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

Herodotus Book 7: Polymnia [200]

200. There is also another river called Phoinix, to the South of the Asopos, of no great size, which flowing from these mountains runs out into the Asopos; and at the river Phoinix is the narrowest place, for here has been constructed a road with a single wheel-track only. Then from the river Phoinix it is a distance of fifteen furlongs to Thermopylai; and in the space between the river Phoinix and Thermopylai there is a village called Anthela, by which the river Asopos flows, and so runs out into the sea; and about this village there is a wide space in which is set up a temple dedicated to Demeter of the Amphictyons, and there are seats for the Amphictyonic councillors and a temple dedicated to Amphictyon himself.

200. [1] ἔστι δὲ ἄλλος Φοῖνιξ ποταμὸς οὐ μέγας πρὸς μεσαμβρίην τοῦ Ἀσωποῦ, ὃς ἐκ τῶν ὀρέων τούτων ῥέων ἐς τὸν Ἀσωπὸν ἐκδιδοῖ. κατὰ δὲ τὸν Φοίνικα ποταμὸν στεινότατον ἐστί· ἁμαξιτὸς γὰρ μούνη δέδμηται. ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ Φοίνικος ποταμοῦ πεντεκαίδεκα στάδια ἐστὶ ἐς Θερμοπύλας. [2] ἐν δὲ τῷ μεταξὺ Φοίνικος ποταμοῦ καὶ Θερμοπυλέων κώμη τε ἐστὶ τῇ οὔνομα Ἀνθήλη κεῖται, παρ᾽ ἣν δὴ παραρρέων ὁ Ἀσωπὸς ἐς θάλασσαν ἐκδιδοῖ, καὶ χῶρος περὶ αὐτὴν εὐρύς, ἐν τῷ Δήμητρός τε ἱρὸν Ἀμφικτυονίδος ἵδρυται καὶ ἕδραι εἰσὶ Ἀμφικτύοσι καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ Ἀμφικτύονος ἱρόν.

201. King Xerxes, I say, was encamped within the region of Trachis in the land of the Malians, and the Hellenes within the pass. This place is called by the Hellenes in general Thermopylai, but by the natives of the place and those who dwell in the country round it is called Pylai. Both sides then were encamped hereabout, and the one had command of all that lies beyond Trachis in the direction of the North Wind, and the others of that which tends towards the South Wind and the mid-day on this side of the continent.

201. [1] βασιλεὺς μὲν δὴ Ξέρξης ἐστρατοπεδεύετο τῆς Μηλίδος ἐν τῇ Τρηχινίῃ, οἱ δὲ δὴ Ἕλληνες ἐν τῇ διόδῳ. καλέεται δὲ ὁ χῶρος οὗτος ὑπὸ μὲν τῶν πλεόνων Ἑλλήνων Θερμοπύλαι, ὑπὸ δὲ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων καὶ περιοίκων Πύλαι. ἐστρατοπεδεύοντο μέν νυν ἑκάτεροι ἐν τούτοισι τοῖσι χωρίοισι, ἐπεκράτεε δὲ ὃ μὲν τῶν πρὸς βορέην ἄνεμον ἐχόντων πάντων μέχρι Τρηχῖνος, οἳ δὲ τῶν πρὸς νότον καὶ μεσαμβρίην φερόντων τὸ ἐπὶ ταύτης τῆς ἠπείρου.

202. These were the Hellenes who awaited the attack of the Persian in this place:--of the Spartans three hundred hoplites; of the men of Tegea and Mantineia a thousand, half from each place, from Orchomenos in Arcadia a hundred and twenty, and from the rest of Arcadia a thousand,--of the Arcadians so many; from Corinth four hundred, from Phlius two hundred, and of the men of Mykene eighty: these were they who came from the Peloponnese; and from the Bœotians seven hundred of the Thespians, and of the Thebans four hundred. 202. [1] ἦσαν δὲ οἵδε Ἑλλήνων οἱ ὑπομένοντες τὸν Πέρσην ἐν τούτῳ τῷ χώρῳ, Σπαρτιητέων τε τριηκόσιοι ὁπλῖται καὶ Τεγεητέων καὶ Μαντινέων χίλιοι, ἡμίσεες ἑκατέρων, ἐξ Ὀρχομενοῦ τε τῆς Ἀρκαδίης εἴκοσι καὶ ἑκατόν, καὶ ἐκ τῆς λοιπῆς Ἀρκαδίης χίλιοι· τοσοῦτοι μὲν Ἀρκάδων, ἀπὸ δὲ Κορίνθου τετρακόσιοι καὶ ἀπὸ Φλειοῦντος διηκόσιοι καὶ Μυκηναίων ὀγδώκοντα. οὗτοι μὲν ἀπὸ Πελοποννήσου παρῆσαν, ἀπὸ δὲ Βοιωτῶν Θεσπιέων τε ἑπτακόσιοι καὶ Θηβαίων τετρακόσιοι.

