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.
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.
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
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,
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, 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.
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,
Kapaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeos, Tydeus and
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Though 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.
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
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
The accomplishments of his expedition were great. He weakened and
humiliated Sparta and at the same time he increased the reputation of his
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
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 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
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
Twenty years later (316 BC) Kassander rebuild the city, which this time
played not a big role in the affairs of Greece.
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