushels by the estimated yield per acre. they are in fact the largest on record. and may be compared with the recorded dimension of actual farms. and allowing space for fallowing etc. This content downloaded from 65. Waters has argued that Solon accepted monetary income. that he possessed monetary income in addition to the yield from his farm. The figure is probably reached by assuming that the basic crop was grain. 5. Waters has assumed that the basis of assessment was the same in Solon's time as in 479.MISZELLEN SOLON'S HOPLITE ASSESSMENT In the J. he concludes that the hoplites must have included men who owed their status to income derived from sources other than land i. H.p. I. Arist. I21. 15 Aug 2013 12:26:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but the assumption adds an imponderable to the calculation. that the Solonian assessment included monetary income. Nevertheless we must assume that both these farms were considered large by Attic standards4. 5 Dem. The postulated figure of ioooo in 479 might be supposed to include some hoplites who did not depend on the land for their income: but the evidence for this theoretical figure rests on the battle strength at Plataea as given by Herodotos (IX 28). based entirely on a property qualification. as well as agricultural produce. whatever its source. but even if Waters is right in rejecting it. as a basis for political assessment. 27. the estimate of 5o acres for an average Zeugites farm seems too high. i. XIX. and of Alkibiades we may guess. Aristotle's precise statement (Ath. But if the innovation of including monetary income in the assessment had occurred between Solon's time and the Persian Wars (as some historians believe') then the basis for Waters' own estimate of 5000 at the earlier date disappears: the 479 hoplite strength. 123C. 8 Plut. Pol. Jard6 C6reales p. The estate of Alkibiades comprised 300 plethra2 (about 70 acres): that presented as a national gift to the son of Aristeides was of ioo plethra3 (about 23 acres). in Phaen. would be no guide to the earlier hoplite strength. 4) that the Solonian classes were based on produce &x riq olxetas. and concludes that 5000 hoplites would have required 250ooo acres of farmland to support them: in addition the land required for the two higher classes would swell the amount still further. e.88. I83) K. See Busolt i. even granted a rapid rate of population growth: he estimates that a farm capable of producing the Zeugites income would average about 50 acres in extent. Vol LXXX of I960 (p. it is possible that this is so. i8o n. 7. is at least in harmony with the political conditions of Solon's time and surely merits close consideration.42 on Thu. with one striking exception from the fourth centurys. 4 Lys. Waters estimates that the force could hardly have been less than half this amount a century earlier. H. 2. including those men assessed on money income. 29. S. Plato Alk. Suggesting that not more than about x6oooo acres of Attica were suitable for farming. In Attica's ecological conditions we can 1 2 See Hignett 'History of the Athenian Constitution' p. 225-226. Secondly. Of Lysimachos we know. and there is no earlier controlling evidence.

since they grow on land which it would be uneconomical to plough: as vines are deep-feeding plants they can easily co-exist with surface-rooting growth. hence a farmer who grew only grain would need to sow about 30 acres. for the yield per acre is so heavy that even a slight miscalculation of the proportion of area under vines can upset the validity of the calculation e. Thus it is unwise to assume that farm production was planned with a view to maximising production of grain: the basic elements in rural production are land and labour. so must be the estimated average size of the farms. for which only 10-15 acres would be needed.' In early Attica wine was the most attractive second crop to grain because of its high yield. and its intrinsic goodness. and the labour force has to be large enough to cope with these crisis periods: hence to avoid the worst evils of underemployment at other seasons of the year it is normal to run several crops. Viticulture was important in the Attic farm economy even in Solon's time. its keeping qualities. and any sensible planning takes into account the need to use both to the best advantage. such as vegetables. this would be a maximum size for a farm producing the minimum Zeugites assessment (Waters naturally excludes the possibility of a farm producing only oil. an impossible figure in the circumstances). Since its relative importance in Solon's time is speculative. The average may be nearer the bigher than the lower. There is an 1 A modem farm can draw on mechanical aids and casual labour: but the latter can be available only where there are other occupations to maintain the casual hands for the rest of the year. Since grain is the most space-consuming crop. We now have a theoretical upper and lower limit of say 65 and io acies for a Zeugites farm producing the minimum assessment: there is however no way of striking an average. might simultaneously be producing a grape harvest which would upset the calculation. The fact is that vines rarely compete for space with grains. Thus the extra few acres allowed for growing wood etc. if we make the reasonable assumption that many of Attica's farms were run on a near-subsistence basis i. 15 Aug 2013 12:26:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Waters' calculations really assume that the farm programme was normally planned with an eye to producing the maximum of nutritional commodities. and alternate fallowing the most extravagant way of conserving moisture. oil etc. he would need over 6o acres. If he fallowed on alternate years and grew his own wood. But the calculation becomes very uncertain if we assume that all farms grew wine. A Zeugites farm of minimum size would be one producing only wine. a farmer who had the equivalent of only 5 acres under vines could produce half his assessed income from them and needed only 15 or so acres sown to grain to complete his assessment: if he fallowed a third of his land each year his farm might attain hoplite level with a total acreage of less than half that estimated by Waters. but the imponderables make it unwise to strike a definite average and use it as a base for further calculation. wine is a product which lends status even to the humble. the harvesting of which falls at different times. hence the space they occupy can bear another crop.88. but the estimated average size of the farms must be sharply reduced in proportion to the importance that we assign to it. But the utilisation of land on a farm is also influenced by the size of the household and the optimum use of the labour thus available. for which an acreage of about I50 acres would be required. its value lies outside the commercial sphere since it is the medium of votive offerings and hospitality. The above remarks should illustrate the complexity of the problem of calculating average farm areas: the possibilities can be narrowed. that they produced as much of their own bread as possible. or pasture. Its output was not limited either by the drinking capacity of the household or by the potential market outside. A grain crop requires a high input of labour only at sowing and harvest.42 on Thu. because we have no idea of the statistical distribution of the farms between the two limits..88. e. This content downloaded from 65. g.Miszellen 5II postulate a maximum yield of lo bushels to the acre.

