1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Trachis
TRACHIS, a city of ancient Greece, situated at the head of the Malian Gulf in a small plain between the rivers Asopus and Melas, and enclosed by the mountain wall of Oeta which here extended close to the sea and by means of the Trachinian Cliffs completely commanded the main road from Thessaly. The position was well adapted as an advanced post against invaders from the north, and furthermore guarded the road up the Asopus gorge into the Cephissus valley. Strangely enough, it is not recorded what part Trachis played in the defence of Thermopylae against Xerxes. Its military importance was recognized in 427 B.C. by the Spartans, who sent a garrison to guard the Trachinian plain against the marauding highland tribes of Oeta and built a citadel close by the Asopus gorge with the new name of Heraclea. The Spartans failed to safeguard Heraclea against the Oetaeans and Thessalians, and for a short time were displaced by the Thebans (420), After a bloody defeat at the hands of the neighbouring mountaineers (409) the Spartan governor quarrelled with the native settlers, whom he expelled in 399. Four years later Thebes used her new predominance in central Greece to restore the Trachinians, who retained Heraclea until 371, when Jason of Pherae seized and dismantled it. The fortress was rebuilt, and after 280 served the Aetolians as a bulwark against Celts and Macedonians. It was captured in 191 by the Romans, but restored to the Aetolian League until 146. Henceforth the place lost its importance; in Strabo’s time the original site was apparently deserted, and the citadel alone remained inhabited.
Strabo p. 428; Herodotus vii. 198–203; Thucydides iii. 92, v. 51–52; Diodorus xiv. 38, 82; Livy xxxvi. 22–24. W. Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, iii. 24–31 (London, 1835); G. B. Grundy, Great Persian War, pp. 261–264 (London, 1901). (M. O. B. C.)