But it would seem that some divinely ordered fortune in the revolution of affairs, which was putting an end at this time to the freedom of the Greeks, opposed their efforts, and showed forth many signs of what was to come. Among these were the dire prophecies which the Pythian priestess made known, and an ancient oracle which was recited from the Sibylline books:—
From the battle on Thermodon may I be far removed,
To behold it like an eagle in clouds and upper air.
Tears are for the conquered there, and for the conqueror, death.
Now, the Thermodon, they say, is in my native territory, in Chaeroneia, being a little river which empties into the Cephisus. But I know of no river bearing this name at the present time; I conjecture, however, that the stream now called Haemon then bore the name of Thermodon. For it flows past the Heracleum, where the Greeks had their camp; and I judge that after the battle the river was filled with blood and corpses and therefore received its present name in exchange1
Duris, however, says that this Thermodon was not a river, but that some soldiers who were pitching a tent and digging a trench about it, found a small stone figure, an inscription upon which signified that it was Thermodon,2
carrying in its arms a wounded Amazon. They say also that in reference to this another oracle is recited as follows:—
For the battle on Thermodon wait thou, all-black bird;
There thou shalt have in abundance the flesh of men.