Homer- (Illiad Book 2 The Catalogue of Ships Chapter 2 6. 5.3) Troizen was mentioned in Homer’s Illiad and, due to its closeness to Athens, it flourished as a naval base. If one reads Homer, the map of classical Greece corresponds to the regions Homer includes in his Illiad. Authors are not clear just when Homer wrote the Illiad, but there seems to be a consensus that Homer composed it circa 700 BC. Troizen in the period we now describe as classical Greece was a town of strategic significance. Finds from the ancient city depict the rich nautical tradition of ancient Troizen. Homer tells us that Troizenians were part of the Argos contingent to go off to the Trojan Wars, this contingent coming under their commander Diomedes in eighty black ships. There were twenty – nine contingents of ships with men drawn from many parts of Greece.
Reference: The Illiad by Homer – originally translated by E V Rieu. Revised and updated by Peter Jones with D C H Rieu. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Peter Jones. Penguin Books. 1950, and 2003. Introduction page ix.
Herodotus ( /hɨˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Hēródotos) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c.484 – 425 BC). He has been called the “Father of History”, and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. Herodotus is credited as a Greek author of the first great narrative history produced in the ancient world, the History of the Greco-Persian Wars. He wrote his history in 10 books.
The History of Herodotus – Nine Books -written 440BC Translated by George Rawlinson (http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.html)
Book III, 59.9 et al– The Samians buy Hermione and it in trust to Troizen ‘The Siphnians, however, were unable to understand the oracle, either at the time when it was given, or afterwards on the arrival of the Samians. For these last no sooner came to anchor off the island than they sent one of their vessels, with an ambassage on board, to the city. All ships in these early times were painted with vermilion; and this was what the Pythoness had meant when she told them to beware of danger “from a wooden host, and a herald in scarlet.” So the ambassadors came ashore and besought the Siphnians to lend them ten talents; but the Siphnians refused, whereupon the Samians began to plunder their lands. Tidings of this reached the Siphnians, who straightway sallied forth to save their crops; then a battle was fought, in which the Siphnians suffered defeat, and many of their number were cut off from the city by the Samians, after which these latter forced the Siphnians to give them a hundred talents.
With this money they bought of the Hermionians the island of Hydrea, off the coast of the Peloponnese, and this they gave in trust to the Troezenians, to keep for them, while they themselves went on to Crete, and founded the city of Cydonia.’
Book VII, 99 et al Troizen commits ships to the Athenian fleet for the Battle of Salamis ‘And now, the remainder of the Grecian sea-force, hearing that the fleet which had been at Artemisium, was come to Salamis, joined it at that island from Troezen- orders having been issued previously that the ships should muster at Pogon, the port of the Troezenians. The vessels collected were many more in number than those which had fought at Artemisium, and were furnished by more cities. The admiral was the same who had commanded before, to wit, Eurybiades, the son of Eurycleides, who was a Spartan, but not of the family of the kings: the city, however, which sent by far the greatest number of ships, and the best sailers, was Athens.’
Book VIII, 1 et al Role of the Greek naval ships ‘The Greeks, at a signal, brought the sterns of their ships together into a small compass, and turned their prows on every side towards the barbarians; after which, at a second signal, although inclosed within a narrow space, and closely pressed upon by the foe, yet they fell bravely to work, and captured thirty ships of the barbarians, at the same time taking prisoner Philaon, the son of Chersis, and brother of Gorgus king of Salamis, a man of much repute in the fleet. The first who made prize of a ship of the enemy was Lycomedes the son of Aeschreas, an Athenian, who was afterwards adjudged the meed of valour. Victory however was still doubtful when night came on, and put a stop to the combat. The Greeks sailed back to Artemisium; and the barbarians returned to Aphetae, much surprised at the result, which was far other than they had looked for. In this battle only one of the Greeks who fought on the side of the king deserted and joined his countrymen. This was Antidorus of Lemnos, whom the Athenians rewarded for his desertion by the present of a piece of land in Salamis….’
Book VIII, 41 et al Evacuation of the Athenian civilians to Troizen ‘So while the rest of the fleet lay to off this island, the Athenians cast anchor along their own coast. Immediately upon their arrival, proclamation was made that every Athenian should save his children and household as he best could; whereupon some sent their families to Egina, some to Salamis, but the greater number to Troezen. This removal was made with all possible haste, partly from a desire to obey the advice of the oracle, but still more for another reason. The Athenians say that they have in their Acropolis a huge serpent, which lives in the temple, and is the guardian of the whole place. Nor do they only say this, but, as if the serpent really dwelt there, every month they lay out its food, which consists of a honey-cake. Up to this time the honey-cake had always been consumed; but now it remained untouched. So the priestess told the people what had happened; whereupon they left Athens the more readily, since they believed that the goddess had already abandoned the citadel. As soon as all was removed, the Athenians sailed back to their station. And now, the remainder of the Grecian sea-force, hearing that the fleet which had been at Artemisium, was come to Salamis, joined it at that island from Troezen- orders having been issued previously that the ships should muster at Pogon, the port of the Troezenians. The vessels collected were many more in number than those which had fought at Artemisium, and were furnished by more cities. The admiral was the same who had commanded before, to wit, Eurybiades, the son of Eurycleides, who was a Spartan, but not of the family of the kings: the city, however, which sent by far the greatest number of ships, and the best sailers, was Athens.
