Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 26 >> Thacher to The Cualnge Tam B6 >> Thebes_2


greece, leading, ac, city and history

THEBES (Greek, Thebai), Greece, the principal city of Bceotia, was situated on an elevated plateau, south of Mount Phaga, its site now being occupied by the unimportant modern town of Thive (pop. 3,500), at the junction of the road leading north from Athens, with the transversal road leading from the Strait of Euripos on the east to the Gulf of Corinth on the west. It was one of the most celebrated cities of Greece, the birthplace of Pindar, Epaminon das, and Pelopidas. Cadmus, leading thither a Phcenician colony, is said to have founded the city by building the citadel called Cadmeia (1500 B. c.). The principal name in the legendary history of Thebes is that of Edipus. The first recorded event in its history took place in 728 a.c., when Philolaus drew up a code of laws for the Thebans. During the Persian wars it lost much of its influence in Greece through its perfidious leagues with the Persians. In the Peloponnesian War the Thebans rendered im portant services to the Spartans; but they after ward, through jealousy of the Spartan power, joined the confederacy against them in 394. In 382, though peace then prevailed, Phcebidas, the Spartan commander, treacherously possessed himself of the Cadmeia, which was held by the Spartans until Pelopidas and Epaminondas headed a conspiracy which resulted in the death of the tyrants (378 a.c.). Open war now broke out between Sparta and Thebes, which resulted in the humiliation of the former by the crushing defeat of Leuctra (371). Thebes, under the

brilliant leadership of Epaminondas and Pelopi das was now the leading state in Greece, but its supremacy departed when the former fell at the battle of Mantinea (362 'lc.). On the rise of the Macedonian power Thebes entered into an alliance with the Athenians and other Greeks against Philip. After the battle of Chieronea (338 a.c.) it was obliged to receive a Macedonian garrison. On Philip's death an insurrection broke out in Thebes and an at tempt was made to drive the Macedonians from the Cadmeia. But Alexander hastened to their relief, captured and destroyed (336 a.c.) the city, and reduced the inhabitants to slavery. Twenty years afterward Cassander rebuilt Thebes; but it never recovered its former im portance. In the war of the Romans against Mithridates, king of Pontus, it joined the latter out of gratitude to Athens, and was severely chastised by the Romans under Sulla. From this time the Thebans as a power in Greece gradually disappear from history. In the 11th and•12th centuries it was again in a prosperous condition as a result of the introduction of silk manufacturing. It was sacked by the Normans in 1146. Consult Baedeker, Karl,