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Thebes, City of Legend, Defeater of Sparta

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Jordan Fass
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« on: May 22, 2008, 03:07:55 pm »





City of legends
The defeater of Sparta


 Thebes, the birthplace of the legendary hero Herakles and men of importance like Pindar and Epameinondas, played a major role in the affairs of Greece, from its early history as the many legends of the city testify. Though not a great power, for a short time, thanks to the genius of Epameinondas and its superb trained army, led by the Sacred Band, took the hegemony of Greece by defeating the invincible Sparta.
Among other achievements was the formation of a league under its leadership, which united almost all the Boeotian cities.
 

 http://www.sikyon.com/Thebes/thebes_eg.html

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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #1 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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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 03:10:26 pm »



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, 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.

http://www.sikyon.com/Thebes/history_eg.html
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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 03:13:31 pm »




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.

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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 03:14:29 pm »

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.


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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2008, 03:09:36 pm »

The palace of Kadmos



Frescos from the walls of the Mycenaean palace of Kadmos, in Thebes,
dated from 14th to 13th century BC.


 

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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 03:10:51 pm »



Jewels found in the room of treasures in the palace chambers.
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2008, 03:11:46 pm »



Ivory pyxis (jewel box) from a tomb at Thebes,
Mycenaean period, 13th century BC.


 
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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 03:12:31 pm »



A vase from Thebes,
Mycenaean period, 13th century BC.

 
 
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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2008, 03:13:08 pm »

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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2008, 03:13:48 pm »



Early Helladic jugs from Boeotia,
 around 3000 - 2000 BC.
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Jordan Fass
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2008, 03:15:06 pm »



 Middle Helladic jug from Boeotia, of the
 2000 - 1680 century BC.

http://www.sikyon.com/Thebes/Art/thebes_peg03.html

 
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2008, 03:17:41 pm »



Geometric jug from Boeotia, of the
 early 8th century BC, with human
 and animal figures.
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2008, 03:18:24 pm »



Sikyonian perfume vase from Thebes,
middle of the 7th century BC.
 Louvre Museum.
 

 
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2008, 03:19:38 pm »



Drinking bowl from Boeotia, of the middle
 6th century BC.
 
 
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