Thebes (/θiːbz/; Greek: Θήβα, Thíva [ˈθiva]; Ancient Greek: Θῆβαι, Thêbai [tʰɛ̂ːbai̯]) is a city in Boeotia, central Greece. It played an important role in Greek myths, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, Heracles and others. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed a Mycenaean settlement and clay tablets written in the Linear B script, indicating the importance of the site in the Bronze Age.
Thebes was the largest city of the ancient region of Boeotia and was the leader of the Boeotian confederacy. It was a major rival of ancient Athens, and sided with the Persians during the 480 BC invasion under Xerxes. Theban forces under the command of Epaminondas ended the power of Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. The Sacred Band of Thebes (an elite military unit) famously fell at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC against Philip II and Alexander the Great. Prior to its destruction by Alexander in 335 BC, Thebes was a major force in Greek history, and was the most dominant city-state at the time of the Macedonian conquest of Greece. During the Byzantine period, the city was famous for its silks.
The modern city contains an Archaeological Museum, the remains of the Cadmea (Bronze Age and forward citadel), and scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the regional unit of Boeotia.
Remains of the Cadmea, the central fortress of ancient Thebes
Location within the region
|Administrative region||Central Greece|
|• Municipality||830.112 km2 (320.508 sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||321.015 km2 (123.945 sq mi)|
|Elevation||215 m (705 ft)|
|• Municipality density||44/km2 (110/sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||25,845|
|• Municipal unit density||81/km2 (210/sq mi)|
|• Population||22,883 (2011)|
|• Area (km2)||143.889|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Thebes is situated in a plain, between Lake Yliki (ancient Hylica) to the north, and the Cithaeron mountains, which divide Boeotia from Attica, to the south. Its elevation is 215 metres (705 feet) above mean sea level. It is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) northwest of Athens, and 100 kilometres (62 miles) southeast of Lamia. Motorway 1 and the Athens–Thessaloniki railway connect Thebes with Athens and northern Greece. The municipality of Thebes covers an area of 830.112 square kilometres (320.508 square miles), the municipal unit of Thebes 321.015 square kilometres (123.945 square miles) and the community 143.889 square kilometres (55.556 square miles).
In 2011, as a consequence of the Kallikratis reform, Thebes was merged with Plataies, Thisvi, and Vagia to form a larger municipality, which retained the name Thebes. The other three become units of the larger municipality.
The record of the earliest days of Thebes was preserved among the Greeks in an abundant mass of legends that rival the myths of Troy in their wide ramification and the influence that they exerted on the literature of the classical age. Five main cycles of story may be distinguished:
The Greeks attributed the foundation of Thebes to Cadmus, a Phoenician king from Tyre (now in Lebanon) and the brother of Queen Europa. Cadmus was famous for teaching the Phoenician alphabet and building the Acropolis, which was named the Cadmeia in his honor and was an intellectual, spiritual, and cultural center.
Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed cist graves dated to Mycenaean times containing weapons, ivory, and tablets written in Linear B. Its attested name forms and relevant terms on tablets found locally or elsewhere include 𐀳𐀣𐀂, te-qa-i,[n 1] understood to be read as *Tʰēgʷai̮s (Ancient Greek: Θήβαις, Thēbais, i.e. "at Thebes", Thebes in the dative-locative case), 𐀳𐀣𐀆, te-qa-de,[n 2] for *Tʰēgʷasde (Θήβασδε, Thēbasde, i.e. "to Thebes"), and 𐀳𐀣𐀊, te-qa-ja,[n 3] for *Tʰēgʷaja (Θηβαία, Thēbaia, i.e. "Theban woman").
