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Boeotia borders on Attica at several places, one of which is where Plataea touches Eleutherae. The Boeotians as a race got their name from Boeotus, who, legend says, was the son of Itonus and the nymph Melanippe, and Itonus was the son of Amphictyon. The cities are called in some cases after men, but in most after women. The Plataeans were originally, in my opinion, sprung from the soil; their name comes from Plataea, whom they consider to be a daughter of the river Asopus.

[2] It is clear that the Plataeans too were of old ruled by kings; for everywhere in Greece in ancient times, kingship and not democracy was the established form of government. But the Plataeans know of no king except Asopus and Cithaeron before him, holding that the latter gave his name to the mountain, the former to the river. I think that Plataea also, after whom the city is named, was a daughter of King Asopus, and not of the river.


Before the battle that the Athenians fought at Marathon, the Plataeans had no claim to renown. But they were present at the battle of Marathon, and later, when Xerxes came down to the sea, they bravely manned the fleet with the Athenians, and defended themselves in their own country against the general of Xerxes, Mardonius, the son of Gobryas. Twice it was their fate to be driven from their homes and to be taken back to Boeotia.

[4] For in the war between the Peloponnesians and Athens, the Lacedaemonians reduced Plataea by siege, but it was restored1 during the peace made by the Spartan Antalcidas between the Persians and the Greeks, and the Plataeans returned from Athens. But a second disaster was destined to befall them. There was no open war between Plataea and Thebes; in fact the Plataeans declared that the peace with them still held, because when the Lacedaemonians seized the Cadmeia they had no part either in the plan or in the performance.

[5] But the Thebans maintained that as the Lacedaemonians had themselves made the peace and then broken it, all alike, in their view, were freed from its terms. The Plataeans, therefore, looked upon the attitude of the Thebans with suspicion, and maintained strict watch over their city. They did not go either daily to the fields at some distance from the city, but, knowing that the Thebans were wont to conduct their assemblies with every voter present, and at the same time to prolong their discussions, they waited for their assemblies to be called, and then, even those whose farms lay farthest away, looked after their lands at their leisure.

[6] But Neocles, who was at the time Boeotarch at Thebes, not being unaware of the Plataean trick, proclaimed that every Theban should attend the assembly armed, and at once proceeded to lead them, not by the direct way from Thebes across the plain, but along the road to Hysiae in the direction of Eleutherae and Attica, where not even a scout had been placed by the Plataeans, being due to reach the walls about noon.

[7] The Plataeans, thinking that the Thebans were holding an assembly, were afield and cut off from their gates. With those caught within the city the Thebans came to terms, allowing them to depart before sundown, the men with one garment each, the women with two. What happened to the Plataeans on this occasion was the reverse of what happened to them formerly when they were taken by the Lacedaemonians under Archidamus. For the Lacedaemonians reduced them by preventing them from getting out of the city, building a double line of circumvallation; the Thebans on this occasion by preventing them from getting within their walls.

[8] The second capture of Plataea occurred two years before the battle of Leuctra,2 when Asteius was Archon at Athens. The Thebans destroyed all the city except the sanctuaries, but the method of its capture saved the lives of all the Plataeans alike, and on their expulsion they were again received by the Athenians. When Philip after his victory at Chaeroneia introduced a garrison into Thebes, one of the means he employed to bring the Thebans low was to restore the Plataeans to their homes.


On Mount Cithaeron, within the territory of Plataea, if you turn off to the right for a little way from the straight road, you reach the ruins of Hysiae and Erythrae. Once they were cities of Boeotia, and even at the present day among the ruins of Hysiae are a half-finished temple of Apollo and a sacred well. According to the Boeotian story oracles were obtained of old from the well by drinking of it.

[2] Returning to the highway you again see on the right a tomb, said to be that of Mardonius. It is agreed that the body of Mardonius was not seen again after the battle, but there is not a similar agreement as to the person who gave it burial. It is admitted that Artontes, son of Mardonius, gave many gifts to Dionysophanes the Ephesian, but also that he gave them to others of the Ionians, in recognition that they too had spent some pains on the burial of Mardonius.


This road leads to Plataea from Eleutherae. On the road from Megara there is a spring on the right, and a little farther on a rock. It is called the bed of Actaeon, for it is said that he slept thereon when weary with hunting, and that into this spring he looked while Artemis was bathing in it. Stesichorus of Himera says that the goddess cast a deer-skin round Actaeon to make sure that his hounds would kill him, so as to prevent his taking Semele to wife.

[4] My own view is that without divine interference the hounds of Actaeon were smitten with madness, and so they were sure to tear to pieces without distinction everybody they chanced to meet. Whereabouts on Cithaeron the disaster befell Pentheus, the son of Echion, or where Oedipus was exposed at birth, nobody knows with the assurance with which we know the Cleft Road to Phocis, where Oedipus killed his father (Mount Cithaeron is sacred to Cithaeronian Zeus), as I shall tell of3 at greater length when this place in my story has been reached.


Roughly at the entrance into Plataea are the graves of those who fought against the Persians. Of the Greeks generally there is a common tomb, but the Lacedaemonians and Athenians who fell have separate graves, on which are written elegiac verses by Simonides. Not far from the common tomb of the Greeks is an altar of Zeus, God of Freedom.

This then is of bronze, but the altar and the image he made of white marble.

[6] Even at the present day they hold every four years games called Eleutheria (Of Freedom), in which great prizes are offered for running. The competitors run in armour before the altar. The trophy which the Greeks set up for the battle at Plataea stands about fifteen stades from the city.


Advancing in the city itself from the altar and the image which have been made to Zeus of Freedom, you come to a hero-shrine of Plataea. The legends about her, and my own conjectures, I have already4 stated. There is at Plataea a temple of Hera, worth seeing for its size and for the beauty of its images. On entering you see Rhea carrying to Cronus the stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, as though it were the babe to which she had given birth. The Hera they call Full-grown; it is an upright image of huge size. Both figures are of Pentelic marble, and the artist was Praxiteles.

Here too is another image of Hera; it is seated, and was made by Callimachus. The goddess they call the Bride for the following reason.


Hera, they say, was for some reason or other angry with Zeus, and had retreated to Euboea. Zeus, failing to make her change her mind, visited Cithaeron, at that time despot in Plataea, who surpassed all men for his cleverness. So he ordered Zeus to make an image of wood, and to carry it, wrapped up, in a bullock wagon, and to say that he was celebrating his marriage with Plataea, the daughter of Asopus.

[2] So Zeus followed the advice of Cithaeron. Hera heard the news at once, and at once appeared on the scene. But when she came near the wagon and tore away the dress from the image, she was pleased at the deceit, on finding it a wooden image and not a bride, and was reconciled to Zeus. To commemorate this reconciliation they celebrate a festival called Daedala, because the men of old time gave the name of daedala to wooden images. My own view is that this name was given to wooden images before Daedalus, the son of Palamaon, was born at Athens, and that he did not receive this name at birth, but that it was a surname afterwards given him from the daedala.

[3] So the Plataeans hold the festival of the Daedala every six years, according to the local guide, but really at a shorter interval. I wanted very much to calculate exactly the interval between one Daedala and the next, but I was unable to do so. In this way they celebrate the feast.

[4] Not far from Alalcomenae is a grove of oaks. Here the trunks of the oaks are the largest in Boeotia. To this grove come the Plataeans, and lay out portions of boiled flesh. They keep a strict watch on the crows which flock to them, but they are not troubled at all about the other birds. They mark carefully the tree on which a crow settles with the meat he has seized. They cut down the trunk of the tree on which the crow has settled, and make of it the daedalum; for this is the name that they give to the wooden image also.

[5] This feast the Plataeans celebrate by themselves, calling it the Little Daedala, but the Great Daedala, which is shared with them by the Boeotians, is a festival held at intervals of fifty-nine years, for that is the period during which, they say, the festival could not be held, as the Plataeans were in exile. There are fourteen wooden images ready, having been provided each year at the Little Daedala.

[6] Lots are cast for them by the Plataeans, Coronaeans, Thespians, Tanagraeans, Chaeroneans, Orchomenians, Lebadeans, and Thebans; for at the time when Cassander, the son of Antipater, rebuilt Thebes, the Thebans wished to be reconciled with the Plataeans, to share in the common assembly, and to send a sacrifice to the Daedala. The towns of less account pool their funds for images.

[7] Bringing the image to the Asopus, and setting it upon a wagon, they place a bridesmaid also on the wagon. They again cast lots for the position they are to hold in the procession. After this they drive the wagons from the river to the summit of Cithaeron. On the peak of the mountain an altar has been prepared, which they make after the following way. They fit together quadrangular pieces of wood, putting them together just as if they were making a stone building, and having raised it to a height they place brushwood upon the altar.

[8] The cities with their magistrates sacrifice severally a cow to Hera and a bull to Zeus, burning on the altar the victims, full of wine and incense, along with the daedala. Rich people, as individuals, sacrifice what they wish; but the less wealthy sacrifice the smaller cattle; all the victims alike are burned. The fire seizes the altar and the victims as well, and consumes them all together. I know of no blaze that is so high, or seen so far as this.

[9] About fifteen stades below the peak, on which they make the altar, is a cave of the Cithaeronian nymphs. It is named Sphragidium, and the story is that of old the nymphs gave oracles in this place.


The Plataeans have also a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Warlike; it was built from the spoils given them by the Athenians as their share from the battle of Marathon. It is a wooden image gilded, but the face, hands and feet are of Pentelic marble. In size it is but little smaller than the bronze Athena on the Acropolis, the one which the Athenians also erected as first-fruits of the battle at Marathon; the Plataeans too had Pheidias for the maker of their image of Athena.

[2] In the temple are paintings: one of them, by Polygnotus, represents Odysseus after he has killed the wooers; the other, painted by Onasias, is the former expedition of the Argives, under Adrastus, against Thebes. These paintings are on the walls of the fore-temple, while at the feet of the image is a portrait of Arimnestus, who commanded the Plataeans at the battle against Mardonius, and yet before that at Marathon.


There is also at Plataea a sanctuary of Demeter, surnamed Eleusinian, and a tomb of Leitus, who was the only one to return home of the chiefs who led Boeotians to Troy. The spring Gargaphia was filled in by the Persian cavalry under Mardonius, because the Greek army encamped against them got therefrom their drinking-water. Afterwards, however, the Plataeans recovered the water.


On the road from Plataea to Thebes is the river Oeroe, said to have been a daughter of the Asopus. Before crossing the Asopus, if you turn aside to lower ground in a direction parallel to the river, after about forty stades you come to the ruins of Scolus. The temple of Demeter and the Maid among the ruins is not finished, and only half-finished are the images of the goddesses. Even to-day the Asopus is the boundary between Thebes and Plataea.


The first to occupy the land of Thebes are said to have been the Ectenes, whose king was Ogygus, an aboriginal. From his name is derived Ogygian, which is an epithet of Thebes used by most of the poets. The Ectenes perished, they say, by pestilence, and after them there settled in the land the Hyantes and the Aones, who I think were Boeotian tribes and not foreigners.

[2] When the Phoenician army under Cadmus invaded the land these tribes were defeated; the Hyantes fled from the land when night came, but the Aones begged for mercy, and were allowed by Cadmus to remain and unite with the Phoenicians. The Aones still lived in village communities, but Cadmus built the city which even at the present day is called Cadmeia. Afterwards the city grew, and so the Cadmeia became the citadel of the lower city of Thebes. Cadmus made a brilliant marriage, if, as the Greek legend says, he indeed took to wife a daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. His daughters too have made him a name; Semele was famed for having a child by Zeus, Ino for being a divinity of the sea.

[3] In the time of Cadmus, the greatest power, next after his, was in the hands of the Sparti, namely, Chthonius, Hyperenor, Pelorus and Udaeus; but it was Echion who, for his great valor, was preferred by Cadmus to be his son-in-law. As I was unable to discover anything new about these men, I adopt the story that makes their name result from the way in which they came into being. When Cadnius migrated to the Illyrian tribe of the Encheleans, Polydorus his son got the kingdom.

[4] Now Pentheus the son of Echion was also powerful by reason of his noble birth and friendship with the king. Being a man of insolent character who had shown impiety to Dionysus, he was punished by the god. Polydorus had a son, Labdacus. When Polydorus was about to die, Labdacus was still a child, and so he was entrusted, along with the government, to the care of Nycteus.

[5] The sequel of this story, how Nycteus died, and how the care of the boy with the sovereignty of Thebes devolved on Lycus, the brother of Nycteus, I have already set forth in my account of Sicyon.5 When Labdacus grew up, Lycus handed over to him the reins of government; but Labdacus too died shortly afterwards, and Lycus again became guardian, this time to Laius, the son of Labdacus.


While Lycus was regent for the second time, Amphion and Zethus gathered a force and came back to Thebes. Laius was secretly removed by such as were anxious that the race of Cadmus should not be forgotten by posterity, and Lycus was overcome in the fighting by the sons of Antiope. When they succeeded to the throne they added the lower city to the Cadmeia, giving it, because of their kinship to Thebe, the name of Thebes.

[7] What I have said is confirmed by what Homer says in the Odyssey:“Who first laid the foundation of seven-gated Thebe,
And built towers about it, for without towers they could not
Dwell in wide-wayed Thebe, in spite of their strength.
Hom. Od. 11.263Homer, however, makes no mention in his poetry of Amphion's singing, and how he built the wall to the music of his harp. Amphion won fame for his music, learning from the Lydians themselves the Lydian mode, because of his relationship to Tantalus, and adding three strings to the four old ones.

[8] The writer of the poem on Europa says that Amphion was the first harpist, and that Hermes was his teacher. He also says that Amphion's songs drew even stones and beasts after him. Myro of Byzantium, a poetess who wrote epic and elegiac poetry, states that Amphion was the first to set up an altar to Hermes, and for this reason was presented by him with a harp. It is also said that Amphion is punished in Hades for being among those who made a mock of Leto and her children.

[9] The punishment of Amphion is dealt with in the epic poem Minyad, which treats both of Amphion and also of Thamyris of Thrace. The houses of both Amphion and Zethus were visited by bereavement; Amphion's was left desolate by plague, and the son of Zethus was killed through some mistake or other of his mother. Zethus himself died of a broken heart, and so Laius was restored by the Thebans to the kingdom.


When Laius was king and married to Iocasta, an oracle came from Delphi that, if Iocasta bore a child, Laius would meet his death at his son's hands. Whereupon Oedipus was exposed, who was fated when he grew up to kill his father; he also married his mother. But I do not think that he had children by her; my witness is Homer, who says in the Odyssey:—

[11] “And I saw the mother of Oedipodes, fair Epicaste,
Who wrought a dreadful deed unwittingly,
Marrying her son, who slew his father and
Wedded her. But forthwith the gods made it known among men.
Hom. Od. 11.271How could they “have made it known forthwith,” if Epicaste had borne four children to Oedipus? But the mother of these children was Euryganeia, daughter of Hyperphas. Among the proofs of this are the words of the author of the poem called the Oedipodia; and moreover, Onasias painted a picture at Plataea of Euryganeia bowed with grief because of the fight between her children.

[12] Polyneices retired from Thebes while Oedipus was still alive and reigning, in fear lest the curses of the father should be brought to pass upon the sons. He went to Argos and married a daughter of Adrastus, but returned to Thebes, being fetched by Eteocles after the death of Oedipus. On his return he quarrelled with Eteocles, and so went into exile a second time. He begged Adrastus to give him a force to effect his return, but lost his army and fought a duel with Eteocles as the result of a challenge.

