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Europa and the Bull

History of Thebes 

 

Cities in ancient Greece were built in fertile plains and close to a high ground (Acropolis) for protection and they were all walled (except Sparta). In the big and fertile Boeotian plain there were numerous ones, among them Orchomenos and Thebes, very ancient cities which became big powers.
People were living here, from Neolithic ages and beyond. This was the land of the aboriginal (autochthones) Ectenians, the oldest inhabitants of Boeotia and their famous king Ogyges.
Around 2500 BC, the territory, especially the north Boeotia, was occupied by the so-called Minyans. This little known people, whose origin was Kolchis, build the city of Orchomenos, famous later for its riches and culture. Orchomenos, in the archaic age was controlling a very large area and it was one of the first cities to issue coins in Greece. Minyans undertook the construction of the colossal project to drain and irrigate the plane of kopais, which overflowing from the rivers Kiphisos and Melanas and it seems they succeeded. For this purpose they constructed a canal 133 feet wide and 16 feet deep, extending for about 42 kilometers. With the passing of time though, they lost power and political supremacy passed to Thebes.
Around 1500 BC, the legendary hero Kadmos with an unknown number of Phoenicians came and founded Thebes. On a high ground, the so-called later Kadmeia, he build a palace and probably introduced the Phoenician alphabetical writing, although the art was not used, until centuries later.
Gold amphora with "Seven against Thebes"In the 13th century, the city was totally destroyed and this confirms the legend of "The Seven against Thebes", when Adrastos with the Epigonoi conquered Thebes and razed the city.
About 1200 BC, people coming from Arne in Thessaly and from territories from the mount Boeon in Epirus, occupied the place. This complex mixture of cultural and racial body came in intermarriage with the local population, creating the future Boeotians.
It is in this archaic age, that the legends belong, from which the Attic tragic poets drew up their subjects.

Kadmos

From Homer's Odyssey we learn about the two brothers Amphion and Zethos, as the founders of Thebes and that it was them, who built the big walls of the city, but according to Apollodoros and others, it was Kadmos, whose sister Europa was carried by Zeus, disguised as a bull, from Egypt to Crete, where she bore her three children Minos, Rhadamanthos and Surpedon.
Kadmos, in search for his sister, arrived at Delphi, where he was told to follow a cow and built a city, in the spot where the animal would lie down. According to the myth, the cow stopped at the later Acropolis, Kadmeia.
There are numerous myths about the accomplishments of Kadmos. He killed the Dragon (an offspring of Ares), who was guarding the fountain Areia. Godess Athena told him to sow the dragon's teeth into the earth and from them, they sprang armed men (Sparti), who killed each other, surviving only five (Chthonius, Echion, Hyperenor, Pelorus, Udaeus). From these five, the noble families of Thebes arose, calling themselves Sparti.
There are also many myths about the four daughters of Kadmos. One of them, Agave, married Echion and in his reign the God Dionysos appeared for first time in Greece to establish his rights and obtain divine honor. Kadmos and the famous Theban prophet Teiresias accepted him, but not Pentheus,Death of Pentheus. Theban women are tearring him to pieces, because he refused the worship of Dionysos, attic red-figured kylix by Douris with the potter Python, 480 BC the son of Agave, who was strongly opposed to his wild ceremonies. He was avenged by Dionysos, with the help of his mother Agave, who in a state of Bacchic fury, torn him to pieces and brought his head to Thebes.
Kadmos with his wife Armonia retired in Illyria. Kadmos ought to have ruled wisely, in order to secure a place, in the difficult to enter Elysium as the ancient people believed that went after his death.

