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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 7: Polymnia [120]

120. Then was uttered a word well spoken by Megacreon, a man of Abdera, who advised those of Abdera to go in a body, both themselves and their wives, to their temples, and to sit down as suppliants of the gods, entreating them that for the future also they would ward off from them the half of the evils which threatened; and he bade them feel great thankfulness to the gods for the past events, because king Xerxes had not thought good to take food twice in each day; for if it had been ordered to them beforehand to prepare breakfast also in like manner as the dinner, it would have remained for the men of Abdera either not to await the coming of Xerxes, or if they stayed, to be crushed by misfortune more than any other men upon the Earth.

120. [1] ἔνθα δὴ Μεγακρέοντος ἀνδρὸς Ἀβδηρίτεω ἔπος εὖ εἰρημένον ἐγένετο, ὃς συνεβούλευσε Ἀβδηρίτῃσι πανδημεί, αὐτοὺς καὶ γυναῖκας, ἐλθόντας ἐς τὰ σφέτερα ἱρὰ ἵζεσθαι ἱκέτας τῶν θεῶν παραιτεομένους καὶ τὸ λοιπόν σφι ἀπαμύνειν τῶν ἐπιόντων κακῶν τὰ ἡμίσεα, τῶν τε παροιχομένων ἔχειν σφι μεγάλην χάριν, ὅτι βασιλεὺς Ξέρξης οὐ δὶς ἑκάστης ἡμέρης ἐνόμισε σῖτον αἱρέεσθαι· [2] παρέχειν γὰρ ἂν Ἀβδηρίτῃσι, εἰ καὶ ἄριστον προείρητο ὅμοια τῷ δείπνῳ παρασκευάζειν, ἢ μὴ ὑπομένειν Ξέρξην ἐπιόντα ἢ καταμείναντας κάκιστα πάντων ἀνθρώπων διατριβῆναι.

121. They then, I say, though hard put to it, yet were performing that which was appointed to them; and from Acanthos Xerxes, after having commanded the generals to wait for the fleet at Therma, let the ships take their course apart from himself, (now this Therma is that which is situated on the Thermaic gulf, from which also this gulf has its name); and thus he did because he was informed that this was the shortest way: for from Doriscos as far as Acanthos the army had been making its march thus:--Xerxes had divided the whole land-army into three divisions, and one of them he had set to go along the sea accompanying the fleet, of which division Mardonios and Masistes were commanders; another third of the army had been appointed to go by the inland way, and of this the generals in command were Tritantaichmes and Gergis; and meanwhile the third of the subdivisions, with which Xerxes himself went, marched in the middle between them, and acknowledged as its commanders Smerdomenes and Megabyzos.

121. [1] οἳ μὲν δὴ πιεζόμενοι ὅμως τὸ ἐπιτασσόμενον ἐπετέλεον. Ξέρξης δὲ ἐκ τῆς Ἀκάνθου, ἐντειλάμενος τοῖσι στρατηγοῖσι τοῦ ναυτικοῦ στρατοῦ ὑπομένειν ἐν Θέρμῃ, ἀπῆκε ἀπ᾽ ἑωυτοῦ πορεύεσθαι τὰς νέας, Θέρμῃ δὲ τῇ ἐν τῷ Θερμαίῳ κόλπῳ οἰκημένῃ, ἀπ᾽ ἧς καὶ ὁ κόλπος οὗτος τὴν ἐπωνυμίην ἔχει· ταύτῃ γὰρ ἐπυνθάνετο συντομώτατον εἶναι. [2] μέχρι μὲν γὰρ Ἀκάνθου ὧδε τεταγμένος ὁ στρατὸς ἐκ Δορίσκου τὴν ὁδὸν ἐποιέετο· τρεῖς μοίρας ὁ Ξέρξης δασάμενος πάντα τὸν πεζὸν στρατόν, μίαν αὐτέων ἔταξε παρὰ θάλασσαν ἰέναι ὁμοῦ τῷ ναυτικῷ· [3] ταύτης μὲν δὴ ἐστρατήγεον Μαρδόνιός τε καὶ Μασίστης, ἑτέρη δὲ τεταγμένη ἤιε τοῦ στρατοῦ τριτημορὶς τὴν μεσόγαιαν, τῆς ἐστρατήγεον Τριτανταίχμης τε καὶ Γέργις· ἡ δὲ τρίτη τῶν μοιρέων, μετ᾽ ἧς ἐπορεύετο αὐτὸς Ξέρξης, ἤιε μὲν τὸ μέσον αὐτῶν, στρατηγοὺς δὲ παρείχετο Σμερδομένεά τε καὶ Μεγάβυζον.