[13] Both fell in the duel, and the kingdom devolved on Laodamas, son of Eteocles; Creon, the son of Menoeceus, was in power as regent and guardian of Laodamas. When the latter had grown up and held the kingship, the Argives led their army for the second time against Thebes. The Thebans encamped over against them at Glisas. When they joined in battle, Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus, was killed by Laodamas but the Argives were victorious in the fight, and Laodamas, with any Theban willing to accompany him, withdrew when night came to Illyria.

[14] The Argives captured Thebes and handed it over to Thersander, son of Polyneices. When the expedition under Agamemnon against Troy mistook its course and the reverse in Mysia occurred, Thersander too met his death at the hands of Telephus. He had shown himself the bravest Greek at the battle; his tomb, the stone in the open part of the market-place, is in the city Elaea on the way to the plain of the Caicus, and the natives say that they sacrifice to him as to a hero.

[15] On the death of Thersander, when a second expedition was being mustered to fight Alexander at Troy, Peneleos was chosen to command it, because Tisamenus, the son of Thersander, was not yet old enough. When Peneleos was killed by Eurypylus, the son of Telephus, Tisamenus was chosen king, who was the son of Thersander and of Demonassa, the daughter of Amphiaraus. The Furies of Laius and Oedipus did not vent their wrath on Tisamenus, but they did on his son Autesion, so that, at the bidding of the oracle, he migrated to the Dorians.

[16] On the departure of Autesion, Damasichthon was chosen to be king, who was a son of Opheltes, the son of Peneleos. This Damasichthon had a son Ptolemy, who was the father of Xanthus. Xanthus fought a duel with Andropompus, who killed him by craft and not in fair fight. Hereafter the Thebans thought it better to entrust the government to several people, rather than to let everything depend on one man.


Of the successes and failures of the Thebans in battle I found the most famous to be the following. They were overcome in battle by the Athenians, who had come to the aid of the Plataeans, when a war had arisen about the boundaries of their territory. They met with a second disaster when arrayed against the Athenians at Plataea,6 at the time when they are considered to have chosen the cause of King Xerxes rather than that of Greece.

[2] The Theban people are in no way responsible for this choice, as at that time an oligarchy was in power at Thebes and not their ancestral form of government. In the same way, if it had been while Peisistratus or his sons still held Athens under a despotism that the foreigner had invaded Greece, the Athenians too would certainly have been accused of favouring Persia.

[3] Afterwards, however, the Thebans won a victory over the Athenians at Delium in the territory of Tanagra,7 where the Athenian general Hippocrates, son of Ariphron, perished with the greater part of the army. During the period that began with the departure of the Persians and ended with the war between Athens and the Peloponnesus, the relations between Thebes and the Lacedaemonians were friendly. But when the war was fought out and the Athenian navy destroyed, after a brief interval Thebes along with Corinth was involved in the war with Lacedaemon.8

[4] Overcome in battle at Corinth and Coroncia, they won on the other hand at Leuctra the most famous victory we know of gained by Greeks over Greeks. They put down the boards of ten, which the Lacedaemonians had set up in the cities, and drove out the Spartan governors. Afterwards they also waged for ten years consecutively the Phocian war, called by the Greeks the Sacred war.

[5] I have already said in my history of Attica9 that the defeat at Chaeroneia was a disaster for all the Greeks; but it was even more so for the Thebans, as a garrison was brought into their city. When Philip died, and the kingship of Macedonia devolved on Alexander, the Thebans succeeded in destroying the garrison. But as soon as they had done so, heaven warned them of the destruction that was coming on them, and the signs that occurred in the sanctuary of Demeter Lawgiver were the opposite of those that occurred before the action at Leuctra.

[6] For then spiders spun a white web over the door of the sanctuary, but on the approach of Alexander with his Macedonians the web was black. It is also said that there was a shower of ashes at Athens the year before the war waged against them by Sulla, which brought on them such great sufferings.


On this occasion the Thebans were removed from their homes by Alexander, and straggled to Athens; afterwards they were restored by Cassander, son of Antipater. Heartiest in their support of the restoration of Thebes were the Athenians, and they were helped by Messenians and the Arcadians of Megalopolis.

[2] My own view is that in building Thebes Cassander was mainly influenced by hatred of Alexander. He destroyed the whole house of Alexander to the bitter end. Olympias he threw to the exasperated Macedonians to be stoned to death; and the sons of Alexander, Heracles by Barsina and Alexander by Roxana, he killed by poison. But he himself was not to come to a good end. He was filled with dropsy, and from the dropsy came worms while he was yet alive.

[3] Philip, the eldest of his sons, shortly after coming to the throne was seized by a wasting disease which proved fatal. Antipater, the next son, murdered his mother Thessalonice, the daughter of Philip, son of Amyntas, and of Nicasipolis, charging her with being too fond of Alexander, who was the youngest of Cassander's sons. Getting the support of Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, he deposed with his help and punished his brother Antipater. However, it appeared that in Demetrius he found a murderer and not an ally.

[4] So some god was to exact from Cassander a just requital. In the time of Cassander all the ancient circuit of the Theban walls was rebuilt, but fate after all willed that afterwards the Thebans were again to taste the cup of great misfortune. For when Mithridates had begun the war with the Romans, he was joined by the Thebans, for no other reason, in my opinion, except their friendship for the Athenian people. But when Sulla invaded Boeotia, terror seized the Thebans; they at once changed sides, and sought the friendship of the Romans.

[5] Sulla nevertheless was angry with them, and among his plans to humble them was to cut away one half of their territory. His pretext was as follows. When he began the war against Mithridates, he was short of funds. So he collected offerings from Olympia, those at Epidaurus, and all those at Delphi that had been left by the Phocians.

[6] These he divided among his soldiery, and repaid the gods with half of the Theban territory. Although by favour of the Romans the Thebans afterwards recovered the land of which they had been deprived, yet from this point they sank into the greatest depths of weakness. The lower city of Thebes is all deserted to-day, except the sanctuaries, and the people live on the citadel, which they call Thebes and not Cadmeia.


Across the Asopus, about ten stades distant from the city, are the ruins of Potniae, in which is a grove of Demeter and the Maid. The images at the river that flows past Potniae. . . they name the goddesses. At an appointed time they perform their accustomed ritual, one part of which is to let loose young pigs into what are called “the halls.” At the same time next year these pigs appear, they say, in Dodona. This story others can believe if they wish.

[2] Here there is also a temple of Dionysus Goat-shooter. For once, when they were sacrificing to the god, they grew so violent with wine that they actually killed the priest of Dionysus. Immediately after the murder they were visited by a pestilence, and the Delphic oracle said that to cure it they must sacrifice a boy in the bloom of youth. A few years afterwards, so they say, the god substituted a goat as a victim in place of their boy. In Potniae is also shown a well. The mares of the country are said on drinking this water to become mad.


On the way from Potniae to Thebes there is on the right of the road a small enclosure with pillars in it. Here they think the earth opened to receive Amphiaraus, and they add further that neither do birds sit upon these pillars, nor will a beast, tame or wild, graze on the grass that grows here.


In the circuit of the ancient wall of Thebes were gates seven in number, and these remain to-day. One got its name, I learned, from Electra, the sister of Cadmus, and another, the Proetidian, from a native of Thebes. He was Proetus, but I found it difficult to discover his date and lineage. The Neistan gate, they say, got its name for the following reason. The last of the harp's strings they call nete, and Amphion invented it, they say, at this gate. I have also heard that the son of Zethus, the brother of Amphion, was named Neis, and that after him was this gate called.

[5] The Crenaean gate and the Hypsistan they so name for the following reason. . . and by the Hypsistan is a sanctuary of Zeus surnamed Hypsistus (Most High). Next after these gates is the one called Ogygian, and lastly the Homoloid gate. It appeared to me too that the name of the last was the most recent, and that of the Ogygian the most ancient.

[6] The name Homoloid is derived, they say, from the following circumstance. When the Thebans were beaten in battle by the Argives near Glisas, most of them withdrew along with Laodamas, the son of Eteocles. A portion of them shrank from the journey to Illyria, and turning aside to Thessaly they seized Homole, the most fertile and best-watered of the Thessalian mountains.

[7] When they were recalled to their homes by Thersander, the son of Polyneices, they called the gate, through which they passed on their return, the Homoloid gate after Homole. The entry into Thebes from Plataea is by the Electran gate. At this, so they say, Capaneus, the son of Hipponous, was struck by lightning as he was making a more furious attack upon the fortifications.


This war between Argos and Thebes was, in my opinion, the most memorable of all those waged by Greeks against Greeks in what is called the heroic age. In the case of the war between the Eleusinians and the rest of the Athenians, and likewise in that between the Thebans and the Minyans, the attackers had but a short distance through which to pass to the fight, and one battle decided the war, immediately after which hostilities ceased and peace was made.

[2] But the Argive army marched from mid-Peloponnesus to mid-Boeotia, while Adrastus collected his allied forces out of Arcadia and from the Messenians, and likewise mercenaries came to the help of the Thebans from Phocis, and the Phlegyans from the Minyan country. When the battle took place at the Ismenian sanctuary, the Thebans were worsted in the encounter, and after the rout took refuge within their fortifications.

[3] As the Peloponnesians did not know how to assail the walls, and attacked with greater spirit than knowledge, many of them were killed by missiles hurled from the walls by the Thebans, who afterwards sallied forth and overcame the rest while they were in disorder, so that the whole army was destroyed with the exception of Adrastus. But the action was attended by severe losses to the Thebans, and from that time they term a Cadmean victory one that brings destruction to the victors.

[4] A few years afterwards Thebes was attacked by Thersander and those whom the Greeks call Epigoni (Born later). It is clear that they too were accompanied not only by the Argives, Messenians and Arcadians, but also by allies from Corinth and Megara invited to help them. Thebes too was defended by their neighbors, and a battle at Glisas was fiercely contested on both sides.

[5] Some of the Thebans escaped with Laodamas immediately after their defeat; those who remained behind were besieged and taken. About this war an epic poem also was written called the Thebaid. This poem is mentioned by Callinus, who says that the author was Homer, and many good authorities agree with his judgment. With the exception of the Iliad and Odyssey I rate the Thebaid more highly than any other poem.

So much for the war waged by the Argives against the Thebans on account of the sons of Oedipus.


Not far from the gate is a common tomb, where lie all those who met their death when fighting against Alexander and the Macedonians. Hard by they show a place where, it is said, Cadmus (he may believe the story who likes) sowed the teeth of the dragon, which he slew at the fountain, from which teeth men came up out of the earth.


On the right of the gate is a hill sacred to Apollo. Both the hill and the god are called Ismenian, as the river Ismenus Rows by the place. First at the entrance are Athena and Hermes, stone figures and named Pronai (Of the fore-temple). The Hermes is said to have been made by Pheidias, the Athena by Scopas. The temple is built behind. The image is in size equal to that at Branchidae; and does not differ from it at all in shape. Whoever has seen one of these two images, and learnt who was the artist, does not need much skill to discern, when he looks at the other, that it is a work of Canachus. The only difference is that the image at Branchidae is of bronze, while the Ismenian is of cedar-wood.

[3] Here there is a stone, on which, they say, used to sit Manto, the daughter of Teiresias. This stone lies before the entrance, and they still call it Manto's chair. On the right of the temple are statues of women made of stone, said to be portraits of Henioche and Pyrrha, daughters of Creon, who reigned as guardian of Laodamas, the son of Eteocles.

[4] The following custom is, to my knowledge, still carried out in Thebes. A boy of noble family, who is himself both handsome and strong, is chosen priest of Ismenian Apollo for a year. He is called Laurel-bearer, for the boys wear wreaths of laurel leaves. I cannot say for certain whether all alike who have worn the laurel dedicate by custom a bronze tripod to the god; but I do not think that it is the rule for all, because I did not see many votive tripods there. But the wealthier of the boys do certainly dedicate them. Most remarkable both for its age and for the fame of him who dedicated it is a tripod dedicated by Amphitryon for Heracles after he had worn the laurel.


Higher up than the Ismenian sanctuary you may see the fountain which they say is sacred to Ares, and they add that a dragon was posted by Ares as a sentry over the spring. By this fountain is the grave of Caanthus. They say that he was brother to Melia and son to Ocean, and that he was commissioned by his father to seek his sister, who had been carried away. Finding that Apollo had Melia, and being unable to get her from him, he dared to set fire to the precinct of Apollo that is now called the Ismenian sanctuary. The god, according to the Thebans, shot him.

[6] Here then is the tomb of Caanthus. They say that Apollo had sons by Melia, to wit, Tenerus and Ismenus. To Tenerus Apollo gave the art of divination, and from Ismenus the river got its name. Not that the river was nameless before, if indeed it was called Ladon before Ismenus was born to Apollo.


On the left of the gate named Electran are the ruins of a house where they say Amphitryon came to live when exiled from Tiryns because of the death of Electryon; and the chamber of Alcmena is still plainly to be seen among the ruins. They say that it was built for Amphitryon by Trophonius and Agamedes, and that on it was written the following inscription:—“When Amphitryon was about to bring hither his bride
Alcmena, he chose this as a chamber for himself.
Anchasian Trophonius and Agamedes made it.


Such was the inscription that the Thebans say was written here. They show also the tomb of the children of Heracles by Megara. Their account of the death of these is in no way different from that in the poems of Panyassis and of Stesichorus of Himera. But the Thebans add that Heracles in his madness was about to kill Amphitryon as well, but before he could do so he was rendered unconscious by the blow of the stone. Athena, they say, threw at him this stone, which they name Chastiser.

[3] Here are portraits of women in relief, but the figures are by this time rather indistinct. The Thebans call them Witches,10 adding that they were sent by Hera to hinder the birth-pangs of Alcmena. So these kept Alcmena from bringing forth her child. But Historis, the daughter of Teiresias, thought of a trick to deceive the Witches, and she uttered a loud cry of joy in their hearing, that Alcmena had been delivered. So the story goes that the Witches were deceived and went away, and Alcmena brought forth her child.


Here is a sanctuary of Heracles. The image, of white marble, is called Champion, and the Thebans Xenocritus and Eubius were the artists. But the ancient wooden image is thought by the Thebans to be by Daedalus, and the same opinion occurred to me. It was dedicated, they say, by Daedalus himself, as a thank-offering for a benefit. For when he was fleeing from Crete in small vessels which he had made for himself and his son Icarus, he devised for the ships sails, an invention as yet unknown to the men of those times, so as to take advantage of a favorable wind and outsail the oared fleet of Minos. Daedalus himself was saved,

[5] but the ship of Icarus is said to have overturned, as he was a clumsy helmsman. The drowned man was carried ashore by the current to the island, then without a name, that lies off Samos. Heracles came across the body and recognized it, giving it burial where even to-day a small mound still stands to Icarus on a promontory jutting out into the Aegean. After this Icarus are named both the island and the sea around it.

[6] The carvings on the gables at Thebes are by Praxiteles, and include most of what are called the twelve labours. The slaughter of the Stymphalian birds and the cleansing of the land of Elis by Heracles are omitted; in their place is represented the wrestling with Antaeus. Thrasybulus, son of Lycus, and the Athenians who with him put down the tyranny of the Thirty,11 set out from Thebes when they returned to Athens, and therefore they dedicated in the sanctuary of Heracles colossal figures of Athena and Heracles, carved by Alcamenes in relief out of Pentelic marble.