Amphion - Zethos

There was the succession of kings, Polydoros, Labdakos and Laios, whom Lykos dethroned. The brother of Lykos, Nykteus, had a daughter, Antiope ,who was famous for her beauty among the Greeks. Epopeus, king of Sikyon, abducted Antiope and her father Nykteus raised an army and invaded Sikyon. During the battle, which was won by the Sikyonians, Epopeus and Nykteus were wounded, Nykteus was carried to Thebes where he died. Before his death, he appointed as regent of Thebes his brother Lykos and made him promise to raise an even larger army and take vengeance and punish his daughter, in case that she was taken. Lykos invaded Sikyon, defeated and killed Epopeus and took back Antiope, but in their way to Thebes, in a cave near the city Eleutherae, she bore the twin sons, Amphion and Zethos, which she abandoned them there. A shepherd, found the children and brought them up as herdsmen, knowing nothing about their noble birth.
When Antiope returned to Thebes, she found life unbearable from the persecutions of Lykos and his cruel wife, Dirke. She escaped and found refuge at the place where her sons were living, which by now had grown to manhood. Dirke tried to bring her back, but Amphion and Zethos in the mean time recognized Antiope as their mother and took revenge, for her sufferings. Lykos was slain and Dirke drugged to death, tied up to the horns of a bull. The two brothers returned to Thebes, banished Laios and took the throne. Making use of their lyre, which had been taught from the god  Hermes, they started building the walls of Thebes, the stones moving by themselves, obeying the rhythm of their song.

Oedipus

When Laios, king of Thebes, married Iocaste, Delphi gave an  oracle to him, that if Iocaste bore a son, he would kill his father. And so, when Oedipus was born, he was exposed on the mount Kithairon, where he was found by herdsmen of king Polybos of Sikyon, who brought him up, as his own child. Oedipus, on a trip to Delphi, in order to ask the name of his real father, he was given the answer, that he was destined to kill his father and it would be better, not to return to his country.
He left Delphi and followed the road towards Boeotia and Phokis and at the spot, where the road forked leading to these two countries, he met his father Laios and after a  quarrel, he killed him.
Oedipus later solved the riddle of the Sphinx, a monster with the face of a woman, wings and tail, which she was terrorizing the country, eating anyone who would not answer correctly. After the correct answer of Oedipus, the Sphinx killed herself. For reward, Oedipus was made king of Thebes and without knowing, he married his mother, queen Iokaste, which later hanged herself, when the gods made known, that she married her son.
Oedipus married again, with Euryganeia, and had four children with her, Eteokles, Polyneikes, Antigone and Ismene. He later blinded himself and went into exile, accompanied by Antigone and Ismene. He died in Athens, at Kolonos.

Eteokles - Polyneikes

After the death of Oedipus, the two brothers agreed to rule Thebes for one year, in turn. At the end of the first year, Polyneikes ought to take the reign, but Eteokles refused. Polyneikes was forced in exile and went to king Adrastos of Argos. Upon his arrival, he quarreled with Tydeus of Aitolia, another fugitive. Adrastos parted them and married them with his daughters, fulfilling an oracle, which had been given to him, that he would marry his daughters with a lion and a boar. Indeed the shields of the two exiles, carried a lion and a boar. In order to reinstate Polyneikes to the throne, Adrastos opened war against Thebes. The seven chiefs were Adrastos, Amphiaraos, Kapaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeos, Tydeus and Polyneikes.

The seven against Thebes, olpe 470 BC

With auxiliaries from Arcadia, Messene and other cities from Peloponnese marched towards Thebes. There was a battle near the Ismenian hill with the Thebans, who were assisted by the Phokians and the Phlegyae. Adrastos won the battle and the Thebans were forced within the walls. Adrastos then attacked the city, each chief selecting one of the seven gates of the city, to fight. Thebes was in great danger and was probably saved from the prophet Teiresias, who made the prophesy "that the city would be saved if Menoekeos, son of Kreon, would give his life to God Ares". When this was learned from the youth, he went out from the gate and slew himself, giving his life without a second thought. That gave courage to Thebans, who fought with great enthusiasm
When Parthenopaeos was killed by a stone from Periklymenos, Adrastos ordered his troops back. It was the turn of Thebans now to attack, when Eteokles challenged in combat his brother Polyneikes, from which the outcome of the war would have decided. Unfortunately for the armies, both slew each other and the war started again.
The sons of Astakos of Thebes fought bravely, Melanippos killed Tydeus, his other son Leades killed Eteoklus and Amphidikos killed Hippomedon.
Amphiaraos in his turn, in order to avenge the death of Tydeus, killed Melanippos. It was close to be pierced by the spear of Periklymenos, when the ground opened under him and took him together with his chariot and horses.
The spot, on which the event happened, was shown to the days of Pausanias. Amphiaraos worshipped as god at Thebes, Oropos and Argos and for many centuries was giving prophetic answers to peoples questions.
When Adrastos lost Amphiaraos, "the eye of his army", and all the other chiefs had been killed, he was forced to leave and he was saved thanks to his horse Arion, the offspring of Poseidon.

