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  • 1 Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Ancient History Ókortörténeti Tanszék Múzeum krt. 6–8. H-1088 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 6-8. HU–1088 Budapest
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The land-law of Solon can be divided into two parts: on the one hand it is a seisachtheia (the shaking off of burdens), which is the extracting of border-stones in the “serving land” (and has nothing to do with indebtedness), and on theother hand it is therepurchase of citizens who had been unlawfully sold abroad. The legal status of the social class called hektemoroi was similar to that of the helots in Sparta and the penestai in Thessaly. The hektemoroi were liberated by the reform of Solon, thus they become thetes, i.e. lawful citizens. This measure was taken much rather in favour of the big landowners than of the hektemoroi. The latter could not get their former lands, since the lands were usually taken by aristocrats to grow exportable olive and grapevine. (It wasonly the export of cornthat was forbidden by Solon.) Raising the thetes to the rank of citizens became the most important element of the Athenian development. (At this point the economicmodels of Athens, Sparta, Thessaly and Crete diverge.) The social class of the thetes gave Athens not only a supply for agricultural labour but also the masses of craftsmen and shipmen, who served the city even as oarsmen while it was becoming a great power…