Adjoining the sanctuary of Heracles are a gymnasium and a race-course, both being named after the god. Beyond the Chastiser stone is an altar of Apollo surnamed God of Ashes; it is made out of the ashes of the victims. The customary mode of divination here is from voices, which is used by the Smyrnaeans, to my knowledge, more than by any other Greeks. For at Smyrna also there is a sanctuary of Voices outside the wall and beyond the city.


The Thebans in ancient days used to sacrifice bulls to Apollo of the Ashes. Once when the festival was being held, the hour of the sacrifice was near but those sent to fetch the bull had not arrived. And so, as a wagon happened to be near by, they sacrificed to the god one of the oxen, and ever since it has been the custom to sacrifice working oxen. The following story also is current among the Thebans. As Cadmus was leaving Delphi by the road to Phocis, a cow, it is said, guided him on his way. This cow was one bought from the herdsmen of Pelagon, and on each of her sides was a white mark like the orb of a full moon.

[2] Now the oracle of the god had said that Cadmus and the host with him were to make their dwelling where the cow was going to sink down in weariness. So this is one of the places that they point out. Here there is in the open an altar and an image of Athena, said to have been dedicated by Cadmus. Those who think that the Cadmus who came to the Theban land was an Egyptian, and not a Phoenician, have their opinion contradicted by the name of this Athena, because she is called by the Phoenician name of Onga, and not by the Egyptian name of Sais.

[3] The Thebans assert that on the part of their citadel, where to-day stands their market-place, was in ancient times the house of Cadmus. They point out the ruins of the bridal-chamber of Harmonia, and of one which they say was Semele's into the latter they allow no man to step even now. Those Greeks who allow that the Muses sang at the wedding of Harmonia, can point to the spot in the market-place where it is said that the goddesses sang.

[4] There is also a story that along with the thunderbolt hurled at the bridalchamber of Semele there fell a log from heaven. They say that Polydorus adorned this log with bronze and called it Dionysus Cadmus. Near is an image of Dionysus; Onasimedes made it of solid bronze. The altar was built by the sons of Praxiteles.


There is a statue of Pronomus, a very great favorite with the people for his playing on the flute. For a time flute-players had three forms of the flute. On one they played Dorian music; for Phrygian melodies flutes of a different pattern were made; what is called the Lydian mode was played on flutes of a third kind. It was Pronomus who first devised a flute equally suited for every kind of melody, and was the first to play on the same instrument music so vastly different in form.

[6] It is also said that he gave his audience untold delight by the expression of his face and by the movement of his whole body. He also composed for the Chalcidians on the Euripus a processional tune for their use in Delos. So the Thebans set up here a statue of this man, and like-wise one of Epaminondas, son of Polymnis.


Epaminondas had famous ancestors, but his father had less wealth than a Theban of ordinary means. He was most thoroughly taught all the subjects of the national education, and when a young man went to receive instruction from Lysis, a Tarentine by descent, learned in the philosophy of Pythagoras the Samian. When Lacedaemon was at war with Mantineia, Epaminondas is said to have been sent with certain others from Thebes to help the Lacedaemonians. In the battle Pelopidas received wounds, but his life was saved by Epaminondas at the greatest risk to his own.

[2] Later on, when Epaminondas had come to Sparta as an envoy, what time the Lacedaemonians said they were concluding with the Greeks the peace called the Peace of Antalcidas,12 Agesilaus asked him whether they would allow each Boeotian city to swear to the peace separately. He replied: “No, Spartans, not before we see your vassals13 taking the oath city by city.”

[3] When the war between Lacedaemon and Thebes had already broken out, and the Lacedaemonians were advancing to attack the Thebans with a force of their own men and of their allies, Epaminondas with a part of the army occupied to meet them a position above the Cephisian lake, under the impression that at this point the Peloponnesians would make their invasion. But Cleombrotus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, turned towards Ambrossus in Phocis. He massacred a Theban force under Chaereas, who was under orders to guard the passes, crossed the high ground and reached Leuctra in Boeotia.

[4] Here heaven sent signs to the Lacedaemonian people and to Cleombrotus personally.14 The Lacedaemonian kings were accompanied on their expeditions by sheep, to serve as sacrifices to the gods and to give fair omens before battles. The flocks were led on the march by she-goats, called katoiades by the herdsmen. On this occasion, then, the wolves dashed on the flock, did no harm at all to the sheep, but killed the goats called katoiades.

[5] It was also said that the wrath of the daughters of Scedasus fell upon the Lacedaemonians. Scedasus, who lived near Leuctra, had two daughters, Molpia and Hippo. These in the bloom of their youth were wickedly outraged by two Lacedaemonians, Phrurarchidas and Parthenius. The maidens, unable to bear the shame of their violation, immediately hanged themselves. Scedasus repaired to Lacedaemon, but meeting with no justice returned to Leuctra and committed suicide.

[6] Well, on this occasion Epaminondas sacrificed with prayers to Scedasus and his girls, implying that the battle would be to avenge them no less than to secure the salvation of Thebes. The Boeotarchs were not agreed, but differed widely in their opinions. For Epaminondas, Malgis and Xenocrates were minded to do battle with the Lacedaemonians at once, but Damocleidas, Damophilus and Simangelus were against joining in battle, and urged that they should put wives and children safely out of the way in Attica, and prepare to undergo a siege themselves.

[7] So divergent were the views of the six. The seventh Boeotarch, whose name was Brachyllides, was guarding the pass by Cithaeron, and on his return to the army added his vote to the side of Epaminondas, and then there was a unanimous decision to try the ordeal of battle.

[8] But Epaminondas had his suspicions of some of the Boeotians especially of the Thespians. Fearing, therefore, lest they should desert during the engagement, he permitted all who would to leave the camp and go home. The Thespians left with all their forces, as did any other Boeotians who felt annoyed with the Thebans.

[9] When the battle joined, the allies of the Lacedaemonians, who had hitherto been not the best of friends, now showed most clearly their hostility, by their reluctance to stand their ground, and by giving way wherever the enemy attacked them. The Lacedaemonians themselves and the Thebans were not badly matched adversaries. The former had their previous experience, and their shame of lessening the reputation of Sparta; the Thebans realized that what was at stake was their country, their wives and their children.

[10] But when king Cleombrotus with several Lacedaemonian magistrates had fallen, the Spartans were bound by necessity not to give way, in spite of their distress. For among the Lacedaemonians it was considered the greatest disgrace to allow the body of a king to come into the hands of enemies.


The victory of Thebes was the most famous ever won by Greeks over Greeks. The Lacedaemonians on the following day were minded to bury their dead, and sent a herald to the Thebans. But Epaminondas, knowing that the Lacedaemonians were always inclined to cover up their disasters, said that he permitted their allies first to take up their dead, and only when these had done so did he approve of the Lacedaemonians' burying their own dead.

[12] Some of the allies took up no dead at all, as not a man of them had fallen; others had but slight loss to report. So when the Lacedaemonians proceeded to bury their own, it was at once proved that the fallen were Spartans. The loss of the Thebans and of such Boeotians as remained loyal amounted to forty-seven, but of the Lacedaemonians themselves there fell more than a thousand men.


After the battle Epaminondas for a while, having proclaimed that the other Peloponnesians should depart home, kept the Lacedaemonians cooped up in Leuctra. But when reports came that the Spartans in the city were marching to a man to the help of their countrymen at Leuctra, Epaminondas allowed his enemy to depart under a truce, saying that it would be better for the Boeotians to shift the war from Boeotia to Lacedaemon.

[2] The Thespians, apprehensive because of the ancient hostility of Thebes and its present good fortune, resolved to abandon their city and to seek a refuge in Ceressus. It is a stronghold in the land of the Thespians, in which once in days of old they had established themselves to meet the invasion of the Thessalians. On that occasion the Thessalians tried to take Ceressus, but success seemed hopeless. So they consulted the god at Delphi,

[3] and received the following response:—“A care to me is shady Leuctra, and so is the Alesian soil;
A care to me are the two sorrowful girls of Scedasus.
There a tearful battle is nigh, and no one will foretell it,
Until the Dorians have lost their glorious youth,
When the day of fate has come.
Then may Ceressus be captured, but at no other time.

[4] On the latter occasion Epaminondas captured the Thespians who had taken refuge in Ceressus, and immediately afterwards devoted his attention to the situation in the Peloponnesus, to which also the Arcadians were eagerly inviting him. On his arrival he won the willing support of Argos, while he collected again into their ancient city the Mantineans, who had been scattered into village communities by Agesipolis. He persuaded the Arcadians to destroy all their weak towns, and built them a home where they could live together, which even at the present day is called Megalopolis (Great City).

[5] The period of his office as Boeotarch had now expired, and death was the penalty fixed if a man exceeded it. So Epaminondas, disregarding the law as out of date, remained in office, marched to Sparta with his army, and when Agesilaus did not come out to meet him, turned to the founding of Messene. Epaminondas, was the founder of the modern Messene, and the history of its foundation I have included in my account of the Messenians themselves.

[6] Meanwhile the allies of Thebes scattered and overran the Laconian territory, pillaging what it contained. This persuaded Epaminondas to lead the Thebans back to Boeotia. In his advance with the army he came over against Lechaeum, and was about to cross the narrow and difficult parts of the road, when Iphicrates, the son of Timotheus, attacked the Thebans with a force of targeteers and other Athenians.

[7] Epaminondas put his assailants to flight and came right up to the very city of Athens, but as Iphicrates dissuaded the Athenians from coming out to fight, he proceeded to march back to Thebes. Epaminondas stood his trial on a capital charge for holding the office of Boeotarch when his tenure had already expired. It is said that the jury appointed to try him did not even record their votes on the charge.


After these things when Alexander held sway in Thessaly, Pelopidas came to him, under the impression that he was well-disposed to him personally as well as a friend to the Theban commonwealth, but on his arrival was treacherously and insolently thrown into prison and kept there by Alexander. The Thebans at once set out to attack Alexander, and made leaders of the expedition Cleomenes and Hypatus, who were Boeotarchs at that time; Epaminondas was serving in the ranks.

[2] When the force had reached the other side of Thermopylae, Alexander surprised and attacked it on difficult ground. As there appeared to be no means of safety, the rest of the army chose Epaminondas to be leader, and the Boeotarchs of their own accord resigned the command. Alexander lost confidence in winning the war when he saw Epaminondas at the head of his opponents, and of his own accord set free Pelopidas.

[3] In the absence of Epaminondas the Thebans removed the Orchomenians from their land. Epaminondas regarded their removal as a disaster, and declared that had he been present never would the Thebans have been guilty of such an outrage.

[4] Elected again to be Boeotarch, and again invading the Peloponnesus with an army of Boeotians, he overcame the Lacedaemonians in a battle at Lechaeum, and with them Achaeans of Pellene and Athenians led from Athens by Chabrias. The Thebans had a rule that they should set free for a ransom all their prisoners except such as were Boeotian fugitives; these they punished with death. So when he captured the Sicyonian town of Phoebia, in which were gathered most of the Boeotian fugitives, he assigned to each of those whom he captured in it a new nationality, any that occurred to him, and set them free.

[5] On reaching Mantineia with his army, he was killed in the hour of victory by an Athenian.15 In the painting at Athens of the battle of the cavalry the man who is killing Epaminondas is Grylus, the son of the Xenophon who took part in the expedition of Cyrus against king Artaxerxes and led the Greeks back to the sea.


On the statue of Epaminondas is an inscription in elegiac verse relating among other things that he founded Messene, and that through him the Greeks won freedom. The elegiac verses are these:—“By my counsels was Sparta shorn of her glory,
And holy Messene received at last her children.
By the arms of Thebe was Megalopolis encircled with walls,
And all Greece won independence and freedom.


Such were the claims to fame of Epaminondas. Not far away is a temple of Ammon; the image, a work of Calamis, was dedicated by Pindar, who also sent to the Ammonians of Libya a hymn to Ammon. This hymn I found still carved on a triangular slab by the side of the altar dedicated to Ammon by Ptolemy the son of Lagus. After the sanctuary of Ammon at Thebes comes what is called the bird-observatory of Teiresias, and near it is a sanctuary of Fortune, who carries the child Wealth.

[2] According to the Thebans, the hands and face of the image were made by Xenophon the Athenian, the rest of it by Callistonicus, a native. It was a clever idea of these artists to place Wealth in the arms of Fortune, and so to suggest that she is his mother or nurse. Equally clever was the conception of Cephisodotus, who made the image of Peace for the Athenians with Wealth in her arms.


At Thebes are three wooden images of Aphrodite, so very ancient that they are actually said to be votive offerings of Harmonia, and the story is that they were made out of the wooden figure-heads on the ships of Cadmus. They call the first Heavenly, the second Common, and the third Rejecter. Harmoina gave to Aphrodite the surname of Heavenly

[4] to signify a love pure and free from bodily lust; that of Common, to denote sexual intercourse; the third, that of Rejecter, that mankind might reject unlawful passion and sinful acts. For Harmonia knew of many crimes already perpetrated not only among foreigners but even by Greeks, similar to those attributed later by legend to the mother of Adonis, to Phaedra, the daughter of Minos, and to the Thracian Tereus.


The sanctuary of Demeter Lawgiver is said to have been at one time the house of Cadmus and his descendants. The image of Demeter is visible down to the chest. Here have been dedicated bronze shields, said to be those of Lacedaemonian officers who fell at Leuctra.


Near the Proetidian gate is built a theater, and quite close to the theater is a temple of Dionysus surnamed Deliverer. For when some Theban prisoners in the hands of Thracians had reached Haliartia on their march, they were delivered by the god, who gave up the sleeping Thracians to be put to death. One of the two images here the Thebans say is Semele. Once in each year, they say, they open the sanctuary on stated days.

[7] There are also ruins of the house of Lycus, and the tomb of Semele, but Alcmena has no tomb. It is said that on her death she was turned from human form to a stone, but the Theban account does not agree with the Megarian. The Greek legends generally have for the most part different versions. Here too at Thebes are the tombs of the children of Amphion. The boys lie apart; the girls are buried by themselves.


Near is the temple of Artemis of Fair Fame. The image was made by Scopas. They say that within the sanctuary were buried Androcleia and Aleis, daughters of Antipoenus. For when Heracles and the Thebans were about to engage in battle with the Orchomenians, an oracle was delivered to them that success in the war would be theirs if their citizen of the most noble descent would consent to die by his own hand. Now Antipoenus, who had the most famous ancestors, was loath to die for the people, but his daughters were quite ready to do so. So they took their own lives and are honored therefor.

[2] Before the temple of Artemis of Fair Fame is a lion made of stone, said to have been dedicated by Heracles after he had conquered in the battle the Orchomenians and their king, Erginus son of Clymenus. Near it is Apollo surnamed Rescuer, and Hermes called of the Market-place, another of the votive offerings of Pindar. The pyre of the children of Amphion is about half a stade from the graves. The ashes from the pyre are still there.

[3] Near this are two stone images of Athena, surnamed Girder, said to have been dedicated by Amphitryon.16 For here, they say, he put on his armour when he was about to give battle to Chalcodon and the Euboeans. It seems that the ancients used the verb “to gird oneself” in the sense of “to put on one's armour,” and so they say that when Homer compares Agamemnon to Ares “in respect of his girdle,” he is really saying that they were alike in the fashion of their armour.


The tomb shared by Zethus and Amphion is a small mound of earth. The inhabitants of Tithorea in Phocis like to steal earth from it when the sun is passing through the constellation Taurus. For if at that time they take earth from the mound and set it on Antiope's tomb, the land of Tithorea will yield a harvest, but that of Thebes be less fertile. For this reason the Thebans at that time keep watch over the tomb.

