Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Κυριακή, 19 Αυγούστου 2018

Herodotus original text about the maritime battle of Artemisium

Being come to the Isthmus, the Greeks consulted together how and where they should stand to fight, having regard to what was said by Alexander. The counsel that prevailed was, that they should guard the pass of Thermopylae; for they saw that it was narrower than the pass into Thessaly and moreover nearer home; and for the path which brought about the fall of those Greeks at Thermopylae, they knew not even that there was one till they came to Thermopylae and learnt of it from the men of Trachis. This pass then they were resolved to guard, and so stay the foreigners' passage into Hellas, while their fleet should sail to Artemisium in the territory of Histiaea. These places are near together, so that each force could be informed of the other's doings; and their nature is as I will now show. As touching Artemisium first: the wide Thracian sea draws in till the passage between the island of Sciathus and the mainland of Magnesia is but narrow; and this strait leads next to Artemisium, which is a beach on the coast of Euboea, with a temple of Artemis thereon. The pass through Trachis into Hellas is at its narrowest fifty feet wide. Yet it is not here but elsewhere that the way is narrowest, namely, in front of Thermopylae and behind it; at Alpeni, which lies behind, it is but the breadth of a cart‑way, and the same at the Phoenix stream, near the town of Anthele. To the west of Thermopylae rises a high mountain inaccessible and precipitous, a spur of Oeta; to the east of the road there is nought but marshes and sea. In this pass are warm springs for bathing, called by the people of the country The Pots, and an altar of Heracles stands thereby. Across this entry a wall had been built, and formerly there was a gate therein; it was built by the Phocians for fear of the Thessalians, when these came from Thesprotia to dwell in the Aeolian land which they now possess; inasmuch as the Thessalians were essaying to subdue them, the Phocians made this their protection, and in their search for every means to keep the Thessalians from invading their country they then turned the stream from the hot springs into the pass, that it might be a watercourse. The ancient wall had been built long ago and time had by now laid most of it in ruins; it was now built up again, that the foreigners' way into Hellas might thus be barred. Very near the road is village, called Alpeni, whence the Greeks reckoned that they would get provender.
These places, then, were thought by the Greeks to suit their purpose; for after due survey they reckoned that the foreigners could not make use of their multitude, nor of their horsemen; and therefore they resolved, that here they would encounter the invader of Hellas. Then, hearing that the Persian was in Pieria, they broke up from the Isthmus and set out with their army to Thermopylae and their fleet to Artemisium. So with all speed the Greeks went their several ways to meet the enemy. In the meantime, the Delphians, being sore afraid for themselves and for Hellas, enquired of the god, and the oracle was given them, That they should pray to the winds; for these would be potent allies of Hellas. Having received the oracle, the Delphians first sent word of it to such Greeks as desired to be free, for which message in their mortal fear of the foreigner these were for ever grateful; and next, they made an altar to the winds at Thyia, where is now the precinct of Thyia the daughter of Cephisus; and they offered sacrifices to them. So the Delphians offer to the winds sacrifice of propitiation to this day by the oracle's bidding. But Xerxes' fleet set forth from the city of Therma, and the ten swiftest of the ships laid their course straight for Sciathus, where there lay an advance guard of three Greek ships, a Troezenian and an Aeginetan and an Attic. These, when they sighted the foreigners' ships, took to flight. The ship of Troezen, whereof Prexinus was captain, was pursued and straightway taken by the foreigners, who thereupon brought the goodliest of its fighting men and cut his throat on the ship's prow, so making a common sacrifice of the first and goodliest of their Greek captives. The name of him that was thus offered up was Leon; and mayhap it was his name that he had to thank for it. But the Aeginetan trireme, whereof Asonides was captain, did even give them some trouble. There was a fighting man aboard, Pytheas son of Ischenous, who that day bore himself very gallantly; for his ship being taken, he would not give over fighting till he was all hacked about with wounds; and when he fell, yet was not slain but had life in him, the Persian soldiers on the ships were at great pains to save him alive for his valour, tending his wounds with ointments and wrapping him in bandages of linen cloth; and when they returned back to their own station, they showed him to the whole host in admiration, and made much of him and kindly entreated him. But the rest they took in that ship they used as slaves.
So two of the ships were thus made captive; the third trireme, whereof Phormus an Athenian was captain, ran ashore in her flight at the mouth of the Peneus, and the foreigners got the hull of her, but not the crew; for the Athenians, as soon as they had run their craft aground, leapt out of her and made their way through Thessaly to Athens. The Greeks that had their station at Artemisium were informed of these matters by beacons from Sciathus; whereupon, being affrighted, they changed their anchorage from Artemisium to Chalcis, purposing to guard the Euripus, and leaving watchmen on the heights of Euboea. Three of the ten foreign ships ran foul of the reef called the Ant, between Sciathus and Magnesia. The foreigners then brought a pillar of stone and set it on the reef; and presently, when their course was plain before them, the whole fleet set forth and sailed from Therma, eleven days after the king had marched thence. Pammon of Scyros it was who showed them where the reef lay, in the strait itself. Voyaging all day, the foreign fleet made Sepias in Magnesia and the beach between the town of Casthanaea and the Sepiad headland. Until the whole host reached this place and Thermopylae it suffered no hurt; and calculation proves to me that its numbers were still such as I will now show. The ships from Asia being twelve hundred and seven, the whole multitude of all the nations, which was in them from the first, was two hundred and forty‑one thousand and four hundred