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The History Of Herodotus Volume 2 of 2

Page: 116

124. Now while his naval force was encamped about the river Axios an the city of Therma and the cities which lie between these two, waiting for the coming of the king, Xerxes and the land-army were proceeding from Acanthos, cutting through the middle by the shortest way 109 with a view to reaching Therma: and he was proceeding through Paionia and Crestonia to the river Cheidoros, 110 which beginning from the land of the Crestonians, runs through the region of Mygdonia and comes out alongside of the marsh which is by the river Axios.

125. As he was proceeding by this way, lions attacked the camels which carried his provisions; for the lions used to come down regularly by night, leaving their own haunts, but they touched nothing else, neither beast of burden nor man, but killed the camels only: and I marvel what was the cause, and what was it that impelled the lions to abstain from all else and to attack the camels only, creatures which they had never seen before, and of which they had had no experience.

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

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

128. Then Xerxes seeing from Therma the mountains of Thessaly, Olympos and Ossa, that they were of very great height, and being informed that in the midst between them there was a narrow channel, through which flows the Peneios, and hearing also that by this way there was a good road leading to Thessaly, formed a desire to sail thither and look at the outlet of the Peneios, because he was meaning to march by the upper road, through the land of the Macedonians who dwell inland, until he came to the Perraibians, passing by the city of Gonnos; for by this way he was informed that it was safest to go. And having formed this desire, so also he proceeded to do; that is, he embarked in a Sidonian ship, the same in which he used always to embark when he wished to do anything of this kind, and he displayed a signal for the others to put out to sea also, leaving there the land-army. Then when Xerxes had looked at the outlet of the Peneios, he was possessed by great wonder, and summoning his guides he asked them whether it was possible to turn the river aside and bring it out to the sea by another way.


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