This paper re-examines the question of the so-called Chalcidian laws which according to many scholars were in force in all the Western Greek cities of Chalcidian foundation (also thanks to the work of a lawgiver such as Charondas of Catana). In fact, a careful analysis of the available evidence – mostly literary and epigraphic – shows that those cities did not have the same constitutional setting, or the same legal rules during the Archaic Period. As a result, the reference to Chalcidian laws – notoriously found in Thucydides’ Histories – was probably nothing more than a ‘rhetorical device’ exploited during the late fifth century to give cohesion to the Western Ionian cities (which were in alliance with Athens) as opposed to the Dorian ones (which were in alliance with Sparta).
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