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CHALKIS Euboia, Greece.

The chief city of the region, situated at the narrowest part of the Euripos, where the island lies closest to Boiotia. It was a flourishing trade center throughout antiquity, known especially for pottery and metalwork. Its citizens founded colonies in Sicily in the 8th c. B.C. and along the N Aegean coasts in the 7th. Eretria to the E was a long-standing rival for control of the rich Lelantine Plain which lay between them. Chalkis supported the Greek cities against Xerxes, but turned against Athens in 446, only to be defeated and remain a tributary until 411 B.C. It was then that the Euboians and Boiotians combined to block the Euripos with moles, leaving only a narrow channel spanned by a wooden bridge, the first of many built at various times in later history. Philip II of Macedon garrisoned the city in 338 B.C. as one of his chief control points; it remained an important center until it was partly destroyed for siding with the Achaian League against Rome in 146 B.C. Few remains of the ancient city have been uncovered, but quarrying activities N of the acropolis have revealed the walls of some Late Classical structures. Dikaiarchos (26f) described Chalkis as enclosed by a wall 70 stades in length; the trace is still clear on air photographs. Among many brackish springs, that of Arethusa alone provided sufficient healthful water for all the people. There were gymnasia, theaters, sanctuaries, including that of Apollo Delphinios, squares, and stoas; an inscription mentions the Temple of Zeus Olympios. The port on the Euripos was connected by a gate to the commercial agora, which had stoas on three sides. A mile S of the town, Leake saw the ruined arches of a Roman aqueduct.


Livy 28.6; Plut. Tit. 16; W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr. (1835) II 254-66M; J. Boardman in BSA 52 (1957) 1f.


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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 6
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