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When Hercules had been translated to the gods, his sons fled from Eurystheus and came to Ceyx.Ceyx, king of Trachis, who had given shelter and hospitality to Herakles. See above, Apollod. 2.7.7. Compare Diod. 4.57, who agrees with Apollodorus as to the threats of Eurystheus and the consequent flight of the children of Herakles from Trachis to Athens. According to Hecataeus, quoted by Longinus, De sublimitate 27, king Ceyx ordered them out of the country, pleading his powerlessness to protect them. Compare Paus. 1.32.6. But when Eurystheus demanded their surrender and threatened war, they were afraid, and, quitting Trachis, fled through Greece. Being pursued, they came to Athens, and sitting down on the altar of Mercy, claimed protection.Compare Scholiast on Aristoph. Kn. 1151, who mentions that the Heraclids took refuge at the altar of Mercy. As to the altar of Mercy see below, Apollod. 3.7.1 note. A
When they had come to the Isthmus, the Greeks, taking into account what was said by Alexander, deliberated as a body how and where they should stand to fight. It was decided that they should guard the pass of Thermopylae, for they saw that it was narrower than the pass into Thessaly and nearer home. The pass, then, which brought about the fall of those Greeks who fell at Thermopylae, was unknown to them until they came to Thermopylae and learned of it from the men of Trachis. This pass they were resolved to guard and so stay the barbarian's passage into Hellas, while their fleet should sail to Artemisium in the territory of Histiaea. These places are near to each other, and each force could therefore be informed of the other's doings. As for the places themselves, their nature is as follows.
Artemisium is where the wide Thracian sea contracts until the passage between the island of Sciathus and the mainland of Magnesia is but narrow. This strait leads next to Artemisium, which is a beach on the coast of Euboea, on which stands a temple of Artemis. The pass through Trachis into HellasHellas in the narrower sense, not including Thessaly. is fifty feet wide at its narrowest point. It is not here, however, but elsewhere that the way is narrowest, namely, in front of Thermopylae and behind it; at Alpeni, which lies behind, it is only the breadth of a cart-way, and it is the same at the Phoenix stream, near the town of Anthele. To the westHerodotus' points of the compass are wrong throughout in his description of Thermopylae; the road runs east and west, not north and south as he supposes; so “west” here should be “south” and “east” “north.” “In front” and “behind” are equivalent to “west” and “east” respectively. of Thermopylae rises a high mountain,
These were Xerxes' actions in Thessaly and Achaea. From here he came into Malis along a gulf of the sea, in which the tide ebbs and flows daily.Tidal movement is rare in the Mediterranean. But there is a strong ebb and flood in the Euripus, which is not far from the Malian gulf. There is low-lying ground about this gulf, sometimes wide and sometimes very narrow, and around it stand high and inaccessible mountains which enclose the whole of Malis and are called the Rocks of Trachis. Now the first town by the gulf on the way from Achaea is Anticyra, near to which the river Spercheus flows from the country of the Enieni and issues into the sea. About twenty furlongs from that river is another named Dyras, which is said to have risen from the ground to aid Heracles against the fire that consumed him and twenty furlongs again from that there is another river called the Black river.
The town of Trachis is five furlongs away from this Black river. Here is the greatest distance in all this region between the sea and the hills on which Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains whichhich Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains which hem in the Trachinian land there is a ravine to the south of Trachis, through which the river Asopus flows past the lower slopes of the mountains. hich Trachis stands, for the plain is twenty-two thousand plethra in extent.This must be a measure not of length but of superficial extent: more than 5000 acres. In the mountains which hem in the Trachinian land there is a ravine to the south of Trachis, through which the river Asopus flows past the lower slopes of the mountains.