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Text #3661

Herodotus. The 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.

  1. i.e. the Persian fleet.

Text #8585

Diodorus Siculus. The Library of History. Vol. 4
[Diod. 11.12. Translated by C. H. Oldfather. Harvard University Press. 1935. (12 Vols.) p. 155]

At this place a great wind arose and he lost more than three hundred warships and great numbers of cavalry transports and other vessels. And when the wind ceased, he weighed anchor and put in at Aphetae in Magnesia. From here he dispatched two hundred triremes, ordering the commanders to take a roundabout course and, by keeping Euboea on the right, to encircle the enemy.

Text #3662

"Battle of Artemisium", in Wikipedia.

The Battle of Artemisium, or Battle of Artemision, was a series of naval engagements over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece. The battle took place simultaneously with the more famous land battle at Thermopylae, in August or September 480 BC, off the coast of Euboea and was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and others, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. […]

Approaching Artemisium towards the end of summer, the Persian navy was caught in a gale off the coast of Magnesia and lost around a third of their 1200 ships. After arriving at Artemisium, the Persians sent a detachment of 200 ships around the coast of Euboea in an attempt to trap the Greeks, but these were caught in another storm and shipwrecked. [..]

After the engagement, the Allies received news of the defeat of the Allied army at Thermopylae. Since their strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, and given their losses, the Allies decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians overran Boeotia and captured the now-evacuated Athens. However, seeking a decisive victory over the Allied fleet, the Persians were later defeated at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC. Fearing being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece. The following year, however, saw an Allied army decisively defeat the Persians at the Battle of Plataea, thereby ending the Persian invasion.

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