During these transactions, Antiochus was at Chalcis; and now, perceiving that he had gained nothing from Greece agreeable, except winter quarters and a disgraceful marriage at Chalcis, he warmly blamed Thoas, and the fallacious promises of the Aetolians;
while he admired Hannibal, not only as a prudent man, but as the predicter of all those events which were then transpiring.
However, that he might not still further defeat his inconsiderate enterprise by his own inactivity, he sent requisitions to the Aetolians, to arm all their young men, and assemble in a body at Lamia. He himself also immediately led thither about ten thousand foot (the number having been filled up out of the troops which had come after him from Asia) and five hundred horse.
Their assembly on this occasion was far less numerous than ever before, none attending but the chiefs with a few of their vassals. These affirmed that they had, with the utmost diligence, tried every method to bring into the field as great a number as possible out of their respective states, but that they had not prevailed either by argument, persuasion, or authority, against those who declined the service.
Being disappointed thus on all sides, both by his own people, who delayed in Asia, and by his allies, who did not fulfil those engagements by which they had prevailed on him to comply with
their invitation, the king retired beyond the pass of Thermopylae. A range of mountains here divides Greece in the same manner as Italy is divided by the ridge of the Apennines.
Outside the strait of Thermopylae, towards the north, lie Epirus, Perrhaebia, Magnesia, Thessaly, the Achaean Phthiotis, and the Malian bay;
on the inside, towards the south, the greater part of Aetolia, Acarnania, Phocis, Locris, Bœotia, and the adjacent island of Eubœa, the territory of Attica, which stretches out like a promontory into the sea, and, behind that, the Peloponnesus.
This range of mountains, [p. 1625]
which extends from Leucas and the sea on the west, through Aetolia to the opposite sea on the east, is so closely covered with thickets and craggy rocks, that, not to speak of an army, even persons lightly equipped for travelling can with difficulty find paths through which they can pass.
The hills at the eastern extremity are called Œta, and the highest of them Callidromus; in a valley, at the foot of which, reaching to the Malian bay, is a passage not broader than sixty paces. This is the only military road by which an army can be led, even if it should not be opposed.
The place is therefore called Pyle, the gate; and by some, on account of a warm spring, rising just at the entrance of it, Thermopyle.
It is rendered famous by the memorable battle of the Lacedaemonians against the Persians, and by their still more glorious death.