The Epigonoi

Ten years later, Adrastos returned to Thebes with the sons of the slain chiefs. These were, Aigialeos, his son, Thersander, the son of Polyneikes, Alkmaeon and Amphilochos, sons of Amphiaraos, Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, Sthenelos son of Kapaneus, Promachos son of Parthenopaeos and Euryalos son of Mekistos.
Arcadia, Messene, Corinth and Megara, they all helped the Epigonoi. They met Thebans in the river Glisas and there was a battle, in which the Theban army was destroyed, though the son of Eteokles, Laodamas, killed the son of Adrastos, Aigialeos. The defeated Thebans were driven inside the walls, by Alkmaeon.
The Thebans then consulted the prophet Teiresias, who told them that everything had been lost and the Gods had decided. The words of Teiresias were listened and the Thebans offered to surrender the city. They fled with their wives and children, under the command of Laodamas, to the Illyrians. The Epigonoi entered the city and put to the throne Thersander, the son of Polyneikes.
Adrastos, who was praised in the epic for his soft voice and persuasive eloquence, having lost his son, died from grief, in his way home. He was worshiped as hero at Sikyon and Argos. Sikyonians build a Heroon in the public Agora and his exploits and sufferings were celebrated in lyric tragedies.

Boeotian league

The Archaic Thebes had always good relations with Athens. That was the case until Plataea, one of the main cities of Boeotia being dissatisfied with the league, asked protection from the king of Sparta, Kleomenes, who refused and advised them cunningly to ask help from the Athenians. Plataeans, in order to force their case, chose a day where public sacrifice was taking place in Athens and surrendered the city to them. Not much time passed after this event and Thebes invaded Plataea.
An Athenian force marched against them and the battle would had started soon, if Corinth had not interposed. Anyway the terms of the mediation were not accepted by the Thebans, who attacked the Athenians, but the result was a catastrophe for them, losing completely the fight. Thebes, after this humiliation, tried to summon allies from all parts of Peloponnese to attack again, but never telling them the purpose of it. When they had prepared and the purpose of the expedition was made known, many of the allies refused to take part, especially the Corinthians, who had friendly relations at that time with Athens, withdrew their forces. Boeotians and Chalkidians invaded Attica from three sides but the Athenians in the strait of Euripos they attacked the Boeotians, winning a complete victory. Thousands were killed and 700 Boeotians were taken prisoners.
On the same day Athenians attacked the Chalkidians in Euboea and had an even greater victory. Boeotians and Chalkidians were brought in chains in Athens and thus the war ended.

Battle of Koronea

Thebans were always good soldiers, but in the battle of Koronea, which took place in August of 394 BC, they proved that they could defeat even the Spartans. King Agesilaos of Sparta, who had just returned from the expedition in Asia, brought his army in the valley Koronea of Boeotia. From the other side Thebans, Athenians and their allies were ready for battle. What followed in this dramatic day, just only two months after the battle of Corinth (July 394 BC), cannot be described.
The two armies came silently close to each other. When they came near the distance of two hundred meters, the Thebans attacked running against the Spartans, who started moving only when Thebans came about one hundred meters close. It was such the force of the impact, that the spears broke. Pushing with shields each other, they only could use their daggers. Both armies fought desperately, king Agesilaos, though many times wounded was at the front ranks. The battle ended with the victory of Sparta, though Thebans succeeded in breaking the Spartan lines and fighting better than them. 

