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MALIS ( Μαλὶς γῆ; Μηλίς Hdt. 7.198: Eth. Μαλιεύς Μηλιεύς), a small district of Greece, at the head of the Maliac gulf, surrounded on all sides by mountains, and open only in the direction of the sea. The river Spercheius flowed through it. The limits of Malis are fixed by the description of Herodotus. It extended a little north of the valley of the Spercheius to the narrowest part of the straits of Thermopylae. Anticyra was the northernmost town of the Malians (Hdt. 7.198); the boundary passed between Lamia and Anticyra. Anthela was their southern-most town (7.176, 200). Inland, the Anopaea, the path over Mount Oeta, by which the Persians turned the army of Leonidas, in part divided the territory of the Trachinian Malians from that of the Oetaeans (7.217). A more particular description of the locality is given under THERMOPYLAE According to Stephanus B. (s. v. Μαλιεύς), the Malians derived their name from a town Malieus, not mentioned by any other ancient author, said to have been founded by Malus, the son of Amphictyon. The Malians were reckoned among the Thessalians; but although tributary to the latter, they were genuine Hellenes, and were from the earliest times members of the Amphicytonic council. They were probably Dorians, and were always in close connection with the acknowledged Doric states. Hercules, the great Doric hero, is represented as the friend of Ceyx of Trachis, and Mount Oeta was the scene of the hero's death. Diodorus (12.59) even speaks of Trachis as the mother-town of Lacedaemon. When the Trachinians were hard pressed by their Oetaean neighbours, about the commencement of the Peloponnesian War, they applied for assistance to the Spartans, who founded in consequence the colony of Heracleia near Trachis. (Thuc. 3.92.)

Scylax (p. 24), who is followed by Diodorus (18.11), distinguishes between the Μηλιεῖς and Μαλιεῖς, the former extending along the northern coast of the Maliac gulf from Lamia to Echinus; but, as no other writer mentions these towns as belonging to the Lamians, we ought probably to read Δαμιεῖς, as K. O. Müller observes. Thucydides mentions three divisions (μέρη) of the Malians, called Paralii (Παράλιοι), Priests (Ἱερῆς), and Trachinii (Τραχίνιοι). Who the Priests were is a matter only of conjecture: Grote supposes that they may have been possessors of the sacred spot on which the Amphictyonic meetings were held; while Leake imagines that they were the inhabitants of the Sacred City (ἱερὸν ἅστυ), to which, according to Callimachus (Call. Del. 287), the Hyperborean offerings were sent from Dodona on their way to Delus, and that this Sacred City was the city Oeta mentioned by Stephanus B. The names of the Paralii and Trachinii sufficiently indicate their position. The Malians admitted every man to a share in the government, who either had served or was serving as a Hoplite (Aristot. Pol. 4.10.10). In war they were chiefly famous as slingers and darters. (Thuc. 4.100.)

TRACHIS was the principal town of the Malians. There were also ANTICYRA and ANTHELA on the coast; and others, of which the names only are preserved, such as COLACEIA (Theopom. ap. Athen. 6.254f.), AEGONEIA (Lycophr. 903; Steph. B. sub voce and IRUS (Schol. in Lycophr. l.c.; Steph. B. sub voce. (Muller, Dorians, vol. i. p. 50; Grote, Greece, vol. ii. p. 378; Leake, Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 20.)

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