Now these were the nations who composed the Grecian fleet. From the Peloponnese, the following- the Lacedaemonians with six, teen ships; the Corinthians with the same number as at Artemisium; the Sicyonians with fifteen; the Epidaurians with ten; the Troezenians with five; and the Hermionians with three. These were Dorians and Macedonians all of them (except those from Hermione), and had emigrated last from Erineus, Pindus, and Dryopis. The Hermionians were Dryopians, of the race which Hercules and the Malians drove out of the land now called Doris. Such were the Peloponnesian nations.’
Book VIII, 72 et al Building Fortifications ‘Orders were now given to stand out to sea; and the ships proceeded towards Salamis, and took up the stations to which they were directed, without let or hindrance from the enemy. The day, however, was too far spent for them to begin the battle, since night already approached: so they prepared to engage upon the morrow. The Greeks, meanwhile, were in great distress and alarm, more especially those of the Peloponnese, who were troubled that they had been kept at Salamis to fight on behalf of the Athenian territory, and feared that, if they should suffer defeat, they would be pent up and besieged in an island, while their own country was left unprotected.
The same night the land army of the barbarians began its march towards the Peloponnese, where, however, all that was possible had been done to prevent the enemy from forcing an entrance by land. As soon as ever news reached the Peloponnese of the death of Leonidas and his companions at Thermopylae, the inhabitants flocked together from the various cities, and encamped at the Isthmus, under the command of Cleombrotus, son of Anaxandridas, and brother of Leonidas. Here their first care was to block up the Scironian Way; after which it was determined in council to build a wall across the Isthmus. As the number assembled amounted to many tens of thousands, and there was not one who did not give himself to the work, it was soon finished. Stones, bricks, timber, baskets filled full of sand, were used in the building; and not a moment was lost by those who gave their aid; for they laboured without ceasing either by night or day.
Now the nations who gave their aid, and who had flocked in full force to the Isthmus, were the following: the Lacedaemonians, all the tribes of the Arcadians, the Eleans, the Corinthians, the Sicyonians, the Epidaurians, the Phliasians, the Troezenians, and the Hermionians. These all gave their aid, being greatly alarmed at the danger which threatened Greece. But the other inhabitants of the Peloponnese took no part in the matter; though the Olympic and Carneian festivals were now over.’
Book IX, 28 et al Committing Troops to the Battle of Plataea ‘The Greek army, therefore, which mustered at Plataea, counting light-armed as well as heavy-armed, was but eighteen hundred men short of one hundred and ten thousand; and this amount was exactly made up by the Thespians who were present in the camp; for eighteen hundred Thespians, being the whole number left, were likewise with the army; but these men were without arms. Such was the array of the Greek troops when they took post on the Asopus.’
Book IX, 31 et al The Battle of Plataea ‘The Greeks, on the other hand, were greatly emboldened by what had happened, seeing that they had not only stood their ground against the attacks of the horse, but had even compelled them to beat a retreat. They therefore placed the dead body of Masistius upon a cart, and paraded it along the ranks of the army. Now the body was a sight which well deserved to be gazed upon, being remarkable both for stature and for beauty; and it was to stop the soldiers from leaving their ranks to look at it, that they resolved to carry it round. After this the Greeks determined to quit the high ground and go nearer Plataea, as the land there seemed far more suitable for an encampment than the country about Erythrae, particularly because it was better supplied with water. To this place therefore, and more especially to a spring-head which was called Gargaphia, they considered that it would be best for them to remove, after which they might once more encamp in their order. So they took their arms, and proceeded along the slopes of Cithaeron, past Hysiae, to the territory of the Plataeans; and here they drew themselves up, nation by nation, close by the fountain Gargaphia, and the sacred precinct of the Hero Androcrates, partly along some hillocks of no great height, and partly upon the level of the plain.’
