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Its main town was also called Trachis until 426 BC, when it was refounded as a Spartan colony and became Heraclea Trachinia. It is located to the west of Thermopylae. Trachis is located just west of the westernmost tip of the island of Euboea, north of Delphi. Near this place archaeologists discovered tombs from the Mycenaean period.
According to Greek mythology Trachis was the home of Ceyx and Alcyone. Heracles went to Trachis after the death of Eunomus. The town is mentioned by Homer (as one of the cities subject to Achilles ) and for the last time in antiquity by Pausanias.
Trachis/Heraclea in ancient and modern times
The settlement formerly known as "Trachis" was renamed "Heraclea in Trachis/Trachinia" by the Spartans; their attempted settlement during the Peloponnesian war failed, due to the hostility of the Thessalians. In antiquity the settlement was famous for being at the base of the mountain where Heracles died (Mount Oeta) as well as being the place where the descendants of Heracles settled. During the Greco/Persian wars, the fertile plains of Heraclea saw the landing and encampment of the Persian army as they marched to Thermopylae.
During the Greek war of Independence the area has been famous for its resistance fighters or "klepts", a term which means mountain fighters or bandits, and includes those who opposed the Turkish "Harach" poll tax upon agricultural commodities. In World War II, the area saw significant resistance to the Germans. A vital railroad bridge linking southern and northern Greece was destroyed here.
Today the village of Heraclea is a thriving agricultural community. Recent excavations have also revealed a series of small tombs at the foothills of Oeta near the banks of the Asopus river.
- Trachis was identified as a Mycenaean site by R. Hope Simpson and J. F. Lazenby, "The Kingdom of Pelius and Achilles," Antiquity, XXXIII (1933), 103.
- Homer Iliad 2.682
- (Pausanias, Guide to Greece 10.22.1
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed., citing Thucydides 3.92 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Thuc.%203.92&lang=original and Diodorus 2.59 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Diod.%2012.59&lang=original