It seems safe to infer that *Tʰēgʷai was one of the first Greek communities to be drawn together within a fortified city, and that it owed its importance in prehistoric days — as later — to its military strength. Deger-Jalkotzy claimed that the statue base from Kom el-Hetan in Amenhotep III's kingdom (LHIIIA:1) mentions a name similar to Thebes, spelled out quasi-syllabically in hieroglyphs as d-q-e-i-s, and considered to be one of four tj-n3-jj (Danaan?) kingdoms worthy of note (alongside Knossos and Mycenae). *Tʰēgʷai in LHIIIB lost contact with Egypt but gained it with "Miletus" (Hittite: Milawata) and "Cyprus" (Hittite: Alashija). In the late LHIIIB, according to Palaima, *Tʰēgʷai was able to pull resources from Lamos near Mount Helicon, and from Karystos and Amarynthos on the Greek side of the isle of Euboia.
As a fortified community, it attracted attention from the invading Dorians, and the fact of their eventual conquest of Thebes lies behind the stories of the successive legendary attacks on that city.
The central position and military security of the city naturally tended to raise it to a commanding position among the Boeotians, and from early days its inhabitants endeavoured to establish a complete supremacy over their kinsmen in the outlying towns. This centralizing policy is as much the cardinal fact of Theban history as the counteracting effort of the smaller towns to resist absorption forms the main chapter of the story of Boeotia. No details of the earlier history of Thebes have been preserved, except that it was governed by a land-holding aristocracy who safeguarded their integrity by rigid statutes about the ownership of property and its transmission over time.
As attested already in Homer's Iliad, Thebes was often called "Seven-Gated Thebes" (Θῆβαι ἑπτάπυλοι, Thebai heptapyloi) (Iliad, IV.406) to distinguish it from "Hundred-Gated Thebes" (Θῆβαι ἑκατόμπυλοι, Thebai hekatompyloi) in Egypt (Iliad, IX.383).
In the late 6th century BC, the Thebans were brought for the first time into hostile contact with the Athenians, who helped the small village of Plataea to maintain its independence against them, and in 506 BC repelled an inroad into Attica. The aversion to Athens best serves to explain the apparently unpatriotic attitude which Thebes displayed during the Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC). Though a contingent of 400 was sent to Thermopylae and remained there with Leonidas before being defeated alongside the Spartans, the governing aristocracy soon after joined King Xerxes I of Persia with great readiness and fought zealously on his behalf at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC. The victorious Greeks subsequently punished Thebes by depriving it of the presidency of the Boeotian League and an attempt by the Spartans to expel it from the Delphic amphictyony was only frustrated by the intercession of Athens.
In 457 BC Sparta, needing a counterpoise against Athens in central Greece, reversed her policy and reinstated Thebes as the dominant power in Boeotia. The great citadel of Cadmea served this purpose well by holding out as a base of resistance when the Athenians overran and occupied the rest of the country (457–447 BC). In the Peloponnesian War, the Thebans, embittered by the support that Athens gave to the smaller Boeotian towns, and especially to Plataea, which they vainly attempted to reduce in 431 BC, were firm allies of Sparta, which in turn helped them to besiege Plataea and allowed them to destroy the town after its capture in 427 BC. In 424 BC, at the head of the Boeotian levy, they inflicted a severe defeat on an invading force of Athenians at the Battle of Delium, and for the first time displayed the effects of that firm military organization that eventually raised them to predominant power in Greece.
After the downfall of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War, the Thebans, having learned that Sparta intended to protect the states that Thebes desired to annex, broke off the alliance. In 404 BC, they had urged the complete destruction of Athens; yet, in 403 BC, they secretly supported the restoration of its democracy in order to find in it a counterpoise against Sparta. A few years later, influenced perhaps in part by Persian gold, they formed the nucleus of the league against Sparta. At the Battle of Haliartus (395 BC) and the Battle of Coronea (394 BC), they again proved their rising military capacity by standing their ground against the Spartans. The result of the war was especially disastrous to Thebes, as the general settlement of 387 BC stipulated the complete autonomy of all Greek towns and so withdrew the other Boeotians from its political control. Its power was further curtailed in 382 BC, when a Spartan force occupied the citadel by a treacherous coup-de-main. Three years later, the Spartan garrison was expelled and a democratic constitution was set up in place of the traditional oligarchy. In the consequent wars with Sparta, the Theban army, trained and led by Epaminondas and Pelopidas, proved itself formidable (see also: Sacred Band of Thebes). Years of desultory fighting, in which Thebes established its control over all Boeotia, culminated in 371 BC in a remarkable victory over the Spartans at Leuctra. The winners were hailed throughout Greece as champions of the oppressed. They carried their arms into Peloponnesus and at the head of a large coalition, permanently crippled the power of Sparta, in part by freeing many helot slaves, the basis of the Spartan economy. Similar expeditions were sent to Thessaly and Macedon to regulate the affairs of those regions.