Book XIX, 102 et al The Battle of Plataea’ Thus spake the Tegeans; and the Athenians made reply as follows:- “We are not ignorant that our forces were gathered here, not for the purpose of speech-making, but for battle against the barbarian. Yet as the Tegeans have been pleased to bring into debate the exploits performed by our two nations, alike in carlier and in later times, we have no choice but to set before you the grounds on which we claim it as our heritage, deserved by our unchanging bravery, to be preferred above Arcadians. In the first place, then, those very Heraclidae, whose leader they boast to have slain at the Isthmus, and whom the other Greeks would not receive when they asked a refuge from the bondage wherewith they were threatened by the people of Mycinae, were given a shelter by us; and we brought down the insolence of Eurystheus, and helped to gain the victory over those who were at that time lords of the Peloponnese. Again, when the Argives led their troops with Polynices against Thebes, and were slain and refused burial, it is our boast that we went out against the Cadmeians, recovered the bodies, and buried them at Eleusis in our own territory. Another noble deed of ours was that against the Amazons, when they came from their seats upon the Thermodon, and poured their hosts into Attica; and in the Trojan war too we were not a whit behind any of the Greeks. But what boots it to speak of these ancient matters? A nation which was brave in those days might have grown cowardly since, and a nation of cowards then might now be valiant. Enough therefore of our ancient achievements. Had we performed no other exploit than that at Marathon- though in truth we have performed exploits as many and as noble as any of the Greeks- yet had we performed no other, we should deserve this privilege, and many a one beside. There we stood alone, and singly fought with the Persians; nay, and venturing on so dangerous a cast, we overcame the enemy, and conquered on that day forty and six nations! Does not this one achievement suffice to make good our title to the post we claim? Nevertheless, Lacedaemonians, as to strive concerning place at such a time as this is not right, we are ready to do as ye command, and to take our station at whatever part of the line, and face whatever nation ye think most expedient. Wheresoever ye place us, ’twill be our endeavour to behave as brave men. Only declare your will, and we shall at once obey you.” ‘
Book XIX, 105 et al Distinction At Plataea ‘The Persians, and the multitude with them, who fled to the wooden fortress, were able to ascend into the towers before the Lacedaemonians came up. Thus placed, they proceeded to strengthen the defences as well as they could; and when the Lacedaemonians arrived, a sharp fight took place at the rampart. So long as the Athenians were away, the barbarians kept off their assailants, and had much the best of the combat, since the Lacedaemonians were unskilled in the attack of walled places: but on the arrival of the Athenians, a more violent assault was made, and the wall was for a long time attacked with fury. In the end the valour of the Athenians and their perseverance prevailed- they gained the top of the wall, and, breaking a breach through it, enabled the Greeks to pour in. The first to enter here were the Tegeans, and they it was who plundered the tent of Mardonius; where among other booty the found the manger from which his horses ate, all made of solid brass, and well worth looking at. This manger was given by the Tegeans to the temple of Minerva Alea, while the remainder of their booty was brought into the common stock of the Greeks. As soon as the wall was broken down, the barbarians no longer kept together in any array, nor was there one among them who thought of making further resistance- in good truth, they were all half dead with fright, huddled as so many thousands were into so narrow and confined a space. With such tameness did they submit to be slaughtered by the Greeks, that of the 300,000 men who composed the army- omitting the 40,000 by whom Artabazus was accompanied in his flight- no more than 3000 outlived the battle.’
Such was the reply of the Athenians; and forthwith all the Lacedaemonian troops cried out with one voice, that the Athenians were worthier to have the left wing than the Arcadians. In this way were the Tegeans overcome; and the post was assigned to the Athenians.
Euripides- A Greek playwright Euripides Euripides (Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (c. 480 – 406 BC), was one of the three great tradegians of Classical Athens. He was born on Salamis Island. He wrote an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC and won first prize as part of a trilogy.
The play is set in Troizen, a coastal town in the northeastern Peloponnese. Theseus, the king of Athens, is serving a year’s voluntary exile after having murdered a local king and his sons. His illegitimate son Hippolytus, whose mother is the Amazon Hippolyta, has been trained here since childhood by the king of Troizen, Pittheus.
At the opening of the play Aphrodite, Goddess of love, explains that Hippolytus has sworn chastity and refuses to revere her. Instead, he honours the Goddess of the hunt, Artemis. This has led her to initiate a plan of vengeance on Hippolytus. When Hippolytus went to Athens two years previously Aphrodite inspired Phaedra, Hippolytus’ stepmother, to fall in love with him.
Hippolytus appears with his followers and shows reverence to a statue of Artemis, a chaste goddess. A servant warns him about his overt disdain for Aphrodite, but Hippolytus refuses to listen to him.
The chorus, consisting of young married women of Troizen, enters and describes how Theseus’s wife, Phaedra is not eating or sleeping. Phaedra, sickly, appears with her nurse. After an agonizing discussion, Phaedra finally gives in to her nurse’s demands and confesses why she is ill: she loves Hippolytus. The nurse and the chorus are shocked. Phaedra explains that she must starve herself and die with her honour intact. However, the nurse quickly retracts her initial response and tells Phaedra that she has a magical charm to cure her. However, in an aside she reveals different plans.