[5] Both these cities hold this belief, and they do so because of the oracles of Bacis, in which are the lines:—“But when a man of Tithorea to Amphion and to Zethus
Pours on the earth peace-offerings of libation and prayer,
When Taurus is warmed by the might of the glorious sun,
Beware then of no slight disaster threatening the city;
For the harvest wastes away in it,
When they take of the earth, and bring it to the tomb of Phocus.

[6] Bacis calls it the tomb of Phocus for the following reason. The wife of Lycus worshipped Dionysus more than any other deity. When she had suffered what the story says she suffered, Dionysus was angry with Antiope. For some reason extravagant punishments always arouse the resentment of the gods. They say that Antiope went mad, and when out of her wits roamed all over Greece; but Phocus, son of Ornytion, son of Sisyphus, chanced to meet her, cured her madness, and then married her.

[7] So Antiope and Phocus share the same grave. The roughly quarried stones, laid along the tomb of Amphion at its base, are said to be the very rocks that followed the singing of Amphion. A similar story is told of Orpheus, how wild creatures followed him as he played the harp.


The road from Thebes to Chalcis is by this Proetidian gate. On the highway is pointed out the grave of Melanippus, one of the very best of the soldiers of Thebes. When the Argive invasion occurred this Melanippus killed Tydeus, as well as Mecisteus, one of the brothers of Adrastus, while he himself, they say, met his death at the hands of Amphiaraus.

[2] Quite close to it are three unwrought stones. The Theban antiquaries assert that the man lying here is Tydeus, and that his burial was carried out by Maeon. As proof of their assertion they quoted a line of the Iliad:“Of Tydeus, who at Thebes is covered by a heap of earth.
Hom. Il. 14.114

[3] Adjoining are the tombs of the children of Oedipus. The ritual observed at them I have never seen, but I regard it as credible. For the Thebans say that among those called heroes to whom they offer sacrifice are the children of Oedipus. As the sacrifice is being offered, the flame, so they say, and the smoke from it divide themselves into two. I was led to believe their story by the fact that I have seen a similar wonder. It was this.

[4] In Mysia beyond the Caicus is a town called Pioniae, the founder of which according to the inhabitants was Pionis, one of the descendants of Heracles. When they are going to sacrifice to him as to a hero, smoke of itself rises up out of the grave. This occurrence, then, I have seen happening. The Thebans show also the tomb of Teiresias, about fifteen stades from the grave of the children of Oedipus. The Thebans themselves agree that Teiresias met his end in Haliartia, and admit that the monument at Thebes is a cenotaph.


There is also at Thebes the grave of Hector, the son of Priam. It is near the spring called the Fountain of Oedipus, and the Thebans say that they brought Hector's bones from Troy because of the following oracle:—“Ye Thebans who dwell in the city of Cadmus,
If you wish blameless wealth for the country in which you live,
Bring to your homes the bones of Hector, Priam's son,
From Asia, and reverence him as a hero, according to the bidding of Zeus.

[6] The Fountain of Oedipus was so named because Oedipus washed off into it the blood of his murdered father. Hard by the spring is the grave of Asphodicus. He it was who in the fighting with the Argives killed Parthenopaeus, the son of Talaus. This is the Theban account, but according to the passage in the Thebaid which tells of the death of Parthenopaeus it was Periclymenus who killed him.


On this highway is a place called Teumessus, where it is said that Europa was hidden by Zeus. There is also another legend, which tells of a fox called the Teumessian fox, how owing to the wrath of Dionysus the beast was reared to destroy the Thebans, and how, when about to be caught by the hound given by Artemis to Procris the daughter of Erechtheus, the fox was turned into a stone, as was likewise this hound. In Teumessus there is also a sanctuary of Telchinian Athena, which contains no image. As to her surname, we may hazard the conjecture that a division of the Telchinians who once dwelt in Cyprus came to Boeotia and established a sanctuary of Telchinian Athena.


Seven stades from Teumessus on the left are the ruins of Glisas, and before them on the right of the way a small mound shaded by cultivated trees and a wood of wild ones. Here were buried Promachus, the son of Parthenopaeus, and other Argive officers, who joined with Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus, in the expedition against Thebes. That the tomb of Aegialeus is at Pegae I have already stated in an earlier part of my history17 that deals with Megara.

[3] On the straight road from Thebes to Glisas is a place surrounded by unhewn stones, called by the Thebans the Snake's Head. This snake, whatever it was, popped its head, they say, out of its hole here, and Teiresias, chancing to meet it, cut off the head with his sword. This then is how the place got its name. Above Glisas is a mountain called Supreme, and on it a temple and image of Supreme Zeus. The river, a torrent, they call the Thermodon. Returning to Teumessus and the road to Chalcis, you come to the tomb of Chalcodon, who was killed by Amphitryon in a fight between the Thebans and the Euboeans.


Adjoining are the ruins of the cities Harma (Chariot) and Mycalessus. The former got its name, according to the people of Tanagra, because the chariot of Amphiaraus disappeared here, and not where the Thebans say it did. Both peoples agree that Mycalessus was so named because the cow lowed (emykesato) here that was guiding Cadmus and his host to Thebes. How Mycalessus was laid waste I have related in that part of my history that deals with the Athenians.18

[5] On the way to the coast of Mycalessus is a sanctuary of Mycalessian Demeter. They say that each night it is shut up and opened again by Heracles, and that Heracles is one of what are called the Idaean Dactyls. Here is shown the following marvel. Before the feet of the image they place all the fruits of autumn, and these remain fresh throughout all the year.


At this place the Euripus separates Euboea from Boeotia. On the right is the sanctuary of Mycalessian Demeter, and a little farther on is Aulis, said to have been named after the daughter of Ogygus. Here there is a temple of Artemis with two images of white marble; one carries torches, and the other is like to one shooting an arrow. The story is that when, in obedience to the soothsaying of Calchas, the Greeks were about to sacrifice Iphigeneia on the altar, the goddess substituted a deer to be the victim instead of her. They preserve in the temple what still survives of the

[7] plane-tree mentioned by Homer in the Iliad.19 The story is that the Greeks were kept at Aulis by contrary winds, and when suddenly a favouring breeze sprang up, each sacrificed to Artemis the victim he had to hand, female and male alike. From that time the rule has held good at Aulis that oil victims are permissible. There is also shown the spring, by which the plane-tree grew, and on a hill near by the bronze threshold of Agamemnon's tent.

[8] In front of the sanctuary grow palm-trees, the fruit of which, though not wholly edible like the dates of Palestine, yet are riper than those of Ionia. There are but few inhabitants of Aulis, and these are potters. This land, and that about Mycalessus and Harma, is tilled by the people of Tanagra.


Within the territory of Tanagra is what is called Delium on Sea. In it are images of Artemis and Leto. The people of Tanagra say that their founder was Poemander, the son of Chaeresilaus, the son of Iasius, the son of Eleuther, who, they say, was the son of Apollo by Aethusa, the daughter of Poseidon. It is said that Poemander married Tanagra, a daughter of Aeolus. But in a poem of Corinna she is said to be a daughter of Asopus.

[2] There is a story that, as she reached extreme old age, her neighbors ceased to call her by this name, and gave the name of Graea (old woman), first to the woman herself, and in course of time to the city. The name, they say, persisted so long that even Homer says in the Catalogue:—“Thespeia, Graea, and wide Mycalessus.
Hom. Il. 2.498Later, however, it recovered its old name.


There is in Tanagra the tomb of Orion, and Mount Cerycius, the reputed birthplace of Hermes, and also a place called Polus. Here they say that Atlas sat and meditated deeply upon hell and heaven, as Homer20 says of him:—“Daughter of baneful Atlas, who knows the depths
Of every sea, while he himself holds up the tall pillars,
Which keep apart earth and heaven.
Hom. Od. 1.152


In the temple of Dionysus the image too is worth seeing, being of Parian marble and a work of Calamis. But a greater marvel still is the Triton. The grander of the two versions of the Triton legend relates that the women of Tanagra before the orgies of Dionysus went down to the sea to be purified, were attacked by the Triton as they were swimming, and prayed that Dionysus would come to their aid. The god, it is said, heard their cry and overcame the Triton in the fight.

[5] The other version is less grand but more credible. It says that the Triton would waylay and lift all the cattle that were driven to the sea. He used even to attack small vessels, until the people of Tanagra set out for him a bowl of wine. They say that, attracted by the smell, he came at once, drank the wine, flung himself on the shore and slept, and that a man of Tanagra struck him on the neck with an axe and chopped off his head. for this reason the image has no head. And because they caught him drunk, it is supposed that it was Dionysus who killed him.


I saw another Triton among the curiosities at Rome, less in size than the one at Tanagra. The Tritons have the following appearance. On their heads they grow hair like that of marsh frogs not only in color, but also in the impossibility of separating one hair from another. The rest of their body is rough with fine scales just as is the shark. Under their ears they have gills and a man's nose; but the mouth is broader and the teeth are those of a beast. Their eyes seem to me blue, and they have hands, fingers, and nails like the shells of the murex. Under the breast and belly is a tail like a dolphin's instead of feet.

[2] I saw also the Ethiopian bulls, called rhinoceroses owing to the fact that each has one horn (ceras) at the end of the nose (rhis), over which is another but smaller one, but there is no trace of horns on their heads. I saw too the Paeonian bulls, which are shaggy all over, but especially about the chest and lower jaw. I saw also Indian camels with the color of leopards.

[3] There is also a beast called the elk, in form between a deer and a camel, which breeds in the land of the Celts. Of all the beasts we know it alone cannot be tracked or seen at a distance by man; sometimes, however, when men are out hunting other game they fall in with an elk by luck. Now they say that it smells man even at a great distance, and dashes down into ravines or the deepest caverns. So the hunters surround the plain or mountain in a circuit of at least a thousand stades, and, taking care not to break the circle, they keep on narrowing the area enclosed, and so catch all the beasts inside, the elks included. But if there chance to be no lair within, there is no other way of catching the elk.

[4] The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called martichoras by the Indians and man-eater by the Greeks, I am inclined to think is the tiger. But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast.

[5] They were also deceived about its color, and whenever the tiger showed itself in the light of the sun it appeared to be a homogeneous red, either because of its speed, or, if it were not running, because of its continual twists and turns, especially when it was not seen at close quarters. And I think that if one were to traverse the most remote parts of Libya, India or Arabia, in search of such beasts as are found in Greece, some he would not discover at all, and others would have a different appearance.

[6] For man is not the only creature that has a different appearance in different climates and in different countries; the others too obey the same rule. For instance, the Libyan asps have a different colors compared with the Egyptian, while in Ethiopia are bred asps quite as black as the men. So everyone should be neither over-hasty in one's judgments, nor incredulous when considering rarities. For instance, though I have never seen winged snakes I believe that they exist, as I believe that a Phrygian brought to Ionia a scorpion with wings exactly like those of locusts.


Beside the sanctuary of Dionysus at Tanagra are three temples, one of Themis, another of Aphrodite, and the third of Apollo; with Apollo are joined Artemis and Leto. There are sanctuaries of Hermes Ram-bearer and of Hermes called Champion. They account for the former surname by a story that Hermes averted a pestilence from the city by carrying a ram round the walls; to commemorate this Calamis made an image of Hermes carrying a ram upon his shoulders. Whichever of the youths is judged to be the most handsome goes round the walls at the feast of Hermes, carrying a lamb on his shoulders.

[2] Hermes Champion is said, on the occasion when an Eretrian fleet put into Tanagra from Euboea, to have led out the youths to the battle; he himself, armed with a scraper like a youth, was chiefly responsible for the rout of the Euboeans. In the sanctuary of the Champion is kept all that is left of the wild strawberry-tree under which they believe that Hermes was nourished. Near by is a theater and by it a portico. I consider that the people of Tanagra have better arrangements for the worship of the gods than any other Greeks. For their houses are in one place, while the sanctuaries are apart beyond the houses in a clear space where no men live.

[3] Corinna, the only lyric poetess of Tanagra, has her tomb in a, conspicuous part of the city, and in the gymnasium is a painting of Corinna binding her head with a fillet for the victory she won over Pindar at Thebes with a lyric poem. I believe that her victory was partly due to the dialect she used, for she composed, not in Doric speech like Pindar, but in one Aeolians would understand, and partly to her being, if one may judge from the likeness, the most beautiful woman of her time.

[4] Here there are two breeds of cocks, the fighters and the blackbirds, as they are called. The size of these blackbirds is the same as that of the Lydian birds, but in color they are like crows, while wattles and comb are very like the anemone. They have small, white markings on the end of the beak and at the end of the tail.


Such is the appearance of the blackbirds. Within Boeotia to the left of the Euripus is Mount Messapius, at the foot of which on the coast is the Boeotian city of Anthedon. Some say that the city received its name from a nymph called Anthedon, while others say that one Anthas was despot here, a son of Poseidon by Alcyone, the daughter of Atlas. Just about the center of Anthedon is a sanctuary of the Cabeiri, with a grove around it, near which is a temple of Demeter and her daughter, with images of white marble.

[6] There are a sanctuary and an image of Dionysus in front of the city on the side towards the mainland. Here are the graves of the children of Iphimedeia and Aloeus. They met their end at the hands of Apollo according to both Homer21 and Pindar,22 the latter adding that their doom overtook them in Naxos, which lies off Paros. Their tombs then are in Anthedon, and by the sea is what is called the Leap of Glaucus.

[7] That Glaucus was a fisherman, who, on eating of the grass, turned into a deity of the sea and ever since has foretold to men the future, is a belief generally accepted; in particular, seafaring men tell every year many a tale about the soothsaying of Glaucus. Pindar and Aeschylus got a story about Glaucus from the people of Anthedon. Pindar has not thought fit to say much about him in his odes, but the story actually supplied Aeschylus with material for a play.


In front of the Proetidian gate at Thebes is the gymnasium called the Gymnasium of Iolaus and also a race-course, a bank of earth like those at Olympia and Epidaurus. Here there is also shown a hero-shrine of Iolaus. That Iolaus himself died at Sardis along with the Athenians and Thespians who made the crossing with him is admitted even by the Thebans themselves.

[2] Crossing over the right side of the course you come to a race-course for horses, in which is the tomb of Pindar. When Pindar was a young man he was once on his way to Thespiae in the hot season. At about noon he was seized with fatigue and the drowsiness that follows it, so just as he was, he lay down a little way above the road. As he slept bees alighted on him and plastered his lips with their wax.

[3] Such was the beginning of Pindar's career as a lyric poet. When his reputation had already spread throughout Greece he was raised to a greater height of fame by an order of the Pythian priestess, who bade the Delphians give to Pindar one half of all the first-fruits they offered to Apollo. It is also said that on reaching old age a vision came to him in a dream. As he slept Persephone stood by him and declared that she alone of the deities had not been honored by Pindar with a hymn, but that Pindar would compose an ode to her also when he had come to her.

[4] Pindar died at once, before ten days had passed since the dream. But there was in Thebes an old woman related by birth to Pindar who had practised singing most of his odes. By her side in a dream stood Pindar, and sang a hymn to Persephone. Immediately on waking out of her sleep she wrote down all she had heard him singing in her dream. In this song, among the epithets he applies to Hades is “golden-reined”—a clear reference to the rape of Persephone.