122. The fleet, when it was let go by Xerxes and had sailed right through the channel made in Athos (which went across to the gulf on which are situated the cities of Assa, Piloros, Singos and Sarte), having taken up a contingent from these cities also, sailed thence with a free course to the Thermaïc gulf, and turning round Ampelos the headland of Torone, it left on one side the following Hellenic cities, from which it took up contingents of ships and men, namely Torone, Galepsos, Sermyle, Mekyberna, Olynthos: this region is called Sithonia. 122. [1] ὁ μέν νυν ναυτικὸς στρατὸς ὡς ἀπείθη ὑπὸ Ξέρξεω καὶ διεξέπλωσε τὴν διώρυχα τὴν ἐν τῷ Ἄθῳ γενομένην, διέχουσαν δὲ ἐς κόλπον ἐν τῷ Ἄσσα τε πόλις καὶ Πίλωρος καὶ Σίγγος καὶ Σάρτη οἴκηνται, ἐνθεῦτεν, ὡς καὶ ἐκ τουτέων τῶν πολίων στρατιὴν παρέλαβε, ἔπλεε ἀπιέμενος ἐς τὸν Θερμαῖον κόλπον, κάμπτων δὲ Ἄμπελον τὴν Τορωναίην ἄκρην παραμείβετο Ἑλληνίδας γε τάσδε πόλις, ἐκ τῶν νέας τε καὶ στρατιὴν παρελάμβανε, Τορώνην Γαληψὸν Σερμύλην Μηκύβερναν Ὄλυνθον. ἡ μέν νυν χώρη αὕτη Σιθωνίη καλέεται.

123. And the fleet of Xerxes, cutting across from the headland of Ampelos to that of Canastron, which runs out furthest to sea of all Pallene, took up there contingents of ships and men from Potidaia, Aphytis, Neapolis, Aige, Therambo, Skione, Mende and Sane, for these are the cities which occupy the region which now is called Pallene, but was formerly called Phlegra. Then sailing along the coast of this country also the fleet continued its course towards the place which has been mentioned before, taking up contingents also from the cities which come next after Pallene and border upon the Thermaïc gulf; and the names of them are these,--Lipaxos, Combreia, Lisai, Gigonos, Campsa, Smila, Aineia; and the region in which these cities are is called even to the present day Crossaia. Then sailing from Aineia, with which name I brought to an end the list of the cities, at once the fleet came into the Thermaïc gulf and to the region of Mygdonia, and so it arrived at the aforesaid Therma and at the cities of Sindos and Chalestra upon the river Axios. This river is the boundary between the land of Mygdonia and Bottiaia, of which district the narrow region which lies on the sea coast is occupied by the cities of Ichnai and Pella.

