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When they had come to the Isthmus, the Greeks, taking into account what was said by Alexander, deliberated as a body how and where they should stand to fight. It was decided that they should guard the pass of Thermopylae, for they saw that it was narrower than the pass into Thessaly and nearer home. The pass, then, which brought about the fall of those Greeks who fell at Thermopylae, was unknown to them until they came to Thermopylae and learned of it from the men of Trachis. This pass they were resolved to guard and so stay the barbarian's passage into Hellas, while their fleet should sail to Artemisium in the territory of Histiaea. These places are near to each other, and each force could therefore be informed of the other's doings. As for the places themselves, their nature is as follows.
Artemisium is where the wide Thracian sea contracts until the passage between the island of Sciathus and the mainland of Magnesia is but narrow. This strait leads next to Artemisium, which is a beach on the coast of Euboea, on which stands a temple of Artemis. The pass through Trachis into HellasHellas in the narrower sense, not including Thessaly. is fifty feet wide at its narrowest point. It is not here, however, but elsewhere that the way is narrowest, namely, in front of Thermopylae and behind it; at Alpeni, which lies behind, it is only the breadth of a cart-way, and it is the same at the Phoenix stream, near the town of Anthele. To the westHerodotus' points of the compass are wrong throughout in his description of Thermopylae; the road runs east and west, not north and south as he supposes; so “west” here should be “south” and “east” “north.” “In front” and “behind” are equivalent to “west” and “east” respectively. of Thermopylae rises a high mountain,
These were Xerxes' actions in Thessaly and Achaea. From here he came into Malis along a gulf of the sea, in which the tide ebbs and flows daily.Tidal movement is rare in the Mediterranean. But there is a strong ebb and flood in the Euripus, which is not far from the Malian gulf. There is low-lying ground about this gulf, sometimes wide and sometimes very narrow, and around it stand high and inaccessible mountains which enclose the whole of Malis and are called the Rocks of Trachis. Now the first town by the gulf on the way from Achaea is Anticyra, near to which the river Spercheus flows from the country of the Enieni and issues into the sea. About twenty furlongs from that river is another named Dyras, which is said to have risen from the ground to aid Heracles against the fire that consumed him and twenty furlongs again from that there is another river called the Black river.
The town of Trachis is five furlongs away from this Black river. Here is the greatest distance in all this region between the sea and the hills on which Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains whichhich Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains which hem in the Trachinian land there is a ravine to the south of Trachis, through which the river Asopus flows past the lower slopes of the mountains. hich Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains which hem in the Trachinian land there is a ravine to the south of Trachis, through which the river Asopus flows past the lower slopes of the mountains.
King Xerxes lay encamped in Trachis in Malis and the Hellenes in the pass.In the space between the eastern and western narrow e)/sodoi. This place is called Thermopylae by most of the Hellenes, but by the natives and their neighbors Pylae.“the Gates”, since it served as the entrance into Greece from the north. Thermopylae means “the Hot Gates”, from the warm springs there. Each lay encamped in these places. Xerxes was master of everything to the northWest, properly speaking; “southward” below narrow e)/sodoi. This place is called Thermopylae by most of the Hellenes, but by the natives and their neighbors Pylae.“the Gates”, since it served as the entrance into Greece from the north. Thermopylae means “the Hot Gates”, from the warm springs there. Each lay encamped in these places. Xerxes was master of everything to the northWest, properly speaking; “southward” below should be “eastward.” from Trachis, and the Hellenes of all that lay toward the south on the
In addition, the Opuntian Locrians in full force and one thousand Phocians came at the summons. The Hellenes had called upon them through messengers who told them that this was only the advance guard, that the rest of the allies were expected any day now, and that the sea was being watched, with the Athenians and Aeginetans and all those enrolled in the fleet on guard. There was nothing for them to be afraid of. The invader of Hellas was not a god but a human being, and there was not, and never would be, any mortal on whom some amount of evil was not bestowed at birth, with the greatest men receiving the largest share. The one marching against them was certain to fall from pride, since he was a mortal. When they heard this, the Locrians and Phocians marched to Trachis to help.
While the Greeks were doing as I have said, there came to them their lookout from Trachis. There was a scout at Artemisium, one Polyas, a native of Anticyra, who was charged (and had a rowing boat standing ready for it), if the fleet should suffer a reverse to declare it to the men at Thermopylae. Similarly, if any ill should befall the land army, Abronichus son of Lysicles, an Athenian, was with Leonidas, ready for his part to bring the news in a thirty-oared bark to the Greeks at Artemisium. So this Abronichus came and declared to them the fate of Leonidas and his army. When the Greeks learned this, they no longer delayed their departure but went their ways in their appointed order, the Corinthians first and last of all the Athenians.
When this answer was returned to them, the Thessalians in their wrath against the Phocians began to guide the barbarian on his march. From the lands of Trachis they broke into Doris; there is a narrow tongue of Dorian land stretching that way, about thirty furlongs wide, between the Malian territory and the Phocian, which in old time was Dryopian. This region is the motherland of the Dorians of the Peloponnese. To this Dorian territory the barbarians did no harm at their invasion, for the people took the Persian side, and the Thessalians would not have them harmed.
When those stationed with Xerxes' fleet had been to see the Laconian disaster at Thermopylae, they crossed over from Trachis to Histiaea, waited three days, and then sailed through the Euripus, and in three more days they were at Phalerum, the port of Athens. I think no less a number invaded Athens by land and sea than came to Sepias and Thermopylae. Those killed by the storm, at Thermopylae, and in the naval battles at Artemisium, I offset with those who did not yet follow the king: the Melians and Dorians and Locrians and the whole force of Boeotia except the Thespians and Plataeans; and the Carystians and Andrians and Teneans and all the rest of the islanders, except the five cities whose names I previously mentioned. The farther into Hellas the Persian advanced, the more nations followed him.