From this point to Acraephnium is mainly flat. They say that originally the city formed part of the territory belonging to Thebes, and I learned that in later times men of Thebes escaped to it, at the time when Alexander destroyed Thebes. Weak and old, they could not even get safely away to Attica, but made their homes here. The town lies on Mount Ptous, and there are here a temple and image of Dionysus that are worth seeing.

[6] About fifteen stades away from the city on the right is the sanctuary of Ptoan Apollo. We are told by Asius in his epic that Ptous, who gave a surname to Apollo and the name to the mountain, was a son of Athamas by Themisto. Before the expedition of the Macedonians under Alexander, in which Thebes was destroyed, there was here an oracle that never lied. Once too a mail of Europus, of the name of Mys, who was sent by Mardonius, inquired of the god in his own language, and the god too gave a response, not in Greek but in the Carian speech.


On crossing Mount Ptous you come to Larymna, a Boeotian city on the coast, said to have been named after Larymna, the daughter of Cynus. Her earlier ancestors I shall give in my account of Locris.23 Of old Larymna belonged to Opus, but when Thebes rose to great power the citizens of their own accord joined the Boeotians. Here there is a temple of Dionysus with a standing image. The town has a harbor with deep water near the shore, and on the mountains commanding the city wild boars can be hunted.


On the straight road from Acraephnium to the Cephisian, or as it is also called, the Copaic Lake, is what is styled the Athamantian Plain, on which, they say, Athamas made his home. Into the lake flows the river Cephisus, which rises at Lilaea in Phocis, and on sailing across it you come to Copae, a town lying on the shore of the lake. Homer24 mentions it in the Catalogue. Here is a sanctuary of Demeter, one of Dionysus and a third of Serapis.

[2] According to the Boeotians there were once other inhabited towns near the lake, Athens and Eleusis, but there occurred a flood one winter which destroyed them. The fish of the Cephisian Lake are in general no different from those of other lakes, but the eels there are of great size and very pleasant to the palate.


On the left of Copae about twelve stades from it is Olmones, and some seven stades distant from Olmones is Hyettus both right from their foundation to the present day have been villages. In my view Hyettus, as well as the Athamantian plain, belongs to the district of Orchomenus. All the stories I heard about Hyettus the Argive and Olmus, the son of Sisyphus, I shall include in my history of Orchomenus.25 In Olmones they did not show me anything that was in the least worth seeing, but in Hyettus is a temple of Heracles, from whom the sick may get cures. There is an image not carefully carved, but of unwrought stone after the ancient fashion.


About twenty stades away from Hyettus is Cyrtones. The ancient name of the town was, they say, Cyrtone. It is built on a high mountain, and here are a temple and grove of Apollo. There are also standing images of Apollo and Artemis. There is here too a cool stream of water rising from a rock. By the spring is a sanctuary of the nymphs, and a small grove, in which all the trees alike are cultivated.


Going out of Cyrtones, as you cross the mountain you come to Corseia, under which is a grove of trees that are not cultivated, being mostly evergreen oaks. A small image of Hermes stands in the open part of the grove. This is distant from Corseia about half a stade. On descending to the level you reach a river called the Platanius, which flows into the sea. On the right of the river the last of the Boeotians in this part dwell in Halae-on-Sea, which separates the Locrian mainland from Euboea.


Very near to the Neistan gate at Thebes is the tomb of Menoeceus, the son of Creon. He committed suicide in obedience to the oracle from Delphi, at the time when Polyneices and the host with him arrived from Argos. On the tomb of Menoeceus grows a pomegranate-tree. If you break through the outer part of the ripe fruit, you will then find the inside like blood. This pomegranate-tree is still flourishing. The Thebans assert that they were the first men among whom the vine grew, but they have now no memorial of it to show.

[2] Not far from the grave of Menoeceus is the place where they say the sons of Oedipus killed each other in a duel. The scene of their fight is marked by a pillar, upon which is a stone shield. There is shown a place where according to the Thebans Hera was deceived by Zeus into giving the breast to Heracles when he was a baby. The whole of this place is called the Dragging of Antigone. For when she found that she had not the strength to lift the body of Polyneices, in spite of her eager efforts, a second plan occurred to her, to drag him. So she dragged him right up to the burning pyre of Eteocles and threw him on it.


There is a river called Dirce after the wife of Lycus. The story goes that Antiope was ill-treated by this Dirce, and therefore the children of Antiope put Dirce to death. Crossing the river you reach the ruins of the house of Pindar, and a sanctuary of the Mother Dindymene. Pindar dedicated the image, and Aristomedes and Socrates, sculptors of Thebes, made it. Their custom is to open the sanctuary on one day in each year, and no more. It was my fortune to arrive on that day, and I saw the image, which, like the throne, is of Pentelic marble.


Along the road from the Neistan gate are three sanctuaries. There is a sanctuary of Themis, with an image of white marble; adjoining it is a sanctuary of the Fates, while the third is of Zeus of the Market. Zeus is made of stone; the Fates have no images. A little farther off in the open stands Heracles, surnamed Nose-docker; the reason for the name is, as the Thebans say, that Heracles cut off the noses, as an insult, of the heralds who came from Orchomenus to demand the tribute.


Advancing from here twenty-five stades you come to a grove of Cabeirean Demeter and the Maid. The initiated are permitted to enter it. The sanctuary of the Cabeiri is some seven stades distant from this grove. I must ask the curious to forgive me if I keep silence as to who the Cabeiri are, and what is the nature of the ritual performed in honor of them and of the Mother.

[6] But there is nothing to prevent my declaring to all what the Thebans say was the origin of the ritual. They say that once there was in this place a city, with inhabitants called Cabeiri; and that Demeter came to know Prometheus, one of the Cabeiri, and Aetnaelis his son, and entrusted something to their keeping. What was entrusted to them, and what happened to it, seemed to me a sin to put into writing, but at any rate the rites are a gift of Demeter to the Cabeiri.

[7] At the time of the invasion of the Epigoni and the taking of Thebes, the Cabeiri were expelled from their homes by the Argives and the rites for a while ceased to be performed. But they go on to say that afterwards Pelarge, the daughter of Potnieus, and Isthmiades her husband established the mysteries here to begin with, but transferred them to the place called Alexiarus.

[8] But because Pelarge conducted the initiation outside the ancient borders, Telondes and those who were left of the clan of the Cabeiri returned again to Cabeiraea. Various honors were to be established for Pelarge by Telondes in accordance with an oracle from Dodona, one being the sacrifice of a pregnant victim. The wrath of the Cabeiri no man may placate, as has been proved on many occasions.

[9] For certain private people dared to perform in Naupactus the ritual just as it was done in Thebes, and soon afterwards justice overtook them. Then, again, certain men of the army of Xerxes left behind with Mardonius in Boeotia entered the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, perhaps in the hope of great wealth, but rather, I suspect, to show their contempt of its gods; all these immediately were struck with madness, and flung themselves to their deaths into the sea or from the tops of precipices.

[10] Again, when Alexander after his victory wasted with fire all the Thebaid, including Thebes itself, some men from Macedonia entered the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, as it was in enemy territory, and were destroyed by thunder and lightning from heaven.


So sacred this sanctuary has been from the beginning. On the right of the sanctuary is a plain named after Tenerus the seer, whom they hold to be a son of Apollo by Melia; there is also a large sanctuary of Heracles surnamed Hippodetus (Binder of Horses). For they say that the Orchomenians came to this place with an army, and that Heracles by night took their chariot-horses and bound them tight.

[2] Farther on we come to the mountain from which they say the Sphinx, chanting a riddle, sallied to bring death upon those she caught. Others say that roving with a force of ships on a piratical expedition she put in at Anthedon, seized the mountain I mentioned, and used it for plundering raids until Oedipus overwhelmed her by the superior numbers of the army he had with him on his arrival from Corinth.

[3] There is another version of the story which makes her the natural daughter of Laius, who, because he was fond of her, told her the oracle delivered to Cadmus from Delphi. No one, they say, except the kings knew the oracle. Now Laius (the story goes on to say) had sons by concubines, and the oracle delivered from Delphi applied only to Epicaste and her sons. So when any of her brothers came in order to claim the throne from the Sphinx, she resorted to trickery in dealing with them, saying that if they were sons of Laius they should know the oracle that came to Cadmus.

[4] When they could not answer she would punish them with death, on the ground that they had no valid claim to the kingdom or to relationship. But Oedipus came because it appears he had been told the oracle in a dream.


Distant from this mountain fifteen stades are the ruins of the city Onchestus. They say that here dwelt Onchestus, a son of Poseidon. In my day there remained a temple and image of Onchestian Poseidon, and the grove which Homer too praised.26

[6] Taking a turn left from the Cabeirian sanctuary, and advancing about fifty stades, you come to Thespiae, built at the foot of Mount Helicon. They say that Thespia was a daughter of Asopus, who gave her name to the city, while others say that Thespius, who was descended from Erechtheus, came from Athens and was the man after whom the city was called.

[7] In Thespiae is a bronze image of Zeus Saviour. They say about it that when a dragon once was devastating their city, the god commanded that every year one of their youths, upon whom the lot fell, should be offered to the monster. Now the names of those who perished they say that they do not remember. But when the lot fell on Cleostratus, his lover Menestratus, they say, devised a trick.

[8] He had made a bronze breastplate, with a fish-hook, the point turned outwards, upon each of its plates. Clad in this breastplate he gave himself up, of his own free will, to the dragon, convinced that having done so he would, though destroyed himself, prove the destroyer of the monster. This is why the Zeus has been surnamed Saviour. The image of Dionysus, and also that of Fortune, and in another place that of Health . . . But the Athena Worker, as well as Wealth, who stands beside her, was made by. . . .


Of the gods the Thespians have from the beginning honored Love most, and they have a very ancient image of him, an unwrought stone. Who established among the Thespians the custom of worshipping Love more than any other god I do not know. He is worshipped equally by the people of Parium on the Hellespont, who were originally colonists from Erythrae in Ionia, but to-day are subject to the Romans.

[2] Most men consider Love to be the youngest of the gods and the son of Aphrodite. But Olen the Lycian, who composed the oldest Greek hymns, says in a hymn to Eileithyia that she was the mother of Love. Later than Olen, both Pamphos and Orpheus wrote hexameter verse, and composed poems on Love, in order that they might be among those sung by the Lycomidae to accompany the ritual. I read them after conversation with a Torchbearer. Of these things I will make no further mention. Hesiod,27 or he who wrote the Theogony fathered on Hesiod, writes, I know, that Chaos was born first, and after Chaos, Earth, Tartarus and Love.

[3] Sappho of Lesbos wrote many poems about Love, but they are not consistent. Later on Lysippus made a bronze Love for the Thespians, and previously Praxiteles one of Pentelic marble. The story of Phryne and the trick she played on Praxiteles I have related in another place.28 The first to remove the image of Love, it is said, was Gaius the Roman Emperor; Claudius, they say, sent it back to Thespiae, but Nero carried it away a second time.

[4] At Rome the image perished by fire. Of the pair who sinned against the god, Gaius was killed by a private soldier, just as he was giving the password; he had made the soldier very angry by always giving the same password with a covert sneer. The other, Nero, in addition to his violence to his mother, committed accursed and hateful crimes against his wedded wives. The modern Love at Thespiae was made by the Athenian Menodorus, who copied the work of Praxiteles.

[5] Here too are statues made by Praxiteles himself, one of Aphrodite and one of Phryne, both Phryne and the goddess being of stone. Elsewhere too is a sanctuary of Black Aphrodite, with a theater and a market-place, well worth seeing. Here is set up Hesiod in bronze. Not far from the market-place is a Victory of bronze and a small temple of the Muses. In it are small images made of stone.


At Thespiae is also a sanctuary of Heracles. The priestess there is a virgin, who acts as such until she dies. The reason of this is said to be as follows. Heracles, they say, had intercourse with the fifty daughters of Thestius, except one, in a single night. She was the only one who refused to have connection with him. Heracles,thinking that he had been insulted, condemned her to remain a virgin all her life, serving him as his priest.

[7] I have heard another story, how Heracles had connection with all the virgin daughters of Thestius in one and the same night, and how they all bore him sons, the youngest and the eldest bearing twins. But I cannot think it credible that Heracles would rise to such a pitch of wrath against a daughter of a friend. Moreover, while he was still among men, punishing them for insolence, and especially such as were impious towards the gods, he would not himself have set up a temple and appointed a priestess to himself, just as though he were a god.

[8] As a matter of fact this sanctuary seemed to me too old to be of the time of Heracles the son of Amphitryon, and to belong to Heracles called one of the Idaean Dactyls, to whom I found the people of Erythrae in Ionia and of Tyre possessed sanctuaries. Nevertheless, the Boeotians were not unacquainted with this name of Heracles, seeing that they themselves say that the sanctuary of Demeter of Mycalessus has been entrusted to Idaean Heracles.


Helicon is one of the mountains of Greece with the most fertile soil and the greatest number of cultivated trees. The wild-strawberry bushes supply to the goats sweeter fruit than that growing anywhere else. The dwellers around Helicon say that all the grasses too and roots growing on the mountain are not at all poisonous to men. Moreover, the food makes the poison of the snakes too less deadly, so that most of those bitten escape with their lives, should they fall in with a Libyan of the race of the Psyllians, or with any suitable remedies.

[2] Now the poison of the most venomous snakes is of itself deadly to men and all animals alike, but what they feed on contributes very much to the strength of their poison; for instance, I learnt from a Phoenician that the roots they eat make more venomous the vipers in the highland of Phoenicia. He said that he had himself seen a man trying to escape from the rush of a viper; the man, he said, ran up a tree, but the viper, coming up too late, puffed some of its poison towards the tree, and the man died instantaneously.

[3] Such was the story I heard from him. Those vipers in Arabia that nest around the balsam trees have, I know, the following peculiarities. The balsams are about as big as a myrtle bush, and their leaves are like those of the herb marjoram. The vipers of Arabia lodge in certain numbers, larger or smaller, under each tree. For the balsam-juice is the food they like most, and moreover they are fond of the shade of the bushes.

[4] So when the time has come for the Arabians to collect the juice of the balsam, each man takes two sticks to the vipers, and by striking them together they drive the vipers away. Kill them they will not, considering them sacred to the balsam. And even if a man should have the misfortune to be bitten by the vipers, though the wound is like the cut of a knife, nevertheless there is no fear from the poison. For as the vipers feed on the most fragrant of perfumes, their poison is mitigated and less deadly.


Such is the truth about these things. The first to sacrifice on Helicon to the Muses and to call the mountain sacred to the Muses were, they say, Ephialtes and Otus, who also founded Ascra. To this also Hegesinus alludes in his poem Atthis:—“And again with Ascra lay Poseidon Earth-shaker,
Who when the year revolved bore him a son
Oeoclus, who first with the children of Aloeus founded
Ascra, which lies at the foot of Helicon, rich in springs.
Hegesinus, Atthis, unknown location.


This poem of Hegesinus I have not read, for it was no longer extant when I was born. But Callippus of Corinth in his history of Orchomenus uses the verses of Hegesinus as evidence in support of his own views, and I too have done likewise, using the quotation of Callippus himself. Of Ascra in my day nothing memorable was left except one tower. The sons of Aloeus held that the Muses were three in number, and gave them the names of Melete (Practice), Mneme (Memory) and Aoede (Song).