123. [1] ὁ δὲ ναυτικὸς στρατὸς ὁ Ξέρξεω συντάμνων ἀπ᾽ Ἀμπέλου ἄκρης ἐπὶ Καναστραίην ἄκρην, τὸ δὴ πάρης τῆς Παλλήνης ἀνέχει μάλιστα, ἐνθεῦτεν νέας τε καὶ στρατιὴν παρελάμβανε ἐκ Ποτιδαίης καὶ Ἀφύτιος καὶ Νέης πόλιος καὶ Αἰγῆς καὶ Θεράμβω καὶ Σκιώνης καὶ Μένδης καὶ Σάνης· αὗται γὰρ εἰσὶ αἱ τὴν νῦν Παλλήνην πρότερον δὲ Φλέγρην καλεομένην νεμόμεναι. [2] παραπλέων δὲ καὶ ταύτην τὴν χώρην ἔπλεε ἐς τὸ προειρημένον, παραλαμβάνων στρατιὴν καὶ ἐκ τῶν προσεχέων πολίων τῇ Παλλήνῃ, ὁμουρεουσέων δὲ τῷ Θερμαίῳ κόλπῳ, τῇσι οὐνόματα ἐστὶ τάδε, Λίπαξος Κώμβρεια Αἷσα Γίγωνος Κάμψα Σμίλα Αἴνεια· ἡ δε τουτέων χώρη Κροσσαίη ἔτι καὶ ἐς τόδε καλέεται. [3] ἀπὸ δὲ Αἰνείης, ἐς τὴν ἐτελεύτων καταλέγων τὰς πόλις, ἀπὸ ταύτης ἤδη ἐς αὐτόν τε τὸν Θερμαῖον κόλπον ἐγίνετο τῷ ναυτικῷ στρατῷ ὁ πλόος καὶ γῆν τὴν Μυγδονίην, πλέων δὲ ἀπίκετο ἔς τε τὴν προειρημένην Θέρμην καὶ Σίνδον τε πόλιν καὶ Χαλέστρην ἐπὶ τὸν Ἄξιον ποταμόν, ὃς οὐρίζει χώρην τὴν Μυγδονίην τε καὶ Βοττιαιίδα, τῆς ἔχουσι τὸ παρὰ θάλασσαν στεινὸν χωρίον πόλιες Ἴχναι τε καὶ Πέλλα.

124. Now while his naval force was encamped about the river Axios an the city of Therma and the cities which lie between these two, waiting for the coming of the king, Xerxes and the land-army were proceeding from Acanthos, cutting through the middle by the shortest way with a view to reaching Therma: and he was proceeding through Paionia and Crestonia to the river Cheidoros, which beginning from the land of the Crestonians, runs through the region of Mygdonia and comes out alongside of the marsh which is by the river Axios. 124. [1] ὁ μὲν δὴ ναυτικὸς στρατὸς αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἄξιον ποταμὸν καὶ πόλιν Θέρμην καὶ τὰς μεταξὺ πόλιας τούτων περιμένων Βασιλέα ἐστρατοπεδεύετο, Ξέρξης δὲ καὶ ὁ πεζὸς στρατὸς ἐπορεύετο ἐκ τῆς Ἀκάνθου τὴν μεσόγαιαν τάμνων τῆς ὁδοῦ, βουλόμενος ἐς τὴν Θέρμην ἀπικέσθαι· ἐπορεύετο δὲ διὰ τῆς Παιονικῆς καὶ Κρηστωνικῆς ἐπὶ ποταμὸν Χείδωρον, ὃς ἐκ Κρηστωναίων ἀρξάμενος ῥέει διὰ Μυγδονίης χώρης καὶ ἐξιεῖ παρὰ τὸ ἕλος τὸ ἐπ᾽ Ἀξίῳ ποταμῷ.