203. In addition to these the Locrians of Opus had been summoned to come in their full force, and of the Phokians a thousand: for the Hellenes had of themselves sent a summons to them, saying by messengers that they had come as forerunners of the others, that the rest of the allies were to be expected every day, that their sea was safely guarded, being watched by the Athenians and the Eginetans and by those who had been appointed to serve in the fleet, and that they need fear nothing: for he was not a god, they said, who was coming to attack Hellas, but a man; and there was no mortal, nor would be any, with those fortunes evil had not been mingled at his very birth, and the greatest evils for the greatest men; therefore he also who was marching against them, being mortal, would be destined to fail of his expectation. They accordingly, hearing this, came to the assistance of the others at Trachis.

203. [1] πρὸς τούτοισι ἐπίκλητοι ἐγένοντο Λοκροί τε οἱ Ὀπούντιοι πανστρατιῇ καὶ Φωκέων χίλιοι. αὐτοὶ γὰρ σφέας οἱ Ἕλληνες ἐπεκαλέσαντο, λέγοντες δι᾽ ἀγγέλων ὡς αὐτοὶ μὲν ἥκοιεν πρόδρομοι τῶν ἄλλων, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ τῶν συμμάχων προσδόκιμοι πᾶσαν εἶεν ἡμέρην, ἡ θάλασσά τέ σφι εἴη ἐν φυλακῇ ὑπ᾽ Ἀθηναίων τε φρουρεομένη καὶ Αἰγινητέων καὶ τῶν ἐς τὸν ναυτικὸν στρατὸν ταχθέντων, καί σφι εἴη δεινὸν οὐδέν· [2] οὐ γὰρ θεὸν εἶναι τὸν ἐπιόντα ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἀλλ᾽ ἄνθρωπον, εἶναι δὲ θνητὸν οὐδένα οὐδὲ ἔσεσθαι τῷ κακὸν ἐξ ἀρχῆς γινομένῳ οὐ συνεμίχθη, τοῖσι δὲ μεγίστοισι αὐτῶν μέγιστα. ὀφείλειν ὦν καὶ τὸν ἐπελαύνοντα, ὡς ἐόντα θνητόν, ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης πεσεῖν ἄν. οἳ δὲ ταῦτα πυνθανόμενοι ἐβοήθεον ἐς τὴν Τρηχῖνα.

204. Of these troops, although there were other commanders also according to the State to which each belonged, yet he who was most held in regard and who was leader of the whole army was the Lacedemonian Leonidas son of Anaxandrides, son of Leon, son of Eurycratides, son of Anaxander, son of Eurycrates, son of Polydoros, son of Alcamenes, son of Teleclos, son of Archelaos, son of Hegesilaos, son of Doryssos, son of Leobotes, son of Echestratos, son of Agis, son of Eurysthenes, son of Aristodemos, son of Aristomachos, son of Cleodaios, son of Hyllos, son of Heracles; who had obtained the kingdom of Sparta contrary to expectation. 204. [1] τούτοισι ἦσαν μέν νυν καὶ ἄλλοι στρατηγοὶ κατὰ πόλιας ἑκάστων, ὁ δὲ θωμαζόμενος μάλιστα καὶ παντὸς τοῦ στρατεύματος ἡγεόμενος Λακεδαιμόνιος ἦν Λεωνίδης ὁ Ἀναξανδρίδεω τοῦ Λέοντος τοῦ Εὐρυκρατίδεω τοῦ Ἀναξάνδρου τοῦ Εὐρυκράτεος τοῦ Πολυδώρου τοῦ Ἀλκαμένεος τοῦ Τηλέκλου τοῦ Ἀρχέλεω τοῦ Ἡγησίλεω τοῦ Δορύσσου τοῦ Λεωβώτεω τοῦ Ἐχεστράτου τοῦ Ἤγιος τοῦ Εὐρυσθένεος τοῦ Ἀριστοδήμου τοῦ Ἀριστομάχου τοῦ Κλεοδαίου τοῦ Ὕλλου τοῦ Ἡρακλέος, κτησάμενος τὴν βασιληίην ἐν Σπάρτῃ ἐξ ἀπροσδοκήτου.