[3] But they say that afterwards Pierus, a Macedonian, after whom the mountain in Macedonia was named, came to Thespiae and established nine Muses, changing their names to the present ones. Pierus was of this opinion either because it seemed to him wiser, or because an oracle so ordered, or having so learned from one of the Thracians. For the Thracians had the reputation of old of being more clever than the Macedonians, and in particular of being not so careless in religious matters.

[4] There are some who say that Pierus himself had nine daughters, that their names were the same as those of the goddesses, and that those whom the Greeks called the children of the Muses were sons of the daughters of Pierus. Mimnermus, who composed elegiac verses about the battle between the Smyrnaeans and the Lydians under Gyges, says in the preface that the elder Muses are daughters of Uranus, and that there are other and younger Muses, children of Zeus.

[5] On Helicon, on the left as you go to the grove of the Muses, is the spring Aganippe; they say that Aganippe was a daughter of the Termessus, which flows round Helicon. As you go along the straight road to the grove is a portrait of Eupheme carved in relief on a stone. She was, they say, the nurse of the Muses.

[6] So her portrait is here, and after it is Linus on a small rock worked into the shape of a cave. To Linus every year they sacrifice as to a hero before they sacrifice to the Muses. It is said that this Linus was a son of Urania and Amphimarus, a son of Poseidon, that he won a reputation for music greater than that of any contemporary or predecessor, and that Apollo killed him for being his rival in singing.

[7] On the death of Linus, mourning for him spread, it seems, to all the foreign world, so that even among the Egyptians there came to be a Linus song, in the Egyptian language called Maneros. Of the Greek poets, Homer shows that he knew that the sufferings of Linus were the theme of a Greek song when he says that Hephaestus, among the other scenes he worked upon the shield of Achilles, represented a boy harpist singing the Linus song:—“In the midst of them a boy on a clear-toned lyre
Played with great charm, and to his playing sang of beautiful Linus.29
Hom. Il. 18.569-70

[8] Pamphos, who composed the oldest Athenian hymns, called him Oetolinus (Linus doomed) at the time when the mourning for Linus was at its height. Sappho of Lesbos, who learnt the name of Oetolinus from the epic poetry of Pamphos, sang of both Adonis and Oetolinus together. The Thebans assert that Linus was buried among them, and that after the Greek defeat at Chaeroneia, Philip the son of Amyntas, in obedience to a vision in a dream, took up the bones of Linus and conveyed them to Macedonia;

[9] other visions induced him to send the bones of Linus back to Thebes. But all that was over the grave, and whatever marks were on it, vanished, they say, with the lapse of time. Other tales are told by the Thebans, how that later than this Linus there was born another, called the son of Ismenius, a teacher of music, and how Heracles, while still a child, killed him. But hexameter poetry was written neither by Linus the son of Amphimarus nor by the later Linus; or if it was, it has not survived for posterity.


The first images of the Muses are of them all, from the hand of Cephisodotus, while a little farther on are three, also from the hand of Cephisodotus, and three more by Strongylion, an excellent artist of oxen and horses. The remaining three were made by Olympiosthenes. There is also on Helicon a bronze Apollo fighting with Hermes for the lyre. There is also a Dionysus by Lysippus; the standing image, however, of Dionysus, that Sulla dedicated, is the most noteworthy of the works of Myron after the Erectheus at Athens. What he dedicated was not his own; he took it away from the Minyae of Orchomenus. This is an illustration of the Greek proverb, “to worship the gods with other people's incense.”


Of poets or famous musicians they have set up likenesses of the following. There is Thamyris himself, when already blind, with a broken lyre in his hand, and Arion of Methymna upon a dolphin. The sculptor who made the statue of Sacadas of Argos, not understanding the prelude of Pindar about him, has made the flute-player with a body no bigger than his flute.

[3] Hesiod too sits holding a harp upon his knees, a thing not at all appropriate for Hesiod to carry, for his own verses30 make it clear that he sang holding a laurel wand. As to the age of Hesiod and Homer, I have conducted very careful researches into this matter, but I do not like to write on the subject, as I know the quarrelsome nature of those especially who constitute the modern school of epic criticism.

[4] By the side of Orpheus the Thracian stands a statue of Telete, and around him are beasts of stone and bronze listening to his singing. There are many untruths believed by the Greeks, one of which is that Orpheus was a son of the Muse Calliope, and not of the daughter of Pierus, that the beasts followed him fascinated by his songs, and that he went down alive to Hades to ask for his wife from the gods below. In my opinion Orpheus excelled his predecessors in the beauty of his verse, and reached a high degree of power because he was believed to have discovered mysteries, purification from sins, cures of diseases and means of averting divine wrath.

[5] But they say that the women of the Thracians plotted his death, because he had persuaded their husbands to accompany him in his wanderings, but dared not carry out their intention through fear of their husbands. Flushed with wine, however, they dared the deed, and hereafter the custom of their men has been to march to battle drunk. Some say that Orpheus came to his end by being struck by a thunderbolt, hurled at him by the god because he revealed sayings in the mysteries to men who had not heard them before.

[6] Others have said that his wife died before him, and that for her sake he came to Aornum in Thesprotis, where of old was an oracle of the dead. He thought, they say, that the soul of Eurydice followed him, but turning round he lost her, and committed suicide for grief. The Thracians say that such nightingales as nest on the grave of Orpheus sing more sweetly and louder than others.

[7] The Macedonians who dwell in the district below Mount Pieria and the city of Dium say that it was here that Orpheus met his end at the hands of the women. Going from Dium along the road to the mountain, and advancing twenty stades, you come to a pillar on the right surmounted by a stone urn, which according to the natives contains the bones of Orpheus.

[8] There is also a river called Helicon. After a course of seventy-five stades the stream hereupon disappears under the earth. After a gap of about twenty-two stades the water rises again, and under the name of Baphyra instead of Helicon flows into the sea as a navigable river. The people of Dium say that at first this river flowed on land throughout its course. But, they go on to say, the women who killed Orpheus wished to wash off in it the blood-stains, and thereat the river sank underground, so as not to lend its waters to cleanse manslaughter.

[9] In Larisa I heard another story, how that on Olympus is a city Libethra, where the mountain faces, Macedonia, not far from which city is the tomb of Orpheus. The Libethrians, it is said, received out of Thrace an oracle from Dionysus, stating that when the sun should see the bones of Orpheus, then the city of Libethra would be destroyed by a boar. The citizens paid little regard to the oracle, thinking that no other beast was big or mighty enough to take their city, while a boar was bold rather than powerful.

[10] But when it seemed good to the god the following events befell the citizens. About midday a shepherd was asleep leaning against the grave of Orpheus, and even as he slept he began to sing poetry of Orpheus in a loud and sweet voice. Those who were pasturing or tilling nearest to him left their several tasks and gathered together to hear the shepherd sing in his sleep. And jostling one another and striving who could get nearest the shepherd they overturned the pillar, the urn fell from it and broke, and the sun saw whatever was left of the bones of Orpheus.

[11] Immediately when night came the god sent heavy rain, and the river Sys (Boar), one of the torrents about Olympus, on this occasion threw down the walls of Libethra, overturning sanctuaries of gods and houses of men, and drowning the inhabitants and all the animals in the city. When Libethra was now a city of ruin, the Macedonians in Dium, according to my friend of Larisa, carried the bones of Orpheus to their own country.

[12] Whoever has devoted himself to the study of poetry knows that the hymns of Orpheus are all very short, and that the total number of them is not great. The Lycomidae know them and chant them over the ritual of the mysteries. For poetic beauty they may be said to come next to the hymns of Homer, while they have been even more honored by the gods.


On Helicon there is also a statue of Arsinoe, who married Ptolemy her brother. She is being carried by a bronze ostrich. Ostriches grow wings just like other birds, but their bodies are so heavy and large that the wings cannot lift them into the air.


Here too is Telephus, the son of Heracles, represented as a baby being suckled by a deer. By his side is an ox, and an image of Priapus worth seeing. This god is worshipped where goats and sheep pasture or there are swarms of bees; but by the people of Lampsacus he is more revered than any other god, being called by them a son of Dionysus and Aphrodite.


On Helicon tripods have been dedicated, of which the oldest is the one which it is said Hesiod received for winning the prize for song at Chalcis on the Euripus. Men too live round about the grove, and here the Thespians celebrate a festival, and also games called the Museia. They celebrate other games in honor of Love, offering prizes not only for music but also for athletic events. Ascending about twenty stades from this grove is what is called the Horse's Fountain (Hippocrene). It was made, they say, by the horse of Bellerophon striking the ground with his hoof.

[4] The Boeotians dwelling around Helicon hold the tradition that Hesiod wrote nothing but the Works, and even of this they reject the prelude to the Muses, saying that the poem begins with the account of the Strifes.31 They showed me also a tablet of lead where the spring is, mostly defaced by time, on which is engraved the Works.

[5] There is another tradition, very different from the first, that Hesiod wrote a great number of poems; the one on women, the one called the Great Eoeae, the Theogony, the poem on the seer Melampus, the one on the descent to Hades of Theseus and Perithous, the Precepts of Chiron, professing to be for the instruction of Achilles, and other poems besides the Works and Days. These same Boeotians say that Hesiod learnt seercraft from the Acarnanians, and there are extant a poem called Mantica (Seercraft), which I myself have read, and interpretations of portents.

[6] Opposite stories are also told of Hesiod's death. All agree that Ctimenus and Antiphus, the sons of Ganyctor, fled from Naupactus to Molycria because of the murder of Hesiod, that here they sinned against Poseidon, and that in Molycria their punishment was inflicted. The sister of the young men had been ravished; some say the deed was Hesiod's, and others that Hesiod was wrongly thought guilty of another's crime.

So widely different are the traditions of Hesiod himself and his poems.

[7] On the summit of Helicon is a small river called the Lamus.32 In the territory of the Thespians is a place called Donacon (Reed-bed). Here is the spring of Narcissus. They say that Narcissus looked into this water, and not understanding that he saw his own reflection, unconsciously fell in love with himself, and died of love at the spring. But it is utter stupidity to imagine that a man old enough to fall in love was incapable of distinguishing a man from a man's reflection.

[8] There is another story about Narcissus, less popular indeed than the other, but not without some support. It is said that Narcissus had a twin sister; they were exactly alike in appearance, their hair was the same, they wore similar clothes, and went hunting together. The story goes on that Narcissus fell in love with his sister, and when the girl died, would go to the spring, knowing that it was his reflection that he saw, but in spite of this knowledge finding some relief for his love in imagining that he saw, not his own reflection, but the likeness of his sister.

[9] The flower narcissus grew, in my opinion, before this, if we are to judge by the verses of Pamphos. This poet was born many years before Narcissus the Thespian, and he says that the Maid, the daughter of Demeter, was carried off when she was playing and gathering flowers, and that the flowers by which she was deceived into being carried off were not violets, but the narcissus.


Creusis, the harbor of Thespiae, has nothing to show publicly, but at the home of a private person I found an image of Dionysus made of gypsum and adorned with painting. The voyage from the Peloponnesus to Creusis is winding and, besides, not a calm one. For capes jut out so that a straight sea-crossing is impossible, and at the same time violent gales blow down from the mountains.


Sailing from Creusis, not out to sea, but along Boeotia, you reach on the right a city called Thisbe. First there is a mountain by the sea; on crossing it you will come to a plain, and after that to another mountain, at the foot of which is the city. Here there is a sanctuary of Heracles with a standing image of stone, and they hold a festival called the Heracleia.

[3] Nothing would prevent the plain between the mountains becoming a lake owing to the volume of the water, had they not made a strong dyke right through it. So every other year they divert the water to the farther side of the dyke, and farm the other side. Thisbe, they say, was a nymph of the country, from whom the city has received its name.


Sailing from here you come to Tipha, a small town by the sea. The townsfolk have a sanctuary of Heracles and hold an annual festival. They claim to have been from of old the best sailors in Boeotia, and remind you that Tiphys, who was chosen to steer the Argo, was a fellow-townsman. They point out also the place before the city where they say Argo anchored on her return from Colchis.

[5] As you go inland from Thespiae you come to Haliartus. The question who became founder of Haliartus and Coroneia I cannot separate from my account of Orchomenus.33 At the Persian invasion the people of Haliartus sided with the Greeks, and so a division of the army of Xerxes overran and burnt both their territory and their city. In Haliartus is the tomb of Lysander the Lacedaemonian. For having attacked the walls of Haliartus, in which were troops from Thebes and Athens, he fell in the fighting that followed a sortie of the enemy.

[6] Lysander in some ways is worthy of the greatest praise, in others of the sharpest blame. He certainly showed cleverness in the following ways. When in command of the Peloponnesian triremes he waited till Alcibiades was away from the fleet, and then led on Antiochus, the pilot of Alcibiades, to believe that he was a match for the Lacedaemonians at sea, and when in the rashness of vainglory he put out to sea, Lysander overcame him not far from the city of Colophon.

[7] And when for the second time he arrived from Sparta to take charge of the triremes, he so tamed Cyrus that, whenever he asked for money to pay the fleet, he received it in good time and without stint. When the Athenian fleet of one hundred ships anchored at Aegospotami, waiting until the sailors were scattered to get water and provisions, he thus captured their vessels. He showed the following example of justice.

[8] Autolycus the pancratiast, whose statue I saw in the Prytaneium of the Athenians, had a dispute about some piece of property with Eteonicus of Sparta. When Eteonicus was convicted of making unjust statements, as the rule of the Thirty was then supreme at Athens, and Lysander had not yet departed, Eteonicus was encouraged to make an unprovoked assault, and when Autolycus resisted, summoned him before Lysander, confidently expecting that judgment would be given in his favour. But Lysander gave judgment against Eteonicus and dismissed him with a reprimand.

[9] All this redounds to the credit of Lysander, but the following incidents are a reproach. Philocles, the Athenian commander-in-chief at Aegospotami, along with four thousand other Athenian prisoners, were put to death by Lysander, who even refused them burial afterwards, a thing which even the Persians who landed at Marathon received from the Athenians, and the Lacedaemonians themselves who fell at Thermopylae received from King Xerxes. Lysander brought a yet deeper disgrace upon the Lacedaemonians by the Commissions of Ten he set over the cities and by the Laconian governors.

[10] Again, an oracle had warned the Lacedaemonians that only love of money could destroy Sparta, and so they were not used to acquiring wealth, yet Lysander aroused in the Spartans a strong desire for riches. I for my part follow the Persians, and judge by the Persian law, and decide that Lysander brought on the Lacedaemonians more harm than benefit.


In Haliartus too there is the tomb of Lysander and a hero-shrine of Cecrops the son of Pandion.

Mount Tilphusius and the spring called Tilphusa are about fifty stades away from Haliartus. The Greeks declare that the Argives, along with the sons of Polyneices, after capturing Thebes, were bringing Teiresias and some other of the spoil to the god at Delphi, when Teiresias, being thirsty, drank by the wayside of the Tilphusa, and forthwith gave up the ghost; his grave is by the spring.

[2] They say that the daughter of Teiresias was given to Apollo by the Argives, and at the command of the god crossed with ships to the Colophonian land in what is now called Ionia. Manto there married Rhacius, a Cretan. The rest of the history of Teiresias is known to all as a tradition: the number of years it is recorded that he lived, how he changed from a woman to a man, and that Homer in the Odyssey34 represents Teiresias as the only one in Hades endowed with intelligence.

[3] At Haliartus there is in the open a sanctuary of the goddesses they call Praxidicae (those who exact punishments). Here they swear, but they do not make the oath rashly. The sanctuary of the goddesses is near Mount Tilphusius. In Haliartus are temples, with no images inside, and without roofs. I could not discover either to whom these temples were built.