125. As he was proceeding by this way, lions attacked the camels which carried his provisions; for the lions used to come down regularly by night, leaving their own haunts, but they touched nothing else, neither beast of burden nor man, but killed the camels only: and I marvel what was the cause, and what was it that impelled the lions to abstain from all else and to attack the camels only, creatures which they had never seen before, and of which they had had no experience. 125. [1] πορευομένῳ δὲ ταύτῃ λέοντές οἱ ἐπεθήκαντο τῇσι σιτοφόροισι καμήλοισι. καταφοιτέοντες γὰρ οἱ λέοντες τὰς νύκτας καὶ λείποντες τὰ σφέτερα ἤθεα ἄλλου μὲν οὐδενὸς ἅπτοντο οὔτε ὑποζυγίου οὔτε ἀνθρώπου, οἳ δὲ τὰς καμήλους ἐκεράιζον μούνας. θωμάζω δὲ τὸ αἴτιον, ὅ τι κοτὲ ἦν τῶν ἄλλων τὸ ἀναγκάζον ἀπεχομένους τοὺς λέοντας τῇσι καμήλοισι ἐπιτίθεσθαι, τὸ μήτε πρότερον ὀπώπεσαν θηρίον μήτ᾽ ἐπεπειρέατο αὐτοῦ.

126. Now there are in these parts both many lions and also wild oxen, those that have the very large horns which are often brought into Hellas: and the limit within which these lions are found is on the one side the river Nestos, which flows through Abdera, and on the other the Achelos, which flows through Acarnania; for neither do the East of the Nestos, in any part of Europe before you come to this, would you see a lion, nor again in the remaining part of the continent to the West of the Acheloos, but they are produced in the middle space between these rivers.

126. [1] εἰσὶ δὲ κατὰ ταῦτα τὰ χωρία καὶ λέοντες πολλοὶ καὶ βόες ἄγριοι, τῶν τὰ κέρεα ὑπερμεγάθεα ἐστὶ τὰ ἐς Ἕλληνας φοιτέοντα. οὖρος δὲ τοῖσι λέουσι ἐστὶ ὅ τε δι᾽ Ἀβδήρων ῥέων ποταμὸς Νέστος καὶ ὁ δι᾽ Ἀκαρνανίης ῥέων Ἀχελῷος· οὔτε γὰρ τὸ πρὸς τὴν ἠῶ τοῦ Νέστου οὐδαμόθι πάσης τῆς ἔμπροσθε Εὐρώπης ἴδοι τις ἂν λέοντα, οὔτε πρὸς ἑσπέρης τοῦ Ἀχελῴου ἐν τῇ ἐπιλοίπῳ ἠπείρῳ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τῇ μεταξὺ τούτων τῶν ποταμῶν γίνονται.

127. When Xerxes had reached Therma he established the army there; and his army encamping there occupied of the land along by the sea no less than this,--beginning from the city of Therma and from Mygdonia it extended as far as the river Lydias and the Haliacmon, which form the boundary between the lands of Bottiaia and Macedonia, mingling their waters together in one and the same stream. The Barbarians, I say, were encamped in these regions; and of the rivers which have been enumerated, only the river Cheidoros flowing from the Crestonian land was insufficient for the drinking of the army and failed in its stream.

127. [1] ὡς δὲ ἐς τὴν Θέρμην ἀπίκετο ὁ Ξέρξης, ἵδρυσε αὐτοῦ τὴν στρατιήν. ἐπέσχε δὲ ὁ στρατὸς αὐτοῦ στρατοπεδευόμενος τὴν παρὰ θάλασσαν χώρην τοσήνδε, ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ Θέρμης πόλιος καὶ τῆς Μυγδονίης μέχρι Λυδίεώ τε ποταμοῦ καὶ Ἁλιάκμονος, οἳ οὐρίζουσι γῆν τὴν Βοττιαιίδα τε καὶ Μακεδονίδα, ἐς τὠυτὸ ῥέεθρον τὸ ὕδωρ συμμίσγοντες. [2] ἐστρατοπεδεύοντο μὲν δὴ ἐν τούτοισι τοῖσι χωρίοισι οἱ βάρβαροι, τῶν δὲ καταλεχθέντων τούτων ποταμῶν ἐκ Κρηστωναίων ῥέων Χείδωρος μοῦνος οὐκ ἀντέχρησε τῇ στρατιῇ πινόμενος ἀλλ᾽ ἐπέλιπε.