The Persian wars

During the Persian invasion Thebes led by very few oligarchs, Medized. After the defeat of Persians, the city would had been destroyed by the Greeks, if not from the leniency, they received from Sparta. Anyway, Thebes was punished and lost the hegemony, which had over the other Boeotian cities.
Some years later Spartans again helped Thebes to take the hegemony of the League and a nobler Thebes started to take shape. In just three generations will produce men like Epameinondas and Pelopidas.

Spartan invasion

The city of Thebes, which had not taken any serious part in the Peloponnesian war, was prospering but as was usual with all the Greek cities, was torn inside from the fights of oligarchs and democrats.
That was the case, when Leontiades a prominent oligarch, asked for help from the near Thebes encamped Spartan army, under general Phoebidas (382 BC). Leontiades, in order to expel the democrats from Thebes, proposed to the general to take over Kadmeia, something which was accepted eagerly.
All these were happening during the celebration of Thesmophoria, when women alone were performing ceremonies to honor the founder of the city, Kadmos, and they were no males on the citadel. Phoebidas and his army entered Kadmeia, without any difficulties.
Ismenias, the leader of the democratic party was tried and executed. The oligarchs, with the help of the Spartan garrison, started confiscating and executing the democrats. Many of them found refuge at Athens. From there they started thinking how to free their city.
At first, they tried to get help especially from Athens, but soon they despaired and started designing various plots to liberate Thebes by themselves. Among the exiles they were many belonging to wealthy and noble families, such as Pelopidas, Damokleidas, Melon and others. They were in constant communication with other members which were still in Thebes, the most prominent of them being Phyllidas the secretary of the polemarch Archias and Charon.  
Upon arrival of Phyllidas in Athens for official business it was arranged to provide the opportunity for the exiles to struck. Charon would provide shelter in his home. Phyllidas arranged a banquet for Archias and Philippus and promised them beautiful women for company.
In December of 379 BC, Pelopidas, Melon and five companions left Athens and disguised as rustics or hunters, entered the city of Thebes at night fall and hid in Charon's house. Together with other conspirators from Thebes, they totaled 48 persons. A spy of Archias, reported to him that they were rumors that some of the exiles were in town. Archias called Charon to give some answers. Charon though worried, went quickly to him and from his questions understood that he had no facts but only suspicions. He promised to look upon the matter and left.
Soon after a messenger from Athens came with a letter in which the full conspiracy was revealed. Archias, who by now was drunk, threw it aside, saying the famous words "Urgent business for tomorrow". Immediately after, the conspirators disguised as women entered the room and killed Archias and Philippus and everyone else who was there.
Phyllidas then sent Pelopidas, Kephisodorus and Damokleidas to Leontiades house. There was a hard fight in which Leontiades, a strong man, mortally wounded in the throat Kephisodorus. Pelopidas, after a long struggle in the narrow hall of his house, killed Leontiades. With the death of the two tyrants, the exiles from Athens returned.
Epameinondas with some of the young men broke open  the armorer's shops and called the citizens to fight for their freedom. After all these, the Spartan garrison of 1500 men, left Thebes for Sparta (378 BC). 
In 375 BC, near Tegyra, Pelopidas with the Theban Sacred Band defeated the Spartan army, though his troops were half in number. Being informed that the Spartan garrison in Orchomenos were visiting Lokris, he marched with the Sacred Band in order to give battle. He met them at Tegyra and thanks to his encouragement in a narrow pass he defeated them, killing both of the Lacedaemonian commanders. The rest of the Spartan army dispersed and fled. This was a heroic achievement by Pelopidas, taking in consideration the smaller number of his troops and the Spartan valor. It was this battle that gave confidence to Thebans to meet Spartans four years later in Leuctra.