The nurse tells Hippolytus of Phaedra’s desire, after making him swear an oath that he will not tell anyone else. He reacts with a furious, misogynistic tirade on the ‘poisonous’ nature of women. Because the secret is out, Phaedra believes she is ruined. After making the chorus swear secrecy, she goes inside and hangs herself.
Theseus returns and discovers his wife’s dead body. Because the chorus is sworn to secrecy, they cannot tell Theseus why she killed herself. Theseus discovers a letter on Phaedra’s body, which asserts that she was raped by Hippolytus. Enraged, Theseus curses his son to death or at least exile. To execute the curse, Theseus calls upon his father, the god Poseidon, who has promised to grant his son three wishes. Hippolytus enters and protests his innocence but cannot tell the truth because of the binding oath that he swore. Taking his wife’s letter as proof, Theseus exiles his son.
The chorus sings a lament for Hippolytus.
A messenger enters and describes a gruesome scene to Theseus; as Hippolytus got in his chariot to leave the kingdom, a bull roared out of the sea, frightening his horses, which dashed his chariot among the rocks, dragging Hippolytus behind. Hippolytus seems to be dying. The messenger protests Hippolytus’ innocence, but Theseus refuses to believe him.
Theseus is pleased with Hippolytus’ suffering until Artemis appears and tells him the truth. She explains that his son was innocent and that it was Phaedra who lied. Although the goddess admonishes Theseus’ decision, she ultimately recognizes that the blame falls on Aphrodite. Hippolytus is carried in half alive, and Artemis promises to take revenge on Aphrodite by punishing the next person that Aphrodite loves. Finally, Hippolytus forgives his father, and then he dies.
Thucydides (or Thoukydides) (c. 460 BC – c. 400 BC) was an ancient Greek historian, author of the History of the Peloponnesian War, which recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens in 8 Books.
The Landmark Thucydides, Edited by Robert B. Strassler, Richard Crawley translation, Annotated, Indexed and Illustrated, A Touchstone Book, New York, NY, 1996 ISBN 0-684-82815-4
Book II, 56 Troizen laid to waste during the Pelopponesian War ‘However, while they were still in the plain, and had not yet entered the Paralian land, he had prepared an armament of a hundred ships for Peloponnese, and when all was ready put out to sea. On board the ships he took four thousand Athenian heavy infantry, and three hundred cavalry in horse transports, and then for the first time made out of old galleys; fifty Chian and Lesbian vessels also joining in the expedition. When this Athenian armament put out to sea, they left the Peloponnesians in Attica in the Paralian region. Arriving at Epidaurus in Peloponnese they ravaged most of the territory, and even had hopes of taking the town by an assault: in this however they were not successful. Putting out from Epidaurus, they laid waste the territory of Troezen, Halieis, and Hermione, all towns on the coast of Peloponnese, and thence sailing to Prasiai, a maritime town in Laconia, ravaged part of its territory, and took and sacked the place itself; after which they returned home, but found the Peloponnesians gone and no longer in Attica.’
Book IV, 45 Fortification from the neck of the Methana Peninsula ‘Weighing from the islands, the Athenians sailed the same day to Crommyon in the Corinthian territory, about thirteen miles from the city, and coming to anchor laid waste the country, and passed the night there. The next day, after first coasting along to the territory of Epidaurus and making a descent there, they came to Methana between Epidaurus and Troizen, and drew a wall across and fortified the isthmus of the peninsula, and left a post there from which incursions were henceforth made upon the country of Troizen, Haliae, and Epidaurus. After walling off this spot, the fleet sailed off home.
Book VIII, 3 Building of Spartan Ships ‘Their king, Agis, accordingly set out at once during this winter with some troops from Decelea, and levied from the allies contributions for the fleet, and turning towards the Malian Gulf exacted a sum of money from the Oetaeans by carrying off most of their cattle in reprisal for their old hostility, and, in spite of the protests and opposition of the Thessalians, forced the Achaeans of Phthiotis and the other subjects of the Thessalians in those parts to give him money and hostages, and deposited the hostages at Corinth, and tried to bring their countrymen into the confederacy. The Lacedaemonians now issued a requisition to the cities for building a hundred ships, fixing their own quota and that of the Boeotians at twenty-five each; that of the Phocians and Locrians together at fifteen; that of the Corinthians at fifteen; that of the Arcadians, Pellenians, and Sicyonians together at ten; and that of the Megarians, Troezenians, Epidaurians, and Hermionians together at ten also; and meanwhile made every other preparation for commencing hostilities by the spring.’