Text #3661The Histories. Series: Histories. Vol. 3 .
[Hdt. 7.188--7.192. Translated by Alfred Denis Godley. William Heinemann; G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1922. (4 Vols.) pp. 505--509]
188 The fleet1 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 that 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.
189There is a tale that the Athenians at an oracle’s bidding prayed to Boreas to aid them, another divination having been sent them that they should call for help to their son-in-law; the Greek story makes Boreas the husband of an Attic wife, Orithyia daughter of Erechtheus ; by reason of which kinship the Athenians, if the tale current is to be believed, inferred that Boreas was their son-in-law, and when at their station of Chalcis they perceived that the storm was rising, then (or mayhap before that) they offered sacrifice and called on Boreas and Orithyia to aid them and destroy the foreigners’ ships, even as before on the coast of Athos. Now if this was the cause that the wind Boreas assailed the foreigners, I cannot tell ; however it be, the Athenians say that Boreas came to their aid before and that the present effect was of his achieving ; and when they went home they built a temple of Boreas by the river Ilissus.
190In that stress there perished by the least reckoning not fewer than four hundred ships, and men innumerable and a great plenty of substance; insomuch, that Aminocles son of Cretines, a Magnesian who held land about Sepias, was greatly benefited by that shipwreck ; for he presently gathered many drinking-cups of gold and silver that were cast ashore, and he found Persian treasures, and won unspeakable wealth besides. Yet though luck greatly enriched him he was not in all things fortunate, for even he was afflicted by a grievous mischance in the slaying of his son.
191The corn-bearing ships of merchandise and other craft destroyed were past all counting ; wherefore the admirals of the fleet, fearing lest the Thessalians should set upon them in their evil plight, built a high fence of the wreckage for their protection. For the storm lasted for three days; and at last the Magians, by using victims and wizards’ spells on the wind, and by sacrificing also to Thetis and the Nereids, did make it to cease on the fourth day, or mayhap it was not of their doing but of itself that it abated. To Thetis they sacrificed after hearing from the Ionians the story how that it was from this country that she had been carried off by Peleus, and all the Sepiad headland belonged to her and the other daughters of Nereus.
192So 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.
i.e. the Persian fleet. ↩