In the land of Haliartus there is a river Lophis. It is said that the land was originally arid and without water, so that one of the rulers came to Delphi and asked in what way they would find water in the land. The Pythian priestess, they say, commanded him to kill the man who should first meet him on his return to Haliartus. On his arrival he was met by his son Lophis, and at once smote the youth with his sword. Still living, the lad ran about, and where the blood ran water rose up from the earth. Wherefore the river is called Lophis.

[5] Alalcomenae is a small village, and it lies at the very foot of a mountain of no great height. Its name, some say, is derived from Alalcomeneus, an aboriginal, by whom Athena was brought up; others declare that Alalcomenia was one of the daughters of Ogygus. At some distance from the village on the level ground has been made a temple of Athena with an ancient image of ivory.

[6] Sulla's treatment of the Athenians was savage and foreign to the Roman character, but quite consistent with his treatment of Thebes and Orchomenus. But in Alalcomenae he added yet another to his crimes by stealing the image of Athena itself. After these mad outrages against the Greek cities and the gods of the Greeks he was attacked by the most foul of diseases. He broke out into lice, and what was formerly accounted his good fortune came to such an end. The sanctuary at Alalcomenae, deprived of the goddess, was hereafter neglected.

[7] In my time yet another incident added to the ruin of the temple. A large and strong ivy-tree grew over it, loosening the stones from their joints and tearing them apart. Here too there flows a river, a small torrent. They call it Triton, because the story is that beside a river Triton Athena was reared, the implication being that the Triton was this and not the river in Libya, which flows into the Libyan sea out of lake Tritonis.


Before reaching Coroneia from Alalcomenae we come to the sanctuary of Itonian Athena. It is named after Itonius the son of Amphictyon, and here the Boeotians gather for their general assembly. In the temple are bronze images of Itonian Athena and Zeus; the artist was Agoracritus, pupil and loved one of Pheidias. In my time they dedicated too images of the Graces.

[2] The following tale, too, is told. Iodama, who served the goddess as priestess, entered the precinct by night, where there appeared to her Athena, upon whose tunic was worked the head of Medusa the Gorgon. When Iodama saw it, she was turned to stone. For this reason a woman puts fire every day on the altar of Iodama, and as she does this she thrice repeats in the Boeotian dialect that Iodama is living and asking for fire.


On the market-place of Coroneia I found two remarkable things, an altar of Hermes Epimelius (Keeper of flocks) and an altar of the winds. A little lower down is a sanctuary of Hera with an ancient image, the work of Pythodorus of Thebes; in her hand she carries Sirens. For the story goes that the daughters of Achelous were persuaded by Hera to compete with the Muses in singing. The Muses won, plucked out the Sirens' feathers (so they say) and made crowns for themselves out of them.

[4] Some forty stades from Coroneia is Mount Libethrius, on which are images of the Muses and Nymphs surnamed Libethrian. There are springs too, one named Libethrias and the other Rock (Petra), which are shaped like a woman's breasts, and from them rises water like milk.


The distance from Coroneia to Mount Laphystius and the precinct of Laphystian Zeus is about twenty stades. The image is of stone. They say that when Athamas was about to sacrifice here Phrixus and Helle, a ram with his fleece of gold was sent by Zeus to the children, and that on the back of this ram they made good their escape. Higher up is a Heracles surnamed Charops (With bright eyes). Here, say the Boeotians, Heracles ascended with the hound of Hades. On the way down from Mount Laphystius to the sanctuary of Itonian Athena is the river Phalarus, which runs into the Cephisian lake.


Over against Mount Laphystius is Orchomenus, as famous a city as any in Greece. Once raised to the greatest heights of prosperity, it too was fated to fall almost as low as Mycenae and Delos. Its ancient history is confined to the following traditions. They say that Andreus, son of the river Peneius, was the first to settle here, and after him the land Andreis was named.

[7] When Athamas joined him, he assigned to him, of his own land, the territory round Mount Laphystius with what are now the territories of Coroneia and Haliartus. Athamas, thinking that none of his male children were left, adopted Haliartus and Coronus, the sons of Thersander, the son of Sisyphus, his brother. For he himself had put to death Learchus and Melicertes; Leucon had fallen sick and died; while as for Phrixus, Athamas did not know if he survived or had descendants surviving.

[8] When later Phrixus himself, according to some, or Presbon, according to others, returned from Colchis—Presbon was a son of Phrixus by the daughter of Aeetes—the sons of Thersander agreed that the house of Athamas belonged to Athamas and his descendants, while they themselves became founders of Haliartus and Coroneia, for Athamas gave them a part of his land.

[9] Even before this Andreus took to wife from Athamas Euippe, daughter of Leucon, and had a son, Eteocles. According to the report of the citizens, Eteocles was the son of the river Cephisus, wherefore some of the poets in their verses called him Cephisiades.

[10] When this Eteocles became king, he let the country be still called after Andreus, but he established two tribes, naming one Cephisias, and the other after himself. When Almus, the son of Sisyphus, came to him, he gave him to dwell in a little of the land, and a village was then called Almones after this Almus. Afterwards the name of the village that was generally adopted was Olmones.


The Boeotians say that Eteocles was the first man to sacrifice to the Graces. Moreover, they are aware that he established three as the number of the Graces, but they have no tradition of the names he gave them. The Lacedaemonians, however, say that the Graces are two, and that they were instituted by Lacedaemon, son of Taygete, who gave them the names of Cleta and Phaenna.

[2] These are appropriate names for Graces, as are those given by the Athenians, who from of old have worshipped two Graces, Auxo and Hegemone. Carpo is the name, not of a Grace, but of a Season. The other Season is worshipped together with Pandrosus by the Athenians, who call the goddess Thallo.

[3] It was from Eteocles of Orchomenus that we learned the custom of praying to three Graces. And Angelion and Tectaus, sons of Dionysus,35 who made the image of Apollo for the Delians, set three Graces in his hand. Again, at Athens, before the entrance to the Acropolis, the Graces are three in number; by their side are celebrated mysteries which must not be divulged to the many.

[4] Pamphos was the first we know of to sing about the Graces, but his poetry contains no information either as to their number or about their names. Homer36(he too refers to the Graces) makes one the wife of Hephaestus, giving her the name of Grace. He also says that Sleep was a lover of Pasithea, and in the speech of Sleep there is this verse:—“Verily that he would give me one of the younger Graces.
Hom. Il. 14.270-276Hence some have suspected that Homer knew of older Graces as well.

[5] Hesiod in the Theogony37 (though the authorship is doubtful, this poem is good evidence) says that the Graces are daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, giving them the names of Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia. The poem of Onomacritus agrees with this account. Antimachus, while giving neither the number of the Graces nor their names, says that they are daughters of Aegle and the Sun. The elegiac poet Hermesianax disagrees with his predecessors in that he makes Persuasion also one of the Graces.

[6] Who it was who first represented the Graces naked, whether in sculpture or in painting, I could not discover. During the earlier period, certainly, sculptors and painters alike represented them draped. At Smyrna, for instance, in the sanctuary of the Nemeses, above the images have been dedicated Graces of gold, the work of Bupalus; and in the Music Hall in the same city there is a portrait of a Grace, painted by Apelles. At Pergamus likewise, in the chamber of Attalus, are other images of Graces made by Bupalus;

[7] and near what is called the Pythium there is a portrait of Graces, painted by Pythagoras the Parian. Socrates too, son of Sophroniscus, made images of Graces for the Athenians, which are before the entrance to the Acropolis. All these are alike draped; but later artists, I do not know the reason, have changed the way of portraying them. Certainly to-day sculptors and painters represent Graces naked.


When Eteocles died the kingdom devolved on the family of Almus. Almus himself had daughters born to him, Chrysogeneia and Chryse. Tradition has it that Chryse, daughter of Almus, had by Ares a son Phlegyas, who, as Eteocles died childless, got the throne. To the whole country they gave the name of Phlegyantis instead of Andreis,

[2] and besides the originally founded city of Andreis, Phlegyas founded another, which he named after himself, collecting into it the best soldiers in Greece. In course of time the foolhardy and reckless Phlegyans seceded from Orchomenus and began to ravage their neighbors. At last they even marched against the sanctuary at Delphi to raid it, when Philammon with picked men of Argos went out to meet them, but he and his picked men perished in the engagement.

[3] That the Phlegyans took more pleasure in war than any other Greeks is also shown by the lines of the Iliad dealing with Ares and his son Panic:—“They twain were arming themselves for war to go to the Ephyrians,
Or to the great-hearted Phlegyans.
Hom. Il. 13.301-2By Ephyrians in this passage Homer means, I think, those in Thesprotis. The Phlegyan race was completely overthrown by the god with continual thunderbolts and violent earthquakes. The remnant were wasted by an epidemic of plague, but a few of them escaped to Phocis.


Phlegyas had no sons, and Chryses succeeded to the throne, a son of Poseidon by Chrysogeneia, daughter of Almus. This Chryses had a son called Minyas, and after him the people over whom he ruled are still called Minyans. The revenues that Minyas received were so great that he surpassed his predecessors in wealth, and he was the first man we know of to build a treasury to receive his riches.

[5] The Greeks appear apt to regard with greater wonder foreign sights than sights at home. For whereas distinguished historians have described the Egyptian pyramids with the minutest detail, they have not made even the briefest mention of the treasury of Minyas and the walls of Tiryns, though these are no less marvellous.


Minyas had a son Orchomenus, in whose reign the city was called Orchomenus and the men Orchomenians. Nevertheless, they continued to bear the additional name of Minyans, to distinguish them from the Orchomenians in Arcadia. To this Orchomenus during his kingship came Hyettus from Argos, who was an exile because of the slaying of Molurus, son of Arisbas, whom he caught with his wedded wife and killed. Orchomenus assigned to him such of the land as is now around the village Hyettus, and the land adjacent to this.

[7] Hyettus is also mentioned by the poet who composed the poem called by the Greeks the Great Eoeae:—“And Hyettus killed Molurus, the dear son of Arisbas,
In the halls, because of his wife's bed;
Leaving his home he fled from horse-breeding Argos,
And reached Minyan Orchomenus, and the hero
Welcomed him, and bestowed on him a portion of his possessions, as was fitting.
The Great Eoeae, unknown location.

[8] This Hyettus was the first man known to have exacted punishment from an adulterer. Later on, when Dracon was legislator for the Athenians, it was enacted in the laws which he drew up for the Athenians that the punishment of an adulterer should be one of the acts condoned by the State. So high did the reputation of the Minyans stand, that even Neleus, son of Cretheus, who was king of Pylus, took a wife from Orchomenus, namely Chloris, daughter of Amphion, son of Iasius.


But it was destined for the race of Almus too to come to an end. For Orchomenus left no child, and so the kingdom devolved on Clymenus, son of Presbon, son of Phrixus. Sons were born to Clymenus; the eldest was Erginus, the next after him were Stratius, Arrhon and Pyleus, while the youngest was Azeus. Clymenus was murdered at the feast of Onchestian Poseidon by men of Thebes, whom a trivial cause had thrown into a violent passion. So Erginus, the eldest of the sons of Glymenus, received the kingdom.

[2] Immediately he and his brothers gathered a force and attacked Thebes. Victorious in the battle, they then came to an agreement that the Thebans should pay tribute each year for the murder of Clymenus. But when Heracles had grown to manhood in Thebes, the Thebans were thus relieved of the tribute, and the Minyans suffered a grievous defeat in the war.

[3] Erginus, as his citizens had been utterly crushed, made peace with Heracles, but in his efforts to restore his former wealth and prosperity neglected everything else, so that unconsciously he came to a wifeless and childless old age. But when he had gathered riches, the desire seized him to have children.

[4] So going to Delphi he inquired of the oracle about children, and the Pythian priestess gave this reply:—“Erginus, son of Clymenus Presboniades,
Late thou camest seeking offspring, but even now
To the old plough-tree put a new tip.
”Obeying the oracle he took to himself a young wife, and had children, Trophonius and Agamedes.

[5] Trophonius is said to have been a son of Apollo, not of Erginus. This I am inclined to believe, as does everyone who has gone to Trophonius to inquire of his oracle. They say that these, when they grew up, proved clever at building sanctuaries for the gods and palaces for men. For they built the temple for Apollo at Delphi and the treasury for Hyrieus. One of the stones in it they made so that they could take it away from the outside. So they kept on removing something from the store. Hyrieus was dumbfounded when he saw keys and seals untampered with, while the treasure kept on getting less.

[6] So he set over the vessels, in which were his silver and gold, snares or other contrivance, to arrest any who should enter and lay hands on the treasure. Agamedes entered and was kept fast in the trap, but Trophonius cut off his head, lest when day came his brother should be tortured, and he himself be informed of as being concerned in the crime.

[7] The earth opened and swallowed up Trophonius at the point in the grove at Lebadeia where is what is called the pit of Agamedes, with a slab beside it. The kingdom of Orchomenus was taken by Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, said to be sons of Ares, while their mother was Astyoche, daughter of Actor, son of Azeus, son of Clymenus. Under the leadership of these the Minyans marched against Troy.

[8] Orchomenians also joined with the sons of Codrus in the expedition to Ionia. When expelled from their city by the Thebans they were restored again to Orchomenus by Philip the son of Amyntas. But Providence was to drag them ever lower and lower into decay.


At Orchomenus is a sanctuary of Dionysus, but the oldest is one of the Graces. They worship the stones most, and say that they fell for Eteocles out of heaven. The artistic images were dedicated in my time, and they too are of stone.

[2] They have also a fountain worth seeing, and go down to it to fetch water. The treasury of Minyas, a wonder second to none either in Greece itself or elsewhere, has been built in the following way. It is made of stone; its shape is round, rising to a rather blunt apex; they say that the highest stone is the keystone of the whole building.

[3] There are graves of Minyas and Hesiod. They say that they thus recovered the bones of Hesiod. A pestilence fell on men and beasts, so that they sent envoys to the god. To these, it is said, the Pythian priestess made answer that to bring the bones of Hesiod from the land of Naupactus to the land of Orchomenus was their one and only remedy. Whereupon the envoys asked a further question, where in the land of Naupactus they would find the bones; to which the Pythian priestess answered again that a crow would indicate to them the place.

[4] So when the envoys landed, they saw, it is said, a rock not far from the road, with the bird upon the rock; the bones of Hesiod they found in a cleft of the rock. Elegiac verses are inscribed on the tomb:—“Ascra rich in corn was his native land, but when Hesiod died,
The land of the horse-striking Minyans holds his bones,
Whose fame will rise very high in Greece
When men are judged by the touchstone of artistry.


About Actaeon the Orchomenians had the following story. A ghost, they say, carrying a rock38 was ravaging the land. When they inquired at Delphi, the god bade them discover the remains of Actaeon and bury them in the earth. He also bade them make a bronze likeness of the ghost and fasten it to a rock with iron. I have myself seen this image thus fastened. They also sacrifice every year to Actaeon as to a hero.


Seven stades from Orchomenus is a temple of Heracles with a small image. Here is the source of the river Melas (black), one of the streams running into the Cephisian Lake. The lake at all times covers the greater part of the Orchomenian territory, but in the winter season, after the south-west wind has generally prevailed, the water spreads over a yet greater extent of the territory.

