), a lawgiver of Catana, who legislated for his own and the other cities of Chalcidian origin in Sicily and Italy. (Aristot. Pol. 2.10
.) Now, these were Zancle, Naxos, Leontini, Euboea, Mylae, Himera, Callipolis, and Rhegium.
He must have lived before the time of Anaxilaus, tyrant of Rhegium, i. e.
before B. C. 494, for the Rhegians used the laws of Charondas till they were abolished by Anaxilaus, who, after a reign of eighteen years, died B. C. 476.
These facts sufficiently refute the common account of Charondas, as given by Diodorus (12.12
) : viz. that after Thurii was founded by the people of the ruined city of Sybaris, the colonists chose Charondas, " the best of their fellow-citizens,"
to draw up a code of laws for their use. For Thurii, as we have seen, is not included among the Chalcidian cities, and the date of its foundation is B. C. 443.
It is also demonstrated by Bentley (Phalaris,
p. 367, &c.), that the laws which Diodorus gives as those drawn up by Charondas for the Thurians were in reality not his. For Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 4.12
) tells us, that his laws were adapted to an aristocracy, whereas in Diodorus we constantly find him ordering appeals to the δῆμος
, and the constitution of Thurii is expressly called πολίτευμα δημοκρατικόν
. Again, we learn from a happy correction made by Bentley in a corrupt passage of the Politics (2.12), that the only peculiarity in the laws of Charondas was that he first introduced the power of prosecuting false witnesses (ἐπίσκηψις
But it is quite certain that this was in force at Athens long before the existence of Thurii, and therefore that Charondas, as its author, also lived before the foundation of that city. Lastly, we are told by Diogenes Laertius, that Protagoras was the lawgiver of Thurii. (See Wesseling's note on Diodorus, l.c.,
where Bentley's arguments are summed up with great clearness.) Diodorus ends the account of his pseudo-Charondas by the story, that he one day forgot to lay aside his sword before he appeared in the assembly, thereby violating one of his own laws. On being reminded of this by a citizen, he exclaimed, μὰ Δἴ ἀλλὰ κύριον ποιήσω
, and immediately stabbed himself.
This anecdote is also told of Diocles of Syracuse, and of Zaleucus, though Valerius Maximus (6.5) agrees with Diodorus in attributing it to Charondas.
The story that Charondas was a Pythagorean, is probably an instance of the practice which arose in later times of calling every distinguished lawgiver a disciple of Pythagoras, which title was even conferred on Numa Pompilius. (Comp. Iamblich. Vit. Pythag.
100.7.) Among several pretended laws of Charondas preserved by Stobaeus, there is one probably authentic, since it is found in a fragment of Theophrastus. (Stob. Serm.
This enacts, that all buying and selling is to be transacted with ready money, and that the government is to provide no remedy for those who lose their money by giving credit.
The same ordinance will be found in Plato's Laws.
The laws of Charondas were probably in verse. (Athen. 14.619
The fragments of the laws of Charondas are given in Heyne's Opuscula,
vol. ii. p. 74, &c.