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Thebes, City of Legend, Defeater of Sparta

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Author Topic: Thebes, City of Legend, Defeater of Sparta  (Read 1981 times)
Jordan Fass
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« on: May 22, 2008, 03:09:13 pm »

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.
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.

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