Solon's reforms satisfied neither the nobility nor the
commons. The two classes continued their rivalry until the disorder of the
times enabled an ambitious politician to gain supreme power as a tyrant.
He was Solon's own nephew, a noble named Pisistratus. The tyrant ruled with
moderation and did much to develop the Athenian city-state. He fostered
agriculture by dividing the lands of banished nobles among the peasants. His
alliances with neighboring cities encouraged the rising commerce of Athens. The
city itself was adorned with handsome buildings by architects and sculptors
whom Pisistratus invited to his court from all parts of Greece.
REFORMS OF CLISTHENES, 508-507 B.C.
Pisistratus was succeeded by his two sons, but the
Athenians did not take kindly to their rule. Before long the tyranny came to an
end. The Athenians now found a leader in a noble named Clisthenes, who proved
to be an able statesman. He carried still further the democratic movement begun
by Draco and Solon. One of his reforms extended Athenian citizenship to many foreigners
and emancipated slaves ("freedmen") then living in Attica. This
liberal measure swelled the number of citizens and helped to make the Athenians
a more progressive people. Clisthenes, it is said, also established the curious
arrangement known as ostracism. Every year, if necessary, the citizens were to
meet in assembly and to vote against any persons whom they thought dangerous to
the state. If as many as six thousand votes were cast, the man who received the
highest number of votes had to go into honorable exile for ten years. 
Though ostracism was intended as a precaution against tyrants, before long it
came to be used to remove unpopular politicians.
 The name of an individual voted against was written
on a piece of pottery (Greek ostrakon), whence the term ostracism.
ATHENS A DEMOCRATIC STATE
There were still some steps to be taken before the rule of
the people was completely secured at Athens. But, in the main, the Athenians by
500 B.C. had established a truly democratic government, the first in the
history of the world. The hour was now rapidly approaching when this young and
vigorous democracy was to show forth its worth before the eyes of all Greece.