Charondas - Encyclopedia

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CHARONDAS, a celebrated lawgiver of Catana in Sicily. His date is uncertain. Some make him a pupil of Pythagoras (c. 580-504 B.C.); but all that can be said is that he was earlier than Anaxilaus of Rhegium (494-476), since his laws were in use amongst the Rhegians until they were abolished by that tyrant. His laws, originally written in verse, were adopted by the other Chalcidic colonies in Sicily and Italy. According to Aristotle there was nothing special about these laws, except that Charondas introduced actions for perjury; but he speaks highly of the precision with which they were drawn up (Politics, ii. 12). The story that Charondas killed himself because he entered the public assembly wearing a sword, which was a violation of his own law, is also told of Diodes and Zaleucus (Diod. Sic. xii. 11-19). The fragments of laws attributed to him by Stobaeus and Diodorus are of late (neo-Pythagorean) origin.

See Bentley, On Phalaris, which (according to B. Niese s.v. in Pauly, Realencyclopddie) contains what is even now the best account of Charondas; A. Holm, Geschichte Siciliens, i.; F. D. Gerlach, Zaleukos, Charondas, and Pythagoras (1858); also art. Greek Law.

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