However, the predominance of Thebes was short-lived, as the states that it protected refused to subject themselves permanently to its control. Thebes renewed rivalry with Athens, who had joined with them in 395 BC in fear of Sparta, but since 387 BC had endeavored to maintain the balance of power against its ally, prevented the formation of a Theban empire. With the death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC), the city sank again to the position of a secondary power.
In the Third Sacred War (356—346 BC) with its neighbor Phocis, Thebes lost its predominance in central Greece. By asking Philip II of Macedon to crush the Phocians, Thebes extended the former's power within dangerous proximity to its frontiers. The revulsion of popular feeling in Thebes was expressed in 338 BC by the orator Demosthenes, who persuaded Thebes to join Athens in a final attempt to bar Philip's advance on Attica. The Theban contingent lost the decisive battle of Chaeronea and along with it every hope of reassuming control over Greece.
Philip was content to deprive Thebes of its dominion over Boeotia; but an unsuccessful revolt in 335 BC against his son Alexander the Great while he was campaigning in the north was punished by Alexander and his Greek allies with the destruction of the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar and the temples, its territory divided between the other Boeotian cities. Moreover, the Thebans themselves were sold into slavery.
Alexander spared only priests, leaders of the pro-Macedonian party and descendants of Pindar. The end of Thebes cowed Athens into submission. According to Plutarch, a special Athenian embassy, led by Phocion, an opponent of the anti-Macedonian faction, was able to persuade Alexander to give up his demands for the exile of leaders of the anti-Macedonian party, and most particularly Demosthenes and not sell the people into slavery .
Ancient writings tend to treat Alexander's destruction of Thebes as excessive. Although Thebes had traditionally been antagonistic to whichever state led the Greek world, siding with the Persians when they invaded against the Athenian-Spartan alliance, siding with Sparta when Athens seemed omnipotent, and famously derailing the Spartan invasion of Persia by Agesilaus. Alexander's father Philip had been raised in Thebes, albeit as a hostage, and had learnt much of the art of war from Pelopidas. Philip had honoured this fact, always seeking alliances with the Boeotians, even in the lead-up to Chaeronea. Thebes was also revered as the most ancient of Greek cities, with a history of over 1,000 years. Plutarch relates that, during his later conquests, whenever Alexander came across a former Theban, he would attempt to redress his destruction of Thebes with favours to that individual.
Following Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC, Thebes was re-established in 315 BC by Alexander's successor, Cassander. In restoring Thebes, Cassander sought to rectify the perceived wrongs of Alexander - a gesture of generosity that earned Cassander much goodwill throughout Greece. In addition to currying favor with the Athenians and many of the Peloponnesian states, Cassander's restoration of Thebes provided him with loyal allies in the Theban exiles who returned to resettle the site.
Cassander's plan for rebuilding Thebes called for the various Greek city-states to provide skilled labor and manpower, and ultimately it proved successful. The Athenians, for example, rebuilt much of Thebes' wall. Major contributions were sent from Megalopolis, Messene, and as far away as Sicily and Italy.
Despite the restoration, Thebes never regained its former prominence. The death of Cassander in 297 BC created a power vacuum throughout much of Greece, which contributed, in part, to Thebes' besiegement by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 293 BC, and again after a revolt in 292 BC. This last siege was difficult and Demetrios was wounded, but finally he managed to break down the walls and to take the city once more, treating it mildly despite its fierce resistance. The city recovered its autonomy from Demetrios in 287 BC, and became allied with Lysimachus and the Aetolian League.