128. Then Xerxes seeing from Therma the mountains of Thessaly, Olympos and Ossa, that they were of very great height, and being informed that in the midst between them there was a narrow channel, through which flows the Peneios, and hearing also that by this way there was a good road leading to Thessaly, formed a desire to sail thither and look at the outlet of the Peneios, because he was meaning to march by the upper road, through the land of the Macedonians who dwell inland, until he came to the Perraibians, passing by the city of Gonnos; for by this way he was informed that it was safest to go. And having formed this desire, so also he proceeded to do; that is, he embarked in a Sidonian ship, the same in which he used always to embark when he wished to do anything of this kind, and he displayed a signal for the others to put out to sea also, leaving there the land-army. Then when Xerxes had looked at the outlet of the Peneios, he was possessed by great wonder, and summoning his guides he asked them whether it was possible to turn the river aside and bring it out to the sea by another way. 128. [1] Ξέρξης δὲ ὁρέων ἐκ τῆς Θέρμης ὄρεα τὰ Θεσσαλικά, τόν τε Ὄλυμπον καὶ τὴν Ὄσσαν, μεγάθεΐ τε ὑπερμήκεα ἐόντα, διὰ μέσου τε αὐτῶν αὐλῶνα στεινὸν πυνθανόμενος εἶναι δι᾽ οὗ ῥέει ὁ Πηνειός, ἀκούων τε ταύτῃ εἶναι ὁδὸν ἐς Θεσσαλίην φέρουσαν, ἐπεθύμησε πλώσας θεήσασθαι τὴν ἐκβολὴν τοῦ Πηνειοῦ, ὅτι τὴν ἄνω ὁδὸν ἔμελλε ἐλᾶν διὰ Μακεδόνων τῶν κατύπερθε οἰκημένων ἔστε Περραιβοὺς παρὰ Γόννον πόλιν· ταύτῃ γὰρ ἀσφαλέστατον ἐπυνθάνετο εἶναι. [2] ὡς δὲ ἐπεθύμησε, καὶ ἐποίεε ταῦτα· ἐσβὰς ἐς Σιδωνίην νέα, ἐς τήν περ ἐσέβαινε αἰεὶ ὅκως τι ἐθέλοι τοιοῦτο ποιῆσαι, ἀνέδεξε σημήιον καὶ τοῖσι ἄλλοισι ἀνάγεσθαι, καταλιπὼν αὐτοῦ τὸν πεζὸν στρατόν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀπίκετο καὶ ἐθεήσατο Ξέρξης τὴν ἐκβολὴν τοῦ Πηνειοῦ, ἐν θώματι μεγάλῳ ἐνέσχετο, καλέσας δὲ τοὺς κατηγεμόνας τῆς ὁδοῦ εἴρετο εἰ τὸν ποταμὸν ἐστὶ παρατρέψαντα ἑτέρῃ ἐς θάλασσαν ἐξαγαγεῖν.