it would be hazardous to conclude that such men were necessarily entrepreneurs. M. but is this necessarily so ? If a farmer had four sons. of real wealth. Professor A. Socrates was a hoplite. 7.88.I. on the basis of these figures. lines 96-9). Socrates' property at death was 5 minae Xen. But even this were so. and conclusions will be limited to the extent of fluctuation. Solon could have had no objection to a farm exceeding its complement. Oik II. 296 . At a later stage.1: we can only assume that he had inherited the equipment. that there were in Solon's time any hoplites who were landless. 178-80). 3. T. G. This content downloaded from 65. D. though he had neither a farm nor any adequately gainful employment. FRENCH EUPATRIDAI In Historia IX (I96o). Solon's assessments were minimal i.512 Miszellen additional disquieting feature of the method of calculation. 364-5) suggests that Chairion was connected with the Cleinias-Alcibiades family. when Attic institutions were no longer exclusively geared to a farming economy. accepting a fair risk of error: fluctuations in the hoplite strength are among the best evidence we have with regard to changes in the level of population and. not of changing the laws. advocated amongst others by Professor H. and what then would happen to the 67Xm? As fragmentation of estates continued we should expect the number of hoplites to fall rather than rise. to some extent. Wade-Gery and recently by Professor F. Wust. G. not to absolute figures. 2 Ath. We cannot therefore assume. So I discussed the question of a eupatrid class (pp. In any case it is clear that depend on farm. Pol. or had not inherited a large enough farm. Raubitschek E1D=rcrpt86v. or whose income was derived from non-farming sources. would he serve with the hoplites while they served with the Thetes ? When the father died would the 67r)r be inherited by the eldest son? If the farm were divided perhaps none of the heirs would qualify for hoplite status. (Dedications from the Athenian Acropolis 11-2. his assessments became a historical curiosity. This led me to doubt the theory. i. University of Adelaide A. unless a citizen complained that he could not afford to supply the equipment. I have now several things to add. as Aristotle implies2: the status was probably in practice hereditary. Mr. I drew attention to the likelihood that Solon conceived his task as one of writing the laws down. 9. R. or any other. p. e. and I drew attention to the curious outcrop of claims to eupatridhood in a small social circle of the late fifth century. but it seems foolish to imagine that a man who owned the equipment should not use it because he no longer owned. Of course our statistical data are so very limited that one has to do the best one can. 22ia. It assumes that one farm would provide only one hoplite. 273. I2. but extreme caution is needed in applying them. the ability to supply the equipment did not necessarily income. and there would be no reason to apply a means test when enrolling the epheboi. that Solon substituted wealth for birth as the qualification for political office.42 on Thu. XII. Waters' calculations seem hard to accept because of the many unknown factors involved. The document is a sepulchral inscription recording XaapEov'AOevodTho (I. E. Lewis has kindly drawn my attention to a document of the sixth century and a discussion. 15 Aug 2013 12:26:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Raubitschek thinks that the eupatridai were I Plato Symp. I suggested that belief in the sometime existence of such a class was due to comparatively late speculation. each Zeugites farm was expected to supply at least one hoplite.88. I61-2. 4.

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