During the early Byzantine period it served as a place of refuge against foreign invaders. From the 10th century, Thebes became a centre of the new silk trade, its silk workshops boosted by imports of soaps and dyes from Athens. The growth of this trade in Thebes continued to such an extent that by the middle of the 12th century, the city had become the biggest producer of silks in the entire Byzantine empire, surpassing even the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. The women of Thebes were famed for their skills at weaving. Theban silk was prized above all others during this period, both for its quality and its excellent reputation.
Thanks to its wealth, the city was selected by the Frankish dynasty de la Roche as its capital, before it was permanently moved to Athens. After 1240, the Saint Omer family controlled the city jointly with the de la Roche dukes. The castle built by Nicholas II of Saint Omer on the Cadmea was one of the most beautiful of Frankish Greece. After its conquest in 1311 the city was used as a capital by the short-lived state of the Catalan Company.
Latin hegemony in Thebes lasted to 1458, when the Ottomans captured it. The Ottomans renamed Thebes "İstefe" and managed it until the War of Independence (1821, nominally to 1832) except for a Venetian interlude between 1687 and 1699.
Today, Thebes is a bustling market town, known for its many products and wares. Until the 1980s, it had a flourishing agrarian production with some industrial complexes. However, during the late 1980s and 1990s the bulk of industry moved further south, closer to Athens. Tourism in the area is based mainly in Thebes and the surrounding villages, where many places of interest related to antiquity exist such as the battlefield where the Battle of Plataea took place. The proximity to other, more famous travel destinations, like Athens and Chalkis, and the undeveloped archaeological sites have kept the tourist numbers low.
Alexandros Merentitis (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Μερεντίτης, 1880–1964) was a Greek Army officer who rose to the rank of Major General. He participated in all Greek wars of the early 20th century, served as effective Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff in 1928–1929, General Secretary of the newly established Aviation Ministry in 1930–1934, and briefly as General-Governor of Northern Greece and Minister of Military Affairs in 1945.Archaeological Museum of Thebes
The Archaeological Museum of Thebes is a museum in Thebes, Greece.Aristeidis Kollias
Aristeidis P. Kollias (Greek: Αριστείδης Π. Κόλλιας; Albanian: Aristidh Kola, July 8, 1944 – October 1, 2000), was a Greek lawyer, publicist, amateur historian and folklorist. He was also president of the Association of the Arvanites Marko Bocari.Cadmea
The Cadmea, or Cadmeia (Greek: Καδμεία, Kadmía), was the citadel of ancient Thebes, Greece, which was named after Cadmus, the legendary founder of Thebes. The area is thought to have been settled since at least the early Bronze Age, although the history of settlement can only be reliably dated from the late Mycenaean period (c. 1400 BC).Cadmus et Hermione
Cadmus et Hermione is a tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The French-language libretto is by Philippe Quinault, after Ovid's Metamorphoses. It was first performed on 27 April 1673 by the Paris Opera at the Jeu de paume de Béquet.
The prologue, in praise of King Louis XIV, represents him as Apollo slaying the Python of Delphi. The opera itself concerns the love story of Cadmus, legendary founder and king of Thebes, Greece, and Hermione (Harmonia), daughter of Venus and Mars. Other characters include Pallas Athene, Cupid, Juno, and Jupiter.
With Cadmus et Hermione, Lully invented the form of the tragédie en musique (also known as tragédie lyrique). From contemporary Venetian opera, Lully incorporated elements of comedy among the servants, elements which he would later avoid, as would subsequent reformers in Italian opera.
A contemporary transcription of the overture by Jean-Henri d'Anglebert remains a possible part of the harpsichord repertoire.