The battle of Leuctra
371 BC

The Ieros lochos (sacred band), 300 in number, was consisted from the most distinguished youths in athletics, especially in wrestling. They were all of noble birth and chosen in pairs of intimate friends, in order to keep the "lochos" (company) unassailable. They were under continuous training and permanently at arms, with public expense.
In 371 BC, on the plain of Leuctra, Spartans were defeated again from the Theban Sacred Band, this time under the leadership of General Epameinondas.
EpameinondasThough the Theban forces were outnumbered by the Lacedaemonians,
Epameinondas with a series of ingenious tactics and with the help of his supreme trained men of the Sacred Band defeated the invincible Spartan army. He arrayed the best men of his troops, fifty shields deep, opposite to the opponent right wing occupied by the Spartans, which were twelve shields deep, leaving his center and left wing weak and ordering them to stay momentarily out of action. The battle started with the engagement of Spartan and Theban cavalries, which ended quickly with the defeat of Spartans. Pelopidas leading the Sacred Band fell upon the Spartans with irresistible force but the Spartans fought bravely and at first were victorious. It was only when leading Spartans fell that the Spartan lines pushed and broke carrying away the rest of the army and driving them to the camp. King Kleombrotos of Sparta and many of his officers were killed. The rest of the army hardly had any serious fighting. From the 700 Spartans who took part in the battle, only 300 survived. The whole Hellas was in sock from the event, understanding that a new power had risen. At Argos, there was a revolution and the people put to death many of the upper class pro-spartan.
After the battle they sent herald to Athens proclaiming their victory over the Spartans, but Athenians were not satisfied with the turn of events. Now they had a new superpower a few miles from Athens. They also sent a herald to Jason of Pherae in Thessaly. Jason upon hearing the news said he would come quickly in Thebes with triremes, but instead with great speed and passing through enemy territory arrived in Boeotia. There the Theban leaders proposed him to attack the encamped Spartans and her allies. Jason and Epameinondas refused and managed to persuade them to let them go and thus saving Spartans from a bigger catastrophe. Spartans indeed soon left and at Aigosthena they met with Archidamos who was marching to help them. From there they returned home.
With the battle of Leuctra, the Hegemony of Greece passed from Sparta to Thebes, but for the short time of ten years. It did no good and as that of Sparta it hurt Greece greatly. Thebes had no experienced and knowledgeable men, nor her economy could withstand this. It failed as Sparta did, to unite the Greek cities and stop the blood bath of Greece. There was turmoil all over Peloponnese. The inhabitants of Mantinea in Arcadia, which had been broken in several villages, took back their capital and build new walls. In Tegea of Arcadia, the people formed an Arcadian federation. In two years time a powerful confederation was born that was including except the old alliances, Phokis, Locris, Aitolia and Euboea. After the battle of Leuctra, Thebes made again peace with Athens and wanted to destroy Orchomenos for being in alliance with the Spartans. The city was saved thanks to the great efforts of Epameinondas, but not for long. A few years later when Epameinondas was at an expedition in Byzantium, the city was razed, its male citizens were killed and the rest were sold in slavery. That, it was another big blunder by the Thebans.

