It is not possible to decipher the first intention of this league. The meeting was held at two places, near Anthela, in the pass of Thermopylae, and Delphi; at the latter place in the spring, at the former in the autumn. If tradition imputed to Amphictyon the origin of the council, it ascribed to Acrisius, king of Argos , the formation of its proper power and laws.
This pass was called the Pass of Thermopylæ, and it was considered the key to Greece. There was a town named Anthela near the pass, on the outward side. There was in those days a sort of general congress or assembly of the states of Greece, which was held from time to time, to decide questions and disputes in which the different states were continually getting involved with each other.
This assembly was called the Amphictyonic Council, on account, as is said, of its having been established by a certain king named Amphictyon. A meeting of this council was appointed to receive Alexander. It was to be held at Thermopylæ, or, rather, at Anthela, which was just without the pass, and was the usual place at which the council assembled.
It is about a mile in length. At each of its extremities the mountains approach so near the sea as to leave barely room for the passage of a single carriage. The northern, or, to speak more properly, the western Gate, was close to the town of Anthela, where the Amphictyonic council held its autumnal meetings; while the southern, or the eastern Gate, was near the Locrian town of Alpeni.