Sites & cities that bear the name of Heraclea Trachis

Heraclea Trachis

Today in : Greece
First trace of activity : 426 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Recorded names : Τραχίν, Trachin, Ἡράκλεια ἡ ἐν Τραχῖνι, Heraclea Trachinia, Ἡράκλεια ἡ Τραχινία, Heraclea in Phthiotis, Ἡράκλεια Φθιώτιδος

Description : Heraclea (Herakleia) in Trachis (Ancient Greek: Ἡράκλεια ἡ ἐν Τραχῖνι), also called Heraclea Trachinia (Ἡράκλεια ἡ Τραχινία), was a colony founded by the Spartans in 426 BC, the sixth year of the Peloponnesian War. It was also a polis (city-state). It became a place of historical importance in consequence of the colony founded here by the Lacedaemonians in the sixth year of the Peloponnesian War, 426 BC. The Trachinians (a tribe of the Malians) and the neighbouring Dorians, who suffered much from the predatory incursions of the Oetaean mountaineers, solicited aid from the Spartans, who eagerly availed themselves of this opportunity to plant a strong colony in this commanding situation. They issued an invitation to the other Dorian states of Greece to join in the colony; and as many as 10,000 colonists, under three Spartan oecists (Leon, Alcidas, and Damagon), built and fortified a new town, to which the name of Heraclea was given, from the great hero, whose name was so closely associated with the surrounding district. It was usually called the Trachinian Heraclea, to distinguish it from other places of the same name, and by later writers Heraclea in Phthiotis (Ἡράκλεια Φθιώτιδος), as this district was subsequently included in the Thessalian Phthiotis. Thucydides also tells us that the Spartans thought the town would "lie conveniently for the purposes of the war with Athens." From Heraclea the Spartans could ready a fleet to threaten Euboea, and the town would be "a useful station on the road to Thrace." The new colonists also built a port with docks near Thermopylae. It was generally expected that this city. under the protection of Sparta, would become a formidable power in Northern Greece; however, soon after the town was founded, things began to go quite badly. It was attacked from the beginning by the Thessalians, who regarded its establishment as an invasion of their territory; and the Spartans, who rarely succeeded in the government of dependencies, displayed haughtiness and corruption in its administration. Hence the city rapidly dwindled down. Six years after its founding a battle took place between the inhabitants of Heraclea and the assembled forces of the Aenianes, Dolopes, Malians, and Thessalians who were directly menaced by the colony. Sparta was unable at the time to send assistance to their colony; the Heracleots were defeated, and the town so reduced that in the following year, the Boeotians occupied it to prevent it falling into Athenian hands, and dismissed the Lacedaemonian governor, on the ground of misconduct. Thucydides tells us that the Spartans were "offended at the Boeotians for what they had done." The Lacedaemonians, however, regained possession of the place; and in the winter of 409-408 BC, they experienced here another disaster, 700 of the Heracleots being slain in battle, together with the Lacedaemonian harmost (military governor). But, after the Peloponnesian War, Heraclea again rose into importance, and became the headquarters of the Spartan power in Northern Greece. In 399 BC, Herippidas the Lacedaemonian, was sent there to repress some factious movements in Heraclea ; and he not only put to death all the opponents of the Lacedaemonians in the town, but expelled the neighbouring Oetaeans and Trachinians from their abodes. In 395 BC, the Thebans, under the command of Ismenias, wrested this important place from the Spartans, killed the Lacedaemonian garrison, and gave the city to the old Trachinian and Oetaean inhabitants.

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