Invasion in Laconia

In Arcadia, an ally of Thebes, king Agesilaos of Sparta was ravaging its territories. In reply to this, Thebes sent an army under Epameinondas. When Agesilaos heard the news, he evacuated Arcadia and returned to Sparta, to protect her.
Upon Epameinondas arrival in Arcadia, he joined forces with members of the confederation from Arcadia, Argos and Elis. The total number of the army force was amounted to about fifty thousands men. The confederation pressed strongly Epameinondas, to invade Laconia, explaining to him that there was a general discontent and by this time many Perioikoi had revolted.
He was finally persuaded and in the autumn of 370 BC, invaded Laconia from four different routes, marching towards Sparta.
Only the Arcadians encountered serious resistance, by the Spartan Ischolaos at Ium, in the district Skiritis. Ischolaos and his divisions fell to the last man. 
Finally, they all met at Sellasia, which they destroyed and burned and from there, they marched towards Sparta, which was saved from king Agesilaos, who had taken a series of defenses to protect the unwalled city.
Epameinondas who understood the danger of an attack towards the city in human loss, abandoned any further attempts to conquer the city. From there, burning and plundering villages, he marched towards the port and arsenal of Sparta, Gythium, which he attempted to conquer for three days, without success.
Epameinondas then returned to Arcadia and under his supervision a new city was built at the banks of the river Helisson, as the capital of the Arcadian confederation and it was named Megalopolis (the big city). In Megalopolis, a synod of deputies from all the towns of the confederation, was to meet periodically, to manage their affairs.
After this Epameinondas entered Messenia, in order to liberate her from the Spartans. In the mean time defection among the Perioikoi and Helots had already started. Epameinondas re founded Messene and in the hills of mount Ithome built excellent fortifications stretched for four miles, which are still preserved today. All of these had a devastating effect in the economy of Sparta, which lost half of its territory for ever and had no more the people to provide for its military.
In the meantime, Sparta had asked help from Athens. Iphicrates with an Athenian army of twenty thousand men, marched to Arcadia. Epameinondas hearing the news evacuated Laconia quickly and headed to Arcadia. The two armies, though close, did not engage in full battle. Iphicrates, who decided that his mission had been accomplished, returned to Athens.
Epameinondas too, returned to Thebes and he was put to a trial, because he extended the time of his expedition and also for being pacific and inactive. He defended himself successfully, increasing even more his popularity.  
The accomplishments of his expedition were great. He weakened and humiliated Sparta and at the same time he increased the reputation of his army.
Because it was essential to communicate with her allies, in the spring of 369 BC, Epameinondas again tried to invade Peloponnese, but this time Athenians, Spartans and their allies were occupying the line of mount Onean and Kenchreae, in order to prevent him to enter Peloponnese. Epameinondas arrived and tried without success to make them fight in battle, even though his army was smaller. He encamped and a few hours before day break surprised them, by attacking and defeating the Spartan and Pellenian line. He was thus enabled to enter Peloponnese and join with his allies Arcadians, Elians and Argians. Sikyon  deserted Sparta, after a vote taken by its people and admitted an harmost and a Theban garrison into its Acropolis. The same did Pellene. After the army ravaged the territories of Epidauros and Phleious, he tried by surprise to take the town of Corinth, but they defeated by the Athenian general Gavrias, who resisted with great skill. After this unsuccessfull attempt, the Theban army returned home.
During the year of 368 BC, Epameinondas did not undertake any expedition into Peloponnese, instead Pelopidas with an army Theban force entered Thessaly, to protect Larissa from king Alexander of Macedonia. Pelopidas forced him to solicit peace, taking among the fifty hostages the future king of Macedonia, the son of Amyntas, Philip, who stayed for some years at the city of Thebes.
In 366 BC, Thebes enlarged the confederation by including cities of the Corinthian gulf and Achaia, but lost them again, when demanded that their oligarchical government ought to be deposed. That was a great mistake, showing the luck of experienced men.
In 364 BC, after insistence of Epameinondas, a large number of war ships were constructed and sailing them towards Hellispond. Epameinondas succeeded to win over Byzantium. Financial difficulties as well as luck of experience in maritime, put an end in the ambitions of Thebes.

