Draco, an Athenian statesman of the seventh century B.C. He is remembered mainly for the severity of his laws, which, according to tradition, formed Athens' first written code. Previously the Athenians had observed unwritten laws, which permitted citizens to avenge wrongs committed against them or their relatives. When someone was slain, a long-lasting family feud often developed.
About 621 B.C. Draco, an archon (magistrate), was commissioned by his fellow archons to write a code of laws. Draco outlawed private vengeance and put homicide and personal injury under the jurisdiction of the Areopagus (high court). He set unusually harsh penalties for crimes, hoping to persuade persons who had been wronged to leave vengeance to the court. His code was revised by Solon about 594 B.C.