Heraclea in Trachis

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Heraclea in Trachis, also called Heraclea Trachinia, was a colony founded by the Lacedaemonians[1] in the sixth year of the Peloponnesian War in 426 B.C.[2] It was located four miles west of Thermopylae, and about 2 miles south of the Malian Gulf. The object of this colony was to assist the Trachinians, [a tribe of the Malians], in their struggle against the Oetaeans. 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 annoy Euboea, and the town would be "a useful station on the road to Thrace." Accordingly the Spartans sent Leon, Alcidas, and Damagon to found the town, and invited any other Dorians that wished to come and settle.

However, soon after the town was founded, things began to go quite badly. The Thessalians, fearful that the new colony would grow powerful and begin to usurp their influence in the area, began to make continuous sorties upon the settlement. This, combined with the harsh and unjust rule of the Spartan governors, soon depleted the town of inhabitants, and discouraged others from joining.

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. The Heracleots were defeated, and the town so reduced that the Boeotians occupied it to prevent it falling into Athenian hands. However, Thucydides tells us that the Lacedaemonians were "nevertheless offended at the Boeotians for what they had done."[3]


  1. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Forgotten Books. p. 174. ISBN 1-60620-995-7. 
  2. ^ Speusippus (2004). Natoli, Anthony Francis, ed. The Letter of Speusippus to Philip II. Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 88. ISBN 3-515-08396-0. 
  3. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Forgotten Books. p. 282. ISBN 1-60620-995-7.