On the eastern coast of Greece, just north of Thermopylae,
The home of Philoctetes
1 The Homeric Catalogue includes this district in Phthia, the realm of Achilles (Il. 2. 682). It assigns Philoctetes to a more northerly part of Thessaly,—viz., the narrow and mountainous strip of coast, N. and E. of the Pagasaean Gulf, which was known in historical times as Magnesia. His four towns were Methonè, Thaumacia, Meliboea and Olizon. ( Il. 2. 716 f.) This agrees with the fact that Poeas, the father of Philoctetes, was called the son of Thaumacus, and was numbered among the Argonauts who sailed from Iolcus ( Apollod. 1. 9. 16). In its original form, the story of Poeas and his son must have belonged, like that of Jason, to the legends of the Minyae who dwelt on the eastern coasts of Thessaly. Cp. Anthol. append. 61 (vol. II. p. 754 ed. Jacobs): “τόξων Ἡρακλέους ταμίην, Ποιάντιον υἱόν, ἥδε Φιλοκτήτην γῆ Μινυὰς κατέχει”. It was when the myth became interwoven with the apotheosis of Heracles that the home of Poeas was transferred to the country around Trachis.
2 The Dyras was said to have first started from the ground in order to relieve the fiery pangs of Heracles ( Her. 7. 198). In a vase-painting noticed below (n. on v. 728, p. 121, 1st col.), the Nymph who seeks to quench the pyre probably symbolises this stream. The ancient mouth of the Spercheius was some miles N. W. of Thermopylae; the present mouths are a little E.N. E. of it, and the line of the coast has been considerably advanced, so that there is no longer a narrow pass. The Asopus, Melas and Dyras formerly had separate courses to the sea. They are now mere affluents of the Spercheius,—the Melas and Dyras uniting before they reach it.
4 Manius Acilius Glabrio, after taking Heracleia near Trachis, in the war with Antiochus (191 B.C.). Livy 36. 30: ipse Oetam ascendit, Herculique sacrificium fecit in eo loco quem Pyram, quod ibi mortale corpus eius dei sit crematum, appellant. Cp. Silius Italicus 6. 452: Vixdum clara dies summa lustrabat in Oeta | Herculei monimenta rogi.—The name Pyra seems to have been usually associated with a height about eight miles W.N.W. of Trachis.