[7] The Thebans declare that the river Cephisus was diverted into the Orchomenian plain by Heracles, and that for a time it passed under the mountain and entered the sea, until Heracles blocked up the chasm through the mountain. Now Homer too knows that the Cephisian Lake was a lake of itself, and not made by Heracles. Wherefore Homer says:—“Sloping towards the Cephisian Lake.
Hom. Il. 5.709

[8] It is not likely either that the Orchomenians would not have discovered the chasm, and, breaking down the work put up by Heracles, have given back to the Gephisus its ancient passage, since right down to the Trojan war they were a wealthy people. There is evidence in my favour in the passage of Homer where Achilles replies to the envoys from Agamemnon:—“Not even the wealth that comes to Orchomenus,
Hom. Il. 9.381a line that clearly shows that even then the revenues coming to Orchomenus were large.


They say that Aspledon was left by the inhabitants because of a shortage of water. They say also that the city got its name from Aspledon, who was a son of the nymph Mideia and Poseidon. Their view is confirmed by some verses composed by Chersias, a man of Orchomenus:—“To Poseidon and glorious Mideia
Was born Aspledon in the spacious city.
Chersias of Orchomenus, unknown location.

[10] The poem of Chersias was no longer extant in my day, but these verses are quoted by Callippus in the same history of Orchomenus. The Orchomenians have a tradition that this Chersias wrote also the inscription on the grave of Hesiod.


On the side towards the mountains the boundary of Orchomenus is Phocis, but on the plain it is Lebadeia. Originally this city stood on high ground, and was called Mideia after the mother of Aspledon. But when Lebadus came to it from Athens, the inhabitants went down to the low ground, and the city was named Lebadeia after him. Who was the father of Lebadus, and why he came, they do not know; they know only that the wife of Lebadus was Laonice.

[2] The city is no less adorned than the most prosperous of the Greek cities, and it is separated from the grove of Trophonius by the river Hercyna. They say that here Hercyna, when playing with the Maid, the daughter of Demeter, held a goose which against her will she let loose. The bird flew into a hollow cave and hid under a stone; the Maid entered and took the bird as it lay under the stone. The water flowed, they say, from the place where the Maid took up the stone, and hence the river received the name of Hercyna.

[3] On the bank of the river there is a temple of Hercyna, in which is a maiden holding a goose in her arms. In the cave are the sources of the river and images standing, and serpents are coiled around their scepters. One might conjecture the images to be of Asclepius and Health, but they might be Trophonius and Hercyna, because they think that serpents are just as much sacred to Trophonius as to Asclepius. By the side of the river is the tomb of Arcesilaus, whose bones, they say, were carried back from Troy by Leitus.

[4] The most famous things in the grove are a temple and image of Trophonius; the image, made by Praxiteles, is after the likeness of Asclepius. There is also a sanctuary of Demeter surnamed Europa, and a Zeus Rain-god in the open. If you go up to the oracle, and thence onwards up the mountain, you come to what is called the Maid's Hunting and a temple of King Zeus. This temple they have left half finished, either because of its size or because of the long succession of the wars. In a second temple are images of Cronus, Hera and Zeus. There is also a sanctuary of Apollo.


What happens at the oracle is as follows. When a man has made up his mind to descend to the oracle of Trophonius, he first lodges in a certain building for an appointed number of days, this being sacred to the good Spirit and to good Fortune. While he lodges there, among other regulations for purity he abstains from hot baths, bathing only in the river Hercyna. Meat he has in plenty from the sacrifices, for he who descends sacrifices to Trophonius himself and to the children of Trophonius, to Apollo also and Cronus, to Zeus surnamed King, to Hera Charioteer, and to Demeter whom they surname Europa and say was the nurse of Trophonius.

[6] At each sacrifice a diviner is present, who looks into the entrails of the victim, and after an inspection prophesies to the person descending whether Trophonius will give him a kind and gracious reception. The entrails of the other victims do not declare the mind of Trophonius so much as a ram, which each inquirer sacrifices over a pit on the night he descends, calling upon Agamedes. Even though the previous sacrifices have appeared propitious, no account is taken of them unless the entrails of this ram indicate the same; but if they agree, then the inquirer descends in good hope. The procedure of the descent is this.

[7] First, during the night he is taken to the river Hercyna by two boys of the citizens about thirteen years old, named Hermae, who after taking him there anoint him with oil and wash him. It is these who wash the descender, and do all the other necessary services as his attendant boys. After this he is taken by the priests, not at once to the oracle, but to fountains of water very near to each other.

[8] Here he must drink water called the water of Forgetfulness, that he may forget all that he has been thinking of hitherto, and afterwards he drinks of another water, the water of Memory, which causes him to remember what he sees after his descent. After looking at the image which they say was made by Daedalus (it is not shown by the priests save to such as are going to visit Trophonius), having seen it, worshipped it and prayed, he proceeds to the oracle, dressed in a linen tunic, with ribbons girding it, and wearing the boots of the country.

[9] The oracle is on the mountain, beyond the grove. Round it is a circular basement of white marble, the circumference of which is about that of the smallest threshing floor, while its height is just short of two cubits. On the basement stand spikes, which, like the cross-bars holding them together, are of bronze, while through them has been made a double door. Within the enclosure is a chasm in the earth, not natural, but artificially constructed after the most accurate masonry.

[10] The shape of this structure is like that of a bread-oven. Its breadth across the middle one might conjecture to be about four cubits, and its depth also could not be estimated to extend to more than eight cubits. They have made no way of descent to the bottom, but when a man comes to Trophonius, they bring him a narrow, light ladder. After going down he finds a hole between the floor and the structure. Its breadth appeared to be two spans, and its height one span.

[11] The descender lies with his back on the ground, holding barley-cakes kneaded with honey, thrusts his feet into the hole and himself follows, trying hard to get his knees into the hole. After his knees the rest of his body is at once swiftly drawn in, just as the largest and most rapid river will catch a man in its eddy and carry him under. After this those who have entered the shrine learn the future, not in one and the same way in all cases, but by sight sometimes and at other times by hearing. The return upwards is by the same mouth, the feet darting out first.

[12] They say that no one who has made the descent has been killed, save only one of the bodyguard of Demetrius. But they declare that he performed none of the usual rites in the sanctuary, and that he descended, not to consult the god but in the hope of stealing gold and silver from the shrine. It is said that the body of this man appeared in a different place, and was not cast out at the sacred mouth. Other tales are told about the fellow, but I have given the one most worthy of consideration.

[13] After his ascent from Trophonius the inquirer is again taken in hand by the priests, who set him upon a chair called the chair of Memory, which stands not far from the shrine, and they ask of him, when seated there, all he has seen or learned. After gaining this information they then entrust him to his relatives. These lift him, paralyzed with terror and unconscious both of himself and of his surroundings, and carry him to the building where he lodged before with Good Fortune and the Good Spirit. Afterwards, however, he will recover all his faculties, and the power to laugh will return to him.

[14] What I write is not hearsay; I have myself inquired of Trophonius and seen other inquirers. Those who have descended into the shrine of Trophonius are obliged to dedicate a tablet on which is written all that each has heard or seen. The shield also of Aristomenes is still preserved here. Its story I have already given in a former part of my work.39


This oracle was once unknown to the Boeotians, but they learned of it in the following way. As there had been no rain for a year and more, they sent to Delphi envoys from each city. These asked for a cure for the drought, and were bidden by the Pythian priestess to go to Trophonius at Lebadeia and to discover the remedy from him.

[2] Coming to Lebadeia they could not find the oracle. Thereupon Saon, one of the envoys from the city Acraephnium and the oldest of all the envoys, saw a swarm of bees. It occurred to him to follow himself wheresoever the bees turned. At once he saw the bees flying into the ground here, and he went with them into the oracle. It is said that Trophonius taught this Saon the customary ritual, and all the observances kept at the oracle.


Of the works of Daedalus there are these two in Boeotia, a Heracles in Thebes and the Trophonius at Lebadeia. There are also two wooden images in Crete, a Britomartis at Olus and an Athena at Cnossus, at which latter place is also Ariadne's Dance, mentioned by Homer in the Iliad,40 carved in relief on white marble. At Delos, too, there is a small wooden image of Aphrodite, its right hand defaced by time, and with a square base instead of feet.

[4] I am of opinion that Ariadne got this image from Daedalus, and when she followed Theseus, took it with her from home. Bereft of Ariadne, say the Delians, Theseus dedicated the wooden image of the goddess to the Delian Apollo, lest by taking it home he should be dragged into remembering Ariadne, and so find the grief for his love ever renewed. I know of no other works of Daedalus still in existence. For the images dedicated by the Argives in the Heraeum and those brought from Omphace to Gela in Sicily have disappeared in course of time.


Next to Lebadeia comes Chaeroneia. Its name of old was Arne, said to have been a daughter of Aeolus, who gave her name also to a city in Thessaly. The present name of Chaeroneia, they say, is derived from Chaeron, reputed to be a son of Apollo by Thero, a daughter of Phylas. This is confirmed also by the writer of the epic poem, the Great Eoeae:—

[6] “Phylas wedded a daughter of famous Iolais,
Leipephilene, like in form to the Olympian goddesses;
She bore him in the halls a son Hippotes,
And lovely Thero, like to the moonbeams.
Thero, falling into the embrace of Apollo,
Bore mighty Chaeron, tamer of horses.
The Great Eoeae, unknown location.Homer, I think, though he knew that Chaeroneia and Lebadeia were already so called, yet uses their ancient names, just as he speaks of the river Aegyptus, not the Nile.41


In the territory of Chaeroneia are two trophies, which the Romans under Sulla set up to commemorate their victory over the army of Mithridates under Taxilus. But Philip, son of Amyntas, set up no trophy, neither here nor for any other success, whether won over Greeks or non-Greeks, as the Macedonians were not accustomed to raise trophies.

[8] The Macedonians say that Caranus, king of Macedonia, overcame in battle Cisseus, a chieftain in a bordering country. For his victory Caranus set up a trophy after the Argive fashion, but it is said to have been upset by a lion from Olympus, which then vanished.

[9] Caranus, they assert, realized that it was a mistaken policy to incur the undying hatred of the non-Greeks dwelling around, and so, they say, the rule was adopted that no king of Macedonia, neither Caranus himself nor any of his successors, should set up trophies, if they were ever to gain the good-will of their neighbors. This story is confirmed by the fact that Alexander set up no trophies, neither for his victory over Dareius nor for those he won in India.


As you approach the city you see a common grave of the Thebans who were killed in the struggle against Philip. It has no inscription, but is surmounted by a lion, probably a reference to the spirit of the men. That there is no inscription is, in my opinion, because their courage was not favoured by appropriate good fortune.

[11] Of the gods, the people of Chaeroneia honor most the scepter which Homer says42 Hephaestus made for Zeus, Hermes received from Zeus and gave to Pelops, Pelops left to Atreus, Atreus to Thyestes, and Agamemnon had from Thyestes. This scepter, then, they worship, calling it Spear. That there is something peculiarly divine about this scepter is most clearly shown by the fame it brings to the Chaeroneans.

[12] They say that it was discovered on the border of their own country and of Panopeus in Phocis, that with it the Phocians discovered gold, and that they were glad themselves to get the scepter instead of the gold. I am of opinion that it was brought to Phocis by Agamemnon's daughter Electra. It has no public temple made for it, but its priest keeps the scepter for one year in a house. Sacrifices are offered to it every day, and by its side stands a table full of meats and cakes of all sorts.


Poets have sung, and the tradition of men has followed them, that Hephaestus made many works of art, but none is authentic except only the scepter of Agamemnon. However, the Lycians in Patara show a bronze bowl in their temple of Apollo, saying that Telephus dedicated it and Hephaestus made it, apparently in ignorance of the fact that the first to melt bronze were the Samians Theodorus and Rhoecus.

[2] The Achaeans of Patrae assert indeed that Hephaestus made the chest brought by Eurypylus from Troy, but they do not actually exhibit it to view. In Cyprus is a city Amathus, in which is an old sanctuary of Adonis and Aphrodite. Here they say is dedicated a necklace given originally to Harmonia, but called the necklace of Eriphyle, because it was the bribe she took to betray her husband. It was dedicated at Delphi by the sons of Phegeus (how they got it I have already related in my history of Arcadia),43 but it was carried off by the tyrants of Phocis.

[3] However, I do not think that it is in the sanctuary of Adonis at Amathus. For the necklace at Amathus is composed of green stones held together by gold, but the necklace given to Eriphyle was made entirely of gold, according to Homer, who says in the Odyssey:—“Who received precious gold, the price of her own husband.
Hom. Od. 11.327Not that Homer was unaware of necklaces made of various materials.

[4] For example, in the speech of Eumaeus to Odysseus before Telemachus reaches the court from Pylus, he says:—“There came a cunning man to the home of my father,
With a necklace of gold strung with amber in between.
Hom. Od. 15.459

[5] Again, in the passage called the gifts of Penelope, for he represents the wooers, Eurymachus among them, offering her gifts, he says:—“And Eurymachus straightway brought a necklace of varied materials,
Of gold strung with pieces of amber, like the sun.
Hom. Od. 18.295But Homer does not say that the necklace given to Eriphyle was of gold varied with stones. So probably the scepter is the only work of Hephaestus.


There is beyond the city a crag called Petrachus. Here they hold that Cronus was deceived, and received from Rhea a stone instead of Zeus, and there is a small image of Zeus on the summit of the mountain.

[7] Here in Chaeroneia they distil unguents from flowers, namely, the lily, the rose, the narcissus and the iris. These prove to be cures for the pains of men. The unguent from the rose, if it be smeared on wooden images, prevents their decaying. The iris grows in marshes, is in size as large as a lily, but is not white in color, and smells less sweet.

1 387 B.C

2 373 B.C

3 See Paus. 10.5.3.

4 See paus. 9.1.

5 See 2.6.1

6 479 B.C

7 424 B.C

8 394 B.C

9 See Paus. 1.25.3.

10 The Greek word suggests that the Witches' power lay in their knowledge of drugs.

11 403 B.C

12 378 B.C

13 “Neighbors,” Perioeci, Sparta's free neighbors with no political rights.

14 371 B.C

15 362 B.C

16 The second reading mentioned in the critical note would give the translation:— “two images, dedicated by Amphitryon, . . . said to be of Athena, etc.”

17 See Paus. 1.44.4.

18 See Paus. 1.23.3.

19 Hom. 2.307

20 Hom. Od. 1.52

21 Hom. Od. 11.305

22 Pind. P. 4.156 (88).

23 See Paus. 10.38.1.

24 Hom. Il. 2.502

25 Paus. 9.34.10 and Paus. 9.36.6.

26 Hom. Il. 2.506; HH 2.186.

27 Hes. Th. 116 foll.

28 See Paus. 1.20.1.

29 Pausanias misquotes.

30 See Hes. Th. 30.

31 See Hes. WD 2 foll.

32 According to some interpreters we should read “Olmius.”

33 See Paus. 9.24.6-7.

34 See Hom. Il. 10.493 foll.

35 The text here is corrupt. The two emendations mentioned in the critical notes would give either (a) “the pair who made . . ."or (b) “who made the statue of Dionysodotus for the Delians. . .”

36 Hom. Il. 18.382 foll.

37 Hes. Th. 907

38 With the proposed emendation “was running about and ravaging.”

39 See Paus. 4.16.7 to Paus. 4.32.6.

40 See Hom. Il. 18.590 foll.

41 See Hom. Il. 2.507 and Hom. Od. 4.477 and Hom. Od. 4.581, Hom. Od. 14.258.

42 Hom. Il. 2.101 foll.

43 See Paus. 8.24.10.

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