205. For as he had two brothers each older than himself, namely Cleomenes and Dorieos, he had been far removed from the thought of becoming king. Since however Cleomenes had died without male child, and Dorieos was then no longer alive, but he also had brought his life to an end in Sicily, thus the kingdom came to Leonidas, both because was of elder birth than Cleombrotos (for Cleombrotos was the youngest of the sons of Anaxandrides) and also because he had in marriage the daughter of Cleomenes. He then at this time went to Thermopylai, having chosen the three hundred who were appointed by law and men who chanced to have sons; and he took with him besides, before he arrived, those Thebans whom I mentioned when I reckoned them in the number of the troops, of whom the commander was Leontiades the son of Eurymachos: and for this reason Leonidas was anxious to take up these with him of all the Hellenes, namely because accusations had been strongly brought against them that they were taking the side of the Medes; therefore he summoned them to the war, desiring to know whether they would send troops with them or whether they would openly renounce the alliance of the Hellenes; and they sent men, having other thoughts in their mind the while.

205. [1] διξῶν γάρ οἱ ἐόντων πρεσβυτέρων ἀδελφεῶν, Κλεομένεός τε καὶ Δωριέος, ἀπελήλατο τῆς φροντίδος περὶ τῆς βασιληίης. ἀποθανόντος δὲ Κλεομένεος ἄπαιδος ἔρσενος γόνου, Δωριέος τε οὐκέτι ἐόντος ἀλλὰ τελευτήσαντος καὶ τούτου ἐν Σικελίῃ, οὕτω δὴ ἐς Λεωνίδην ἀνέβαινε ἡ βασιληίη, καὶ διότι πρότερος ἐγεγόνεε Κλεομβρότου· οὗτος γὰρ ἦν νεώτατος Ἀναξανδρίδεω παῖς καὶ δὴ καὶ εἶχε Κλεομένεος θυγατέρα. [2] ὃς τότε ἤιε ἐς Θερμοπύλας ἐπιλεξάμενος ἄνδρας τε τοὺς κατεστεῶτας τριηκοσίους καὶ τοῖσι ἐτύγχανον παῖδες ἐόντες· παραλαβὼν δὲ ἀπίκετο καὶ Θηβαίων τοὺς ἐς τὸν ἀριθμὸν λογισάμενος εἶπον, τῶν ἐστρατήγεε Λεοντιάδης ὁ Εὐρυμάχου. [3] τοῦδε δὲ εἵνεκα τούτους σπουδὴν ἐποιήσατο Λεωνίδης μούνους Ἑλλήνωι παραλαβεῖν, ὅτι σφέων μεγάλως κατηγόρητο μηδίζειν· παρεκάλεε ὦν ἐς τὸν πόλεμον, θέλων εἰδέναι εἴτε συμπέμψουσι εἴτε καὶ ἀπερέουσι ἐκ τοῦ ἐμφανέος τὴν Ἑλλήνων συμμαχίην. οἳ δὲ ἀλλοφρονέοντες ἔπεμπον.

206. These with Leonidas the Spartans had sent out first, in order that seeing them the other allies might join in the campaign, and for fear that they also might take the side of the Medes, if they heard that the Spartans were putting off their action. Afterwards, however, when they had kept the festival, (for the festival of the Carneia stood in their way), they intended then to leave a garrison in Sparta and to come to help in full force with speed: and just so also the rest of the allies had thought of doing themselves; for it chanced that the Olympic festival fell at the same time as these events. Accordingly, since they did not suppose that the fighting in Thermopylai would so soon be decided, they sent only the forerunners of their force. 206. [1] τούτους μὲν τοὺς ἀμφὶ Λεωνίδην πρώτους ἀπέπεμψαν Σπαρτιῆται, ἵνα τούτους ὁρῶντες οἱ ἄλλοι σύμμαχοι στρατεύωνται μηδὲ καὶ οὗτοι μηδίσωσι, ἢν αὐτοὺς πυνθάνωνται ὑπερβαλλομένους· μετὰ δέ, Κάρνεια γάρ σφι ἦν ἐμποδών, ἔμελλον ὁρτάσαντες καὶ φυλακὰς λιπόντες ἐν τῇ Σπάρτῃ κατὰ τάχος βοηθέειν πανδημεί. [2] ὣς δὲ καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν συμμάχων ἐνένωντο καὶ αὐτοὶ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα ποιήσειν· ἦν γὰρ κατὰ τὠυτὸ Ὀλυμπιὰς τούτοισι τοῖσι πρήγμασι συμπεσοῦσα· οὔκων δοκέοντες κατὰ τάχος οὕτω διακριθήσεσθαι τὸν ἐν Θερμοπύλῃσι πόλεμον ἔπεμπον τοὺς προδρόμους.

