This study was carried out to determine the effect of chilling on both cold-acclimated and non-acclimated chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars (Gok double dagger e and CanA +/- tez 87). Chickpea seedlings grown in soil culture for 12 days were subjected to chilling temperatures (2 and 4A degrees C for 12 days) after maintaining in cold-acclimation (10A degrees C, 7 days) or non-acclimation (25A degrees C, 7 days) periods. The lowest values of growth parameters were obtained with cold-acclimated plants, whereas non-acclimated plants exhibited the lowest water content values, especially at 2A degrees C. There was no effect of cold-acclimation period on chlorophyll fluorescence parameters. Plants subjected to chilling temperatures after cold-acclimation were more tolerant with respect to chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, and Gok double dagger e had better photosystem II (PSII) photochemical activity. In the chilling treatments, total chlorophyll (a + b) content reduced, especially at 2A degrees C, while anthocyanin and flavonoid contents increased to a greater extent in Gok double dagger e and carotenoid content of the cultivars did not change. Malondialdehyde (MDA) content was higher for CanA +/- tez 87, mostly at 2A degrees C, while proline accumulation was greater for Gok double dagger e. The cold-acclimation period led to a remarkable increase in antioxidant enzyme activities of both cultivars. The superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was much higher in Gok double dagger e for both chilling temperatures and the ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity increased only in the cold-acclimated 4A degrees C treatments. Similarly, with APX activity, the glutathione reductase (GR) and peroxidase (POD) activities of cultivars were higher in cold-acclimated plants at both the chilling temperatures, mostly in Gok double dagger e. The results of this study indicate that cold-acclimation increased the cultivars ability to withstand the chilling temperatures. The lower MDA content and higher antioxidant and photochemical activities in Gok double dagger e indicated an enhanced chilling tolerance capacity of this cultivar to protect the plant from oxidative damage.