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Thea Potter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 239-276

Print Length

37 pages

7. Solon’s Petromorphic Biopolitics

  • Thea Potter (author)
The final chapter (‘Solon’s Petromorphic Biopolitics’) resolves the former discussions on the horos by looking at one last meaning, ‘decision of a magistrate.’ The law-reformer Solon is famous for an act called the seisachtheia, where he was said to have relieved the earth from her burdens and freed men who were enslaved. The burdens he claims to have raised were none other than horos-stones. With the reforms of Solon, the web of meanings that the horos seems to have bound begins to unravel, and yet the word itself does not lose its multiplicity. Solon brings an end to a period of civil war and inaugurates an epoch that ensured the productivity of its citizens, limited their ease of movement, and opened the way to the eventual dominance of the market and its persuasive reasoning. He did so by claiming for himself the middle position: in his own words he stood as a horos in the midst of the people. I argue that this created a fracture in the traditions of Athens, disrupting the household and the place of women and their command over reproduction and production, generating, in contrast, a society based upon a centralised political economy. The novelty of this claim is in the idea of biological productivity as a regulative device within Athenian legal discourse.


Thea Potter