). A celebrated legislator, born at Catana in
Sicily, where he flourished about B.C. 650. We have very few details of his life. Aristotle
merely informs us that he was of the bourgeois class of citizens, and that he framed laws for
the people of Catana, as well as for other communities which, like them, were descended from
Chalcis in Euboea. Aelian adds (V. H.
iii. 17) that he was subsequently driven
into exile from Catana, and took refuge in Rhegium, where he succeeded in introducing his
laws. Some authors inform us that he compiled his laws for the Thurians; but he lived, in
fact, a long time before the foundation of Thurium, since his laws were abrogated in part by
Anaxilaüs, tyrant of Rhegium, who died B.C. 476. The laws of Charondas were, like
those of many of the ancient legislators, in verse, and formed part of the instruction of the
young. Their fame reached even to Athens, where they were sung or chanted at repasts. The
preamble of these laws, as preserved to us by Stobaeus, is thought, so far, at least, as
regards the form of expression, not to be genuine; and Heyne supposes it to have been taken
from some Pythagorean treatise on the laws of Charondas.
The manner of this legislator's death is deserving of mention. He had made a law that no man
should be allowed to come armed into the assembly of the people. The penalty for infringement
was death. He became the victim of his own law; for, having returned from pursuing some
robbers, he entered the city, and presented himself before the assembly of the people without
reflecting that he carried a sword by his side. Some one thereupon remarked to him,
“You are violating your own law.” His reply was, “On the
contrary, by Zeus, I will establish it”; and he slew himself on the spot.