The battle of Mantinea
362 BC

In 363 BC, in a surprising move Arcadians seized Olympia and stole their treasury. War broke with Elis but with the intervention of Thebes, Olympia was returned and peace followed. During the negotiations the Theban representative tried to arrest certain anti-Thebans. That had as result Mantinea and the rest of northern Arcadians, except Tegea, to turn over to Sparta. Athens which was monitoring the situation joined together with Elis. Thebes had no option but to send quickly Epameinondas with a big army against Mantinea. At Tegea about ten miles distance from Mantinea, he joined army with them but in unexpected move instead of Mantinea he marched towards Sparta. Unlike the first time this move would have taken by surprise Agesilaos who by this time was marching in a circular root to support Mantinea. But a Kretan spy in the Theban camp, trained in long distance running, informed Agesilaos who turned back. When Epameinondas reached Sparta and found out what had happened he moved quickly towards Mantinea before her allies arrival. It was probably really this his object and not of course to attack Sparta ,but not everything went according to his plan. By this time the Athenian army had just arrived. Now Epameinondas had no option but to engage himself in a pitched battle. 
The two armies met before Mantinea in 362 BC. The Theban army, comprising from Thebans and Boeotians moved forward. The rest of the army was left behind in echelon formation with the exception of troops that kept a high ground in order to prevent out flagging from the right. As the army moved, Epameinondas turned quickly leftwards and near the slopes of the mountain and then he gave order to the soldiers to leave the arms down and rest. The Spartans and Mantineans thinking that Epameinondas had no intention to fight a battle, they broke lines.
Epameinondas, who was awaiting for this, ordered a quick attack. The massive Theban body fell upon Spartans and Mantineans with irresistible force breaking their lines and bringing confusion and chaos to the rest of the army.
The battle had been almost won when Epameinondas fell pierced by a spear in the breast. They lied him on a hill, waiting for the final outcome of the battle. Though the battle was won by Thebans, on Epameinondas order they made peace, when he learned that all his favorite generals had been perished in the battle.

The battle of Chaeronea
338 BC

On the 7th of August, of the year 338 BC, Thebes with her ally Athens, met the army of Philip, king of Macedon, at Chaeronea. After a long and fierce battle the Macedonian army was victorious. All the men of the Sacred Band fell, they were never beaten till then. They all buried on the spot and in their memory a stone lion was erected.
In 336 BC, after persisting rumors of Great Alexander's death, Thebans assisted from Athens with arms and money they entered the city, but they were unable to take Kadmeia. They immediately called for general assembly and spoke of liberating the city, as fifty years before had been liberated by Pelopidas. The people accepted and a vote was passed which was declaring the autonomy of Thebes. Attempts to expel the garrison though failed. They also sent envoys to Arcadia and other cities and called them to join. Unfortunately for them no other city accepted.
As all these were happening Alexander was at Illyria. With lightening speed, he arrived at Thebes in time, but he did not attack the city immediately hoping they would surrender. He made a proclamation to Thebans, to surrender their two leaders and pardoning them. Thebans in their turn  demanded for security the surrender of Antipater and Philotas. After this, Alexander surrounded the city with buttering machines and was ready to storm the city, but still he was waiting for a change of opinion. After insults between Thebans, which were out of the walls in front of the gate ready to protect their city, and the men of general Perdikas, the battle started. Thebans fought heroically, but they were pushed inside the walls eventually. Macedonians stormed the city killing more than six thousands. Thirty thousands were sold as slaves. The Macedonian loss was five hundred men. The city was plundered and burned, except the temples and the Pindar's house.
Twenty years later (316 BC) Kassander rebuild the city, which this time played not a big role in the affairs of Greece.

Hellenistic period

In 290 BC Thebes fell, as many other cities, in the hands of Macedonian Demetrios Poliorketes.
Once again Thebes was destroyed by Sulla, in 86 AD, for being sided with Mithridates in the war against Rome. Half of its territory was given to Delphians, for compensation of plundering the Oracle.
In 248 AD, as well in 396 AD, Thebes was conquered by Goths. Thebes found a new peak in the middle ages.
In the 9th century it was the capital of Byzantine Hellas and  the center of silk manufacturing, which introduced to Europe. In 1040 AD, Bulgarians after fierce fighting occupied the city and in 1146 AD the city was sacked by the Normans of Sicily.
Again in 1205 AD was taken by Boniface of Montferrat, who gave her to Otho de la Roche.
Finally, during the Turkish occupation, Thebes degenerated into a village.
Recovering from two earthquakes, in 1853 and 1893 AD, Thebes today is a modern city.

 


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