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(also Khalkis), an ancient city in Greece, on the island of Euboea. The city’s name is said to derive from the Greek word for copper (chalkos), which was mined nearby. The copper mines combined with Chalcis’ advantageous geographic location and fertile soil to make the city the leading economic center in Euboea.
Beginning in the eighth century B.C., Chalcis took part in the colonization of Thrace, Sicily, and southern Italy. The people of Italy acquired the Greek alphabet from the Chalcidians. At the end of the sixth century B.C., Chalcis fell under Athenian domination. Except for the period of the Peloponnesian War (431–404), the city remained under Athenian control until the mid-fourth century B.C. In 338, Chalcis fell under the sway of Macedonia.
In 168 B.C. the Romans took control of the city. In 146 B.C. they punished Chalcis for taking part in an anti-Roman uprising by sacking the city and tearing down its fortifications. Chalcis was later rebuilt and was used by first the Romans and then the Byzantines as a military base for control of the sea lanes along the eastern coast of Greece.