In early 2008, the French ensemble Le Poème Harmonique staged a performance of the opera in Paris and Rouen, among other places.Chalcodon
In Greek mythology, the name Chalcodon (Ancient Greek: Χαλκώδων, gen.: Χαλκώδοντος means "like bronze") may refer to:
Chalcodon, the son of Abas and the king of the Abantes. He and Telamon assisted Heracles in his campaign against Elis. While leading his people in an attack on Thebes, Greece he was killed by Amphitryon. His son was Elephenor by either Imenarete, Melanippe or Alcyone. He also had several daughters, one of whom, Chalciope, married Aegeas.
Chalcodon of Cos, who wounded Heracles in a battle which arose when the Coans mistook Heracles for a pirate. Also known as Chalcon.
Chalcodon, a son of Aegyptus, who married and was killed by Rhodia, daughter of Danaus.
Chalcodon, a suitor of Hippodamia before Pelops, was killed by Oenomaus.European route E962
European route E 962 is a European B class road in Greece, connecting the city Eleusis – Thebes.Euthymios Malakes
Euthymios Malakes (Greek: Εὐθύμιος Μαλάκης, ca. 1115 – before 1204) was a Byzantine bishop and writer, closely connected to the intellectual court circles of Constantinople.
He was born ca. 1115 at Thebes in Greece. Sometime before 1166, he was appointed as the metropolitan bishop of Neopatras. He was related to the Tornikios family, and became closely connected to the intellectual circles of the Patriarchal School of Constantinople, as well as to such prominent scholar-bishops of the late Komnenian period as the Archbishop Eustathius of Thessalonica and Michael Choniates. His main works were rhetorical speeches, chiefly in honour of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos and his general, Alexios Kontostephanos, as well as monodies for his friends, including Eustathius.He may also be the original author of a further three speeches published by Euthymios Tornikes, who was Malakes' closest friend and who wrote a monody in his honour.Evangelos Basiakos
Evangelos Basiakos (Greek: Ευάγγελος Μπασιάκος; 1954 in Thebes, Greece – 17 February 2017) was a Greek politician in the New Democracy party, Member of Parliament for Boetia and Minister of Agricultural Development.Georgios Bogris
Georgios "George" Bogris (alternate spelling: Giorgos Greek pronunciation: [ˈʝorɣos ˈboɣris], Greek: Γιώργος Μπόγρης; born February 19, 1989) is a Greek professional basketball player for Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League and EuroLeague. He is 2.10 m (6 ft 10 3⁄4 in) tall, 109 kg (240 lbs.) in weight, and he plays at the center position.Haris Alexiou
Haris Alexiou (Greek: Χάρις Αλεξίου, pronounced [ˌxaris aleˈksiu]; born 27 December 1950 in Thebes, Greece as Hariklia Roupaka, Greek: Χαρίκλεια Ρουπάκα, pronounced [xaˌriklia ruˈpaka]) is a Greek singer. She is considered one of the most popular singers in Greece and has been commercially successful since the 1970s. She has worked with important Greek songwriters and composers, has performed at top musical theatres all over the world, and has received several awards. She has recorded over thirty albums and has been featured on albums of other musicians. On 14 March 2010 Alpha TV ranked Alexiou as the first top-certified female artist in Greece in the phonographic era (since 1960), Chart Show: Your Countdown and the Number 3 overall ranking with regards to the sale of the personal albums certified Gold or Platinum in Greek discography since 1970, behind the male singers George Dalaras and Yiannis Parios. Eight of her personal albums released between 1977 and 2003 have surpassed 1.5 million sales, the only Greek female singer to do so.