207. These, I say, had intended to do thus: and meanwhile the Hellenes at Thermopylai, when the Persian had come near to the pass, were in dread, and deliberated about making retreat from their position. To the rest of the Peloponnesians then it seemed best that they should go to the Peloponnese and hold the Isthmus in guard; but Leonidas, when the Phokians and Locrians were indignant at this opinion, gave his vote for remaining there, and for sending at the same time messengers to the several States bidding them to come up to help them, since they were but few to repel the army of the Medes.

207. [1] οὗτοι μὲν δὴ οὕτω διενένωντο ποιήσειν· οἱ δὲ ἐν Θερμοπύλῃσι Ἕλληνες, ἐπειδὴ πέλας ἐγένετο τῆς ἐσβολῆς ὁ Πέρσης, καταρρωδέοντες ἐβουλεύοντο περὶ ἀπαλλαγῆς. τοῖσι μέν νυν ἄλλοισι Πελοποννησίοισι ἐδόκεε ἐλθοῦσι ἐς Πελοπόννησον τὸν Ἰσθμὸν ἔχειν ἐν φυλακῇ· Λεωνίδης δέ, Φωκέων καὶ Λοκρῶν περισπερχεόντων τῇ γνώμῃ ταύτῃ, αὐτοῦ τε μένειν ἐψηφίζετο πέμπειν τε ἀγγέλους ἐς τὰς πόλιας κελεύοντάς σφι ἐπιβοηθέειν, ὡς ἐόντων αὐτῶν ὀλίγων στρατὸν τὸν Μήδων ἀλέξασθαι.

208. As they were thus deliberating, Xerxes sent a scout on horseback to see how many they were in number and what they were doing; for he had heard while he was yet in Thessaly that there had been assembled in this place a small force, and that the leaders of it were Lacedemonians together with Leonidas, who was of the race of Heracles. And when the horseman had ridden up towards their camp, he looked upon them and had a view not indeed of the whole of their army, for of those which were posted within the wall, which they had repaired and were keeping a guard, it was not possible to have a view, but he observed those who were outside, whose station was in front of the wall; and it chanced at that time that the Lacedemonians were they who were posted outside. So then he saw some of the men practising athletic exercises and some combing their long hair: and as he looked upon these things he marvelled, and at the same time he observed their number: and when he had observed all exactly, he rode back unmolested, for no one attempted to pursue him and he found himself treated with much indifference. And when he returned he reported to Xerxes all that which he had seen. 208. [1] ταῦτα βουλευομένων σφέων, ἔπεμπε Ξέρξης κατάσκοπον ἱππέα ἰδέσθαι ὁκόσοι εἰσὶ καὶ ὅ τι ποιέοιεν. ἀκηκόεε δὲ ἔτι ἐὼν ἐν Θεσσαλίῃ ὡς ἁλισμένη εἴη ταύτῃ στρατιὴ ὀλίγη, καὶ τοὺς ἡγεμόνας ὡς εἴησαν Λακεδαιμόνιοί τε καὶ Λεωνίδης ἐὼν γένος Ἡρακλείδης. [2] ὡς δὲ προσήλασε ὁ ἱππεὺς πρὸς τὸ στρατόπεδον, ἐθηεῖτό τε καὶ κατώρα πᾶν μὲν οὒ τὸ στρατόπεδον· τοὺς γὰρ ἔσω τεταγμένους τοῦ τείχεος, τὸ ἀνορθώσαντες εἶχον ἐν φυλακῇ, οὐκ οἷά τε ἦν κατιδέσθαι· ὁ δὲ τοὺς ἔξω ἐμάνθανε, τοῖσι πρὸ τοῦ τείχεος τὰ ὅπλα ἔκειτο· ἔτυχον δὲ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Λακεδαιμόνιοι ἔξω τεταγμένοι. [3] τοὺς μὲν δὴ ὥρα γυμναζομένους τῶν ἀνδρῶν, τοὺς δὲ τὰς κόμας κτενιζομένους. ταῦτα δὴ θεώμενος ἐθώμαζε καὶ τὸ πλῆθος ἐμάνθανε. μαθὼν δὲ πάντα ἀτρεκέως ἀπήλαυνε ὀπίσω κατ᾽ ἡσυχίην· οὔτε γάρ τις ἐδίωκε ἀλογίης τε ἐνεκύρησε πολλῆς· ἀπελθών τε ἔλεγε πρὸς Ξέρξην τά περ ὀπώπεε πάντα.

