DESCRIPTION OF GREECE, TRANS. BY W. H. S. JONES
PLATAEA, MYTHICAL HISTORY
[9.1.1] I. 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.
[9.1.2] 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.
[9.1.3] 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.
[9.1.4] 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.
[9.1.5] 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.
[9.1.6] 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.
[9.1.7] 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.
[9.1.8] 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.
[9.2.1] II. 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.
[9.2.2] 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.
[9.2.3] 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.
[9.2.4] 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.
[9.2.5] 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.
[9.2.6] 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.
[9.2.7] 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.
CULT OF HERA DAEDALA
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.
[9.3.1] III. 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.
[9.3.2] 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.
[9.3.3] 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.
[9.3.4] 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.
[9.3.5] 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.
[9.3.6] 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.
[9.3.7] 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.
[9.3.8] 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.
[9.3.9] 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.
[9.4.1] IV. 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.
[9.4.2] 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.
[9.4.3] 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.
SCOLUS & THE RIVER ASOPUS
[9.4.4] 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.
THEBES, MYTHICAL HISTORY
[9.5.1] V. 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.
[9.5.2] 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.
[9.5.3] 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.
[9.5.4] 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.
[9.5.5] 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.
[9.5.6] 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.
[9.5.7] 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. 11.263
Homer, 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.
[9.5.8] 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.
[9.5.9] 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.
[9.5.10] 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:–
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. 11.271
How 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.
[9.5.12] 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.
[9.5.13] 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.
[9.5.14] 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.
[9.5.15] 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.
[9.5.16] 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.
[9.6.1] VI. 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.
[9.6.2] 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.
[9.6.3] 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
[9.6.4] 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.
[9.6.5] 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.
[9.6.6] 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.
[9.7.1] VII. 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.
[9.7.2] 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.
[9.7.3] 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.
[9.7.4] 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.
[9.7.5] 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.
[9.7.6] 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.
[9.8.1] VIII. 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.
[9.8.2] 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.
[9.8.3] 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.
[9.8.4] 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.
[9.8.5] 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.
[9.8.6] 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.
[9.8.7] 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.
[9.9.1] IX. 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.
[9.9.2] 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.
[9.9.3] 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.
[9.9.4] 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.
[9.9.5] 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.
[9.10.1] X. 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.
[9.10.2] 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.
[9.10.3] 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.
[9.10.4] 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.
[9.10.5] 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.
[9.10.6] 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.
[9.11.1] XI. 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.
[9.11.2] 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.
[9.11.3] 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.
[9.11.4] 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,
[9.11.5] 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.
[9.11.6] 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.
[9.11.7] 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.
[9.12.1] XII. 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.
[9.12.2] 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.
[9.12.3] 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.
[9.12.4] 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.
[9.12.5] 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.
[9.12.6] 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 OF THEBES, HISTORY
[9.13.1] XIII. 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.
[9.13.2] 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.”
[9.13.3] 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.
[9.13.4] 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.
[9.13.5] 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.
[9.13.6] 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.
[9.13.7] 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.
[9.13.8] 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.
[9.13.9] 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.
[9.13.10] 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.
[9.13.11] 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.
[9.13.12] 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.
[9.14.1] XIV. 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.
[9.14.2] 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,
[9.14.3] 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.
[9.14.4] 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).
[9.14.5] 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.
[9.14.6] 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.
[9.14.7] 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.
[9.15.1] XV. 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.
[9.15.2] 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.
[9.15.3] 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.
[9.15.4] 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.
[9.15.5] 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.
[9.15.6] 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.
[9.16.1] XVI. 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.
[9.16.2] 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.
[9.16.3] 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
[9.16.4] 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.
[9.16.5] 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.
[9.16.6] 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.
[9.16.7] 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.
[9.17.1] XVII. 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.
[9.17.2] 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.
[9.17.3] 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.
[9.17.4] 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.
[9.17.5] 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.
[9.17.6] 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.
[9.17.7] 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.
PROETIDIAN GATE OF THEBES
[9.18.1] XVIII. 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.
[9.18.2] 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
[9.18.3] 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.
[9.18.4] 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.
[9.18.5] 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.
[9.18.6] 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.
[9.19.1] XIX. 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.
GLISAS & MT HYPASTUS
[9.19.2] 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.
[9.19.3] 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.
HARMA & MYCALESSUS
[9.19.4] 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
[9.19.5] 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.
[9.19.6] 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
[9.19.7] 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.
[9.19.8] 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.
[9.20.1] XX. 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.
[9.20.2] 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. 2.498
Later, however, it recovered its old name.
[9.20.3] 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
[9.20.4] 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.
[9.20.5] 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.
[9.21.1] XXI. 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.
ON FABULOUS ANIMALS
[9.21.2] 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.
[9.21.3] 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.
[9.21.4] 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.
[9.21.5] 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.
[9.21.6] 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.
[9.22.1] XXII. 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.
[9.22.2] 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.
[9.22.3] 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.
[9.22.4] 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.
[9.22.5] 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.
[9.22.6] 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.
[9.22.7] 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.
1. 387 B.C
2. 373 B.C
3. See Paus. 10.5.3.
4. See Paus. 9.1.
5. See 2.6.
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).