129. Now it is said that Thessaly was in old time a lake, being enclosed on all sides by very lofty mountains: for the parts of it which lie towards the East are shut in by the ranges of Pelion and Ossa, which join one another in their lower slopes, the parts towards the North Wind by Olympos, those towards the West by Pindos and those towards the mid-day and the South Wind by Othrys; and the region in the midst, between these mountains which have been named, is Thessaly, forming as it were a hollow. Whereas then many rivers flow into it and among them these five of most note, namely Peneios, Apidanos, Onochonos, Enipeus and Pamisos, these, which collect their waters from the mountains that enclose Thessaly round, and flow into this plain, with names separate each one, having their outflow into the sea by one channel and that a narrow one, first mingling their waters all together in one and the same stream; and so soon as they are mingled together, from that point onwards the Peneios prevails with its name over the rest and causes the others to lose their separate names. And it is said that in ancient time, there not being yet this channel and outflow between the mountains, these rivers, and besides these rivers the lake Boibeïs also, had no names as they have now, but by their waters they made Thessaly to be all sea. The Thessalians themselves say that Poseidon made the channel through which the Peneios flows; and reasonably they report it thus, because whosoever believes that it is Poseidon who shakes the Earth and that the partings asunder produced by earthquake are the work of this god, would say, if he saw this, that it was made by Poseidon; for the parting asunder of the mountains is the work of an earthquake, as is evident to me. 129. [1] τὴν δὲ Θεσσαλίην λόγος ἐστὶ τὸ παλαιὸν εἶναι λίμνην, ὥστε γε συγκεκληιμένην πάντοθεν ὑπερμήκεσι ὄρεσι. τὰ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῆς πρὸς τὴν ἠῶ ἔχοντα τό τε Πήλιον ὄρος καὶ ἡ Ὄσσα ἀποκληίει συμμίσγοντα τὰς ὑπωρείας ἀλλήλοισι, τὰ δὲ πρὸς βορέω ἀνέμου Ὄλυμπος, τὰ δὲ πρὸς ἑσπέρην Πίνδος, τὰ δὲ πρὸς μεσαμβρίην τε καὶ ἄνεμον νότον ἡ Ὄθρυς· τὸ μέσον δὲ τούτων τῶν λεχθέντων ὀρέων ἡ Θεσσαλίη ἐστὶ ἐοῦσα κοίλη. [2] ὥστε ὦν ποταμῶν ἐς αὐτὴν καὶ ἄλλων συχνῶν ἐσβαλλόντων, πέντε δὲ τῶν δοκίμων μάλιστα τῶνδε, Πηνειοῦ καὶ Ἀπιδανοῦ καὶ Ὀνοχώνου καὶ Ἐνιπέος καὶ Παμίσου, οἳ μέν νυν ἐς τὸ πεδίον τοῦτο συλλεγόμενοι ἐκ τῶν ὀρέων τῶν περικληιόντων τὴν Θεσσαλίην ὀνομαζόμενοι δι᾽ ἑνὸς αὐλῶνος καὶ τούτου στεινοῦ ἔκροον ἔχουσι ἐς θάλασσαν, προσυμμίσγοντες τὸ ὕδωρ πάντες ἐς τὠυτό· [3] ἐπεὰν δὲ συμμιχθέωσι τάχιστα, ἐνθεῦτεν ἤδη ὁ Πηνειὸς τῷ οὐνόματι κατακρατέων ἀνωνύμους τοὺς ἄλλους εἶναι ποιέει. τὸ δὲ παλαιὸν λέγεται, οὐκ ἐόντος κω τοῦ αὐλῶνος καὶ διεκρόου τούτου, τοὺς ποταμοὺς τούτους, καὶ πρὸς τοῖσι ποταμοῖσι τούτοισι τὴν Βοιβηίδα λίμνην, οὔτε ὀνομάζεσθαι κατά περ νῦν ῥέειν τε οὐδὲν ἧσσον ἢ νῦν, ῥέοντας δὲ ποιέειν τὴν Θεσσαλίην πᾶσαν πέλαγος. [4] αὐτοὶ μέν νυν Θεσσαλοί φασι Ποσειδέωνα ποιῆσαι τὸν αὐλῶνα δι᾽ οὗ ῥέει ὁ Πηνειός, οἰκότα λέγοντες· ὅστις γὰρ νομίζει Ποσειδέωνα τὴν γῆν σείειν καὶ τὰ διεστεῶτα ὑπὸ σεισμοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τούτου ἔργα εἶναι, κἂν ἐκεῖνο ἰδὼν φαίη Ποσειδέωνα ποιῆσαι· ἔστι γὰρ σεισμοῦ ἔργον, ὡς ἐμοὶ φαίνεται εἶναι, ἡ διάστασις τῶν ὀρέων.

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