209. Hearing this Xerxes was not able to conjecture the truth about the matter, namely that they were preparing themselves to die and to deal death to the enemy so far as they might; but it seemed to him that they were acting in a manner merely ridiculous; and therefore he sent for Demaratos the son of Ariston, who was in his camp, and when he came, Xerxes asked him of these things severally, desiring to discover what this was which the Lacedemonians were doing: and he said: "Thou didst hear from my mouth at a former time, when we were setting forth to go against Hellas, the things concerning these men; and having heard them thou madest me an object of laughter, because I told thee of these things which I perceived would come to pass; for to me it is the greatest of all ends to speak the truth continually before thee, O king. Hear then now also: these men have come to fight with us for the passage, and this is it that they are preparing to do; for they have a custom which is as follows;--whenever they are about to put their lives in peril, then they attend to the arrangement of their hair. Be assured however, that if thou shalt subdue these and the rest of them which remain behind in Sparta, there is no other race of men which will await thy onset, O king, or will raise hands against thee: for now thou art about to fight against the noblest kingdom and city of those which are among the Hellenes, and the best men." To Xerxes that which was said seemed to be utterly incredible, and he asked again a second time in what manner being so few they would fight with his host. He said; "O king, deal with me as with a liar, if thou find not that these things come to pass as I say."

209. [1] ἀκούων δὲ Ξέρξης οὐκ εἶχε συμβαλέσθαι τὸ ἐόν, ὅτι παρασκευάζοιντο ὡς ἀπολεόμενοί τε καὶ ἀπολέοντες κατὰ δύναμιν· ἀλλ᾽ αὐτῷ γελοῖα γὰρ ἐφαίνοντο ποιέειν, μετεπέμψατο Δημάρητον τὸν Ἀρίστωνος ἐόντα ἐν τῷ στρατοπέδῳ· [2] ἀπικόμενον δέ μιν εἰρώτα Ξέρξης ἕκαστα τούτων, ἐθέλων μαθεῖν τὸ ποιεύμενον πρὸς τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων. ὁ δὲ εἶπε «Ἤκουσας μὲν καὶ πρότερόν μευ, εὖτε ὁρμῶμεν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, περὶ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων, ἀκούσας δὲ γέλωτά με ἔθευ λέγοντα τῇ περ ὥρων ἐκβησόμενα πρήγματα ταῦτα· ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὴν ἀληθείην ἀσκέειν ἀντία σεῦ βασιλεῦ ἀγὼν μέγιστος ἐστί. [3] ἄκουσον δὲ καὶ νῦν· οἱ ἄνδρες οὗτοι ἀπίκαται μαχησόμενοι ἡμῖν περὶ τῆς ἐσόδου, καὶ ταῦτα παρασκευάζονται. νόμος γάρ σφι ἔχων οὕτω ἐστί· ἐπεὰν μέλλωσι κινδυνεύειν τῇ ψυχῇ, τότε τὰς κεφαλὰς κοσμέονται. [4] ἐπίστασο δέ, εἰ τούτους γε καὶ τὸ ὑπομένον ἐν Σπάρτῃ καταστρέψεαι, ἔστι οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἔθνος ἀνθρώπων τὸ σὲ βασιλεῦ ὑπομενέει χεῖρας ἀνταειρόμενον· νῦν γὰρ πρὸς βασιληίην τε καὶ καλλίστην πόλιν τῶν ἐν Ἕλλησι προσφέρεαι καὶ ἄνδρας ἀρίστους.» [5] κάρτα τε δὴ Ξέρξῃ ἄπιστα ἐφαίνετο τὰ λεγόμενα εἶναι, καὶ δεύτερα ἐπειρώτα ὅντινα τρόπον τοσοῦτοι ἐόντες τῇ ἑωυτοῦ στρατιῇ μαχήσονται. ὁ δὲ εἶπε «ὦ βασιλεῦ, ἐμοὶ χρᾶσθαι ὡς ἀνδρὶ ψεύστῃ, ἢν μὴ ταῦτά τοι ταύτῃ ἐκβῇ τῇ ἐγὼ λέγω.» ταῦτα λέγων οὐκ ἔπειθε τὸν Ξέρξην.

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