men, two hundred being reckoned for each ship. On board of all these ships were thirty fighting men of the Persians and Medes and Sacae, over and above the company which each had of native fighters; the sum of this added multitude is thirty‑six thousand two hundred and ten. But to this and to the first number I add the crews of the ships of fifty oars reckoning each at eighty men, be they more or fewer. Now seeing that, as has already been said, there were collected three thousand of these craft, the number of men in them must be on that showing two hundred and forty thousand. These then were the ships' companies from Asia, and the total sum of them was five hundred and seventeen thousand, six hundred and ten. The footmen were shown to be seven hundred thousand and one hundred in number, and the horsemen eighty thousand; to whom I add the Arabian camel-riders and Libyan charioteers, reckoning them at twenty thousand men. Thus if the forces of sea and land be added together their total sum will be two millions, three hundred and seventeen thousand, six hundred and ten. Thus far I have spoken of the armament that came from Asia itself, without the service-train that followed it and the cornº‑bearing craft and the companies thereof.
But I must still take into account, besides all the host I have numbered, the armament brought from Europe, speaking to the best of my belief. For ships, then, the Greeks of Thrace and the islands off Thrace furnished one hundred and twenty; the companies of these ships must then be twenty-four thousand men; and of the land army supplied by all the nations Thracians, Paeonians, Eordi, Bottiaei, Chalcidians, Brygi, Pierians, Macedonians, Perrhaebi, Enienes, Dolopes, Magnesians, Achaeans, dwellers on the seaboard of Thrace of all these I suppose the number to have been three hundred thousand. These numbers being added to the numbers from Asia, the full tale of fighting men is seen to be two millions, six hundred and forty‑one thousand, six hundred and ten. Such was the sum of the fighting part of the whole; as for the service-train that followed them, and the crews of the light corn-bearing vessels and all the other craft besides that came by sea with the armament, these I suppose to have been no fewer but more than the fighting men. But put the case that they were as many, neither more nor fewer: then if they were equal to the fighting part they make up as many tens of thousands as the others; and thus the number of those whom Xerxes son of Darius led as far as the Sepiad headland and Thermopylae was five millions, two hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty......The fleet having put to sea and come to the strand of Magnesia which is between the town of Casthanaea and the Sepiad headland, the first comers of the ships lay close to the land, and others outside them at anchor; for the strand being of no great length, they lay eight ships deep, their prows pointing seaward. So it was with them for that night; but at dawn, after clear and calm weather, the sea began to boil, and there brake upon them a great storm and a strong east wind, that wind which the people of that country call the Hellespontian. As many of them as noted the wind's rising, or so lay that this could be done, hauled their ships ashore ere the storm came, and thereby saved themselves and the ships; but the ships the were caught at sea were driven some on the rocks of Pelion called Ovens, and some on the beach; others were wrecked on the Sepiad headland itself, and others cast up at the town of Meliboea, or at Casthanaea. In truth the storm was past all bearing...... So on the fourth day the storm ceased; and the watchers ran down from the heights of Euboea on the second day after its beginning and told the Greeks all the story of the shipwreck; who, hearing this, offered prayer and libation to Poseidon their deliverer, and made all speed back to Artemisium, supposing that they would find but few ships to withstand them.
So they came back once more and lay off Artemisium; and ever since then to this day they have called Poseidon by the title of Deliverer. The foreigners, when the wind ceased and the waves no more ran high, put to sea and coasted along the mainland, and turning the headland of Magnesia ran straight into the gulf that stretches toward Pagasae...... Here Xerxes' men made their anchorage. Fifteen of those ships had put to sea a long time after all the rest, and it chanced that they sighted the Greek ships off Artemisium. Supposing these to be their own fleet, the foreigners held on their course into the midst of their enemies. Their captain was the viceroy from Cyme in Aeolia, Sandoces son of Thamasius; he had once before this, being then one of the king's judges, been taken and crucified by Darius because he had given unjust judgment for a bribe. But Sandoces having been hung on the cross, Darius found on a reckoning that his good services to the royal house were more than his offences; whereat the king perceived that he had acted with more haste than wisdom, and so set Sandoces free. Thus he escaped with his life from being put to death by Darius; but now that he was borne into the midst of the Greeks he was not to escape a second time; for when the Greeks saw the Persians bearing down on them they perceived their mistake, and put to sea and easily took them captive. They took in one of these ships Aridolis, the despot of Alabanda in Caria, and in another the Paphian captain Penthylus son of Demonous; of twelve ships that he had brought from Paphos he had lost eleven in the storm off the Sepiad headland, and was in the one that remained when he was taken as he bore down on Artemisium. Having questioned these men and learnt what they desired to know of Xerxes' armament, the Greeks sent them away to the isthmus of Corinth in bonds. So the foreign fleet, all but the fifteen ships whereof, as I have said, Sandoces was captain, came to Aphetae. Xerxes and his land army journeyed through Thessaly and Achaea, and it was three days since he had entered Malis. In Thessaly he made a race for his own horses, wherein he also tried the mettle of the Thessalian horse, having heard that it was the best in Hellas; and the Greek horses were far outpaced. Of the Thessalian rivers, the Onochonus was the only one that could not give water enough for his army's drinking. But in Achaea, even the greatest river there, the Apidanus, gave out, all but a sorry remnant.
Πηγή : http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Herodotus/7D*.html

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