She also has an audience in Turkey and her various songs were sung in Turkish especially "Ola Se Thimizoun" (Everything reminds me of you) as "Olmasa Mektubun" (Without your letter) by Yeni Türkü, Erol Evgin, Müslüm Gürses, Sevda Karababa and Pilli Bebek; Teli Teli Teli as "Telli Telli" (Demoiselle, demoiselle), Pes Mou Pos Ginetai (Tell me, how is it possible?) as "Maskeli Balo" (Masquerade) by Yeni Türkü, Athena and Ata Demirer; Mia Pista Apo Fosforo (A floor of phosphorus) as "Her şeyi yak" by (Burn everything) Sezen Aksu and Duman and as "Nefes Almak İstiyorum" (I want to breathe) by Yonca Evcimik; Krata Gia To Telos (Keep it to the end) as "Sebahat Abla" (Elder sister Sebahat) by Müslüm Gürses; Fevgo (I'm leaving") as "Durma Yağmur" (Rain don't stop) by Gripin.
She has lived in Athens since 1958, when she and her family moved there from Thebes. Her grandmother's family migrated to Thebes in 1924 from Seydiköy, İzmir. Her name was given to a street in Gaziemir, in İzmir province, Turkey.Ieronymos II of Athens
Ieronymos II (Greek: Ιερώνυμος B’, romanized: Ierōnymos II, pronounced [ʝeˈronimos]; born March 10, 1938) is the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and as such the primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece. He was elected on 7 February 2008.John Kaloktenes
John Kaloktenes (Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Καλοκτένης; fl. 1166–c. 1190) was a 12th-century Byzantine Metropolitan of Thebes. Known for his charitable works, he was declared a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, with the surname the New Merciful (ὁ Νέος Ἐλεήμων), and is commemorated on April 29.Metropolis of Thebes and Livadeia
The Metropolis of Thebes and Livadeia (Greek: Ιερά Μητρόπολις Θηβών και Λεβαδείας) is a metropolitan see of the Church of Greece in Boeotia, Greece. Since the Middle Ages it has also existed as a Roman Catholic titular see. The current metropolitan (since 2008) is Georgios Mantzouranis.Rufus of Thebes
Rufus of Thebes (also Roufos) is numbered among the Seventy Disciples. He was bishop of Thebes in Greece, and is referenced in Romans 16:13. His feast day is April 8.Thebes
Thebes may refer to one of the following places:
Thebes, Egypt, Thebes of the Hundred Gates, one-time capital of the New Kingdom of Egypt
Thebes, Greece, Thebes of the Seven Gates, a city in Boeotia
Phthiotic Thebes or Thessalian Thebes, an ancient city at Nea Anchialos
Thebes (Ionia), in Asia Minor
Cilician Thebe, a mythological city in Cilicia, near the Troad
Thebes, Illinois, a village in the United StatesTheodoros Vryzakis
Theodoros Vryzakis (Greek: Θεόδωρος Βρυζάκης; 1819-1878) was a Greek painter, known mostly for his historical scenes. He was one of the founders of the "Munich School", composed of Greek artists who had studied in that city.Thiva F.C.
Thiva Football Club is a football club based in Thebes, Greece.Trigonon
A trigonon (trígōnon, from Greek "τρίγωνον", "triangle") is a small triangular harp occasionally used by the ancient Greeks and probably derived from Assyria or Egypt. The trigonon is thought to be either a variety of the sambuca or identical with it.
A trigonon is represented on one of the Athenian red-figured vases from Cameiros in the island of Rhodes, dating from the 5th century BCE, which are preserved in the British Museum. The triangle is here an irregular one, consisting of a narrow base to which one end of the string was fixed, while the second side, forming a slightly obtuse angle with the base, consisted of a wide and slightly curved sound-board pierced with holes through which the other end of the strings passed, being either knotted or wound round pegs. The third side of the triangle was formed by the strings themselves, the front pillar, which in modern European harps plays such an important part, being always absent in these early Oriental instruments. A small harp of this kind having 20 strings was discovered at Thebes, Greece in 1823.
|Regional unit of Boeotia|
|Regional unit of Euboea|
|Regional unit of Evrytania|
|Regional unit of Phocis|
|Regional unit of Phthiotis|
Subdivisions of the municipality of Thebes
|Municipal unit of Plataies|
|Municipal unit of Thebes|
|Municipal unit of Thisvi|
|Municipal unit of Vagia|