Thebes is a city of Boeotia, one of the oldest in Greece, seat of the Municipality of Thebes. According to the 2011 census, it has 22,833 inhabitants. It was built according to the myth by Cadmus and has great historical and mythological significance. Among the most important Thebans were Epameinondas, the great general of antiquity who made Thebes the ruler of Greece, and Pelopidas, the leader of the famous Holy Corps.

The citadel of Thebes was called "Kadmeia", thus indicating its founder. The plural of the name Thebes is due to its famous Fourteen Gates, which are closely associated with the myth of Niobe.

Thebes, also in ancient times, was called today's Karnak in Egypt. This name is said to be a corruption of the Egyptian word for "city".



The ancient name "Thebes" prevailed as the official name of the city in the purgatory. An unofficial name, however, was the one in the singular, as happened in the name of the capital, which was considered official after the abolition of the purgatory.



The Ogygi of Thebes, which means ancient Thebes, have their roots in the prehistoric period, which was glorious for the city. The name Yygos given to the first king of Thebes simply means "the very old". Thebes, like the whole of Boeotia, has an extremely leading role in Greek mythology. In this area, specifically in Parnassos, Defkalion was saved after the flood and his descendant Ellin. In the heroic years, the pan-Hellenic campaigns of the "Seven against Thebes" and their descendants had Thebes as their center of reference. The Argonaut campaign is almost a Boeotian affair. The campaign against Troy was organized in Boeotia. The historian Hesiod, the poet Pindar and the general Epameinondas also come from Boeotia.

The foundation of Thebes is described by the most charming myths of Greek mythology. In the Homeric epics the myths attributed it to the brothers Zethos (who brought the stones) and Amfionas, who, playing his lyre, enchanted them so that they moved alone and formed the famous walls of the seven-gate city. Other myths attribute the founding of the city to Cadmus, son of Aginoras, king of Phenicia. According to them, Zeus transformed into a bull stole the beloved daughter of Aginoras Europa and the king ordered his sons to look for her and not to return without her. In search of his sister Europa, Cadmus sought the help of Apollo in the oracle of Delphi. Then he received the order from the god to stop the searches and to follow the first heifer he would meet. Wherever the heifer kneels, there she will build a city, Thebes, in which the gods would generously distribute their blessings.

Cadmus followed the divine command and when the heifer knelt on a hill in Boeotia, she sacrificed it to the gods and looked for a source to wash and weigh. The source of Dirki that he found was protected by a terrible dragon, son of the god Mars. With the help of the goddess Athena, he killed the dragon, took the water that the new city needed and sowed the dragon's teeth in the Theban land, from where the ancestors of the Thebans, the Spartans, sprouted. Thus miraculously, by divine command, the new city was built, fortified and inhabited in the center of the fertile plain, rich in water and lakes, surrounded by beautiful and deep shaded mountains, Parnassos, Elikonas, Kithairon and other smaller ones that gave it a healthy climate. The city was located in the center of Greece, near the Corinthian and Evian gulf. Kadmos taught the Greeks the "Phoenix" letters, the Greek alphabet. He married Harmony and in their wedding for the first and only time all the Olympian gods came down from Olympus and celebrated with the new couple, to whom they gave rich gifts.

Cadmus was later punished by the god Mars for killing the dragon and exiled far from Thebes. He went to the parts of Epirus, built a city, Phenicia, and one of his descendants, the Illyrian, became the ancestor of the Illyrian nation whom the present-day Albanians consider their ancestors. The descendants of Kadmos in Thebes, the Lavdakides, inspired the tragic of antiquity, who saved their ugly fate in tragedies.

Oedipus the son of Laius and Jocasta is the most important figure in the Theban circle. His tragic fate led him from Corinth, where he grew up, adopted as an infant, in the court of King Polybius or Polybus, in Thebes, where he killed his father Laius according to the oracle of Pythia and married his mother Jocasta, ignoring the identity of. Before he had killed the mythical monster "Sphinx", securing the crown of Thebes. From his union with his mother four children were born, Eteocles, Polyneikis, Antigone and Ismene, which were followed by the curse of the house of Lavdakides. According to legend, the two boys kill each other in a war for the succession to the throne, while Antigone was sentenced to death for burying her brother, which had been banned by law. Oedipus, persecuted by Creon, blinded himself and was exiled to Athens, where he disappeared ignominiously.

The god of joy, Dionysus, was also born in Thebes, from the union of Zeus with the queen of Thebes, Semeli. Also from Thebes was the demigod Hercules, son of Zeus and Alcmene, who was distinguished for his bravery and his famous twelve deeds.

The Thebans honored Hercules with games that were held in his honor every year and were held in the high school dedicated to him.


Of particular importance in the Theban circle are the deities of Kaveira and the mountains Elikonas and Kithaironas. The Kavirs were mysterious and of a second form, Greek chthonic deities, tall supernatural representatives of the underworld fire and the eclipse. Their religion was so terrible that it was terrifying to hear it. According to others, demons are considered beneficial for the fruiting of trees and especially of the vine. Figurines in the Museum of Thebes prove their homosexual disposition.

Divination and sanctuaries existed on the mountains of Elikonas, Kithairon, Ptos and Messapios. In Kithairon there was an oracle of the Sealed Nymphs with priestesses the Kithairon nymphs. The oracle was the center of Dionysian ceremonies. The Erinyes lived there. The Nymphs and the Muses lived in Elikonas. In fact, there was the source of Hippocrates from which whoever drank acquired the gift of poetry. There were also sports competitions in honor of Eros and the Muses. In Ptoos there was the famous oracle of Ptoos Apollo. On Mount Ypatio there was the temple of Zeus at the top, while at the bottom there was the state of Glissanta, where the battle of the Epigones with the Thebans took place. The rich mythological cycle shows traces of life from 3200 BC, when Thebes goes from the era of hunting to the Bronze Age. Then it shows great growth during the Mycenaean period (1600 - 1100 BC) when warehouses, laboratories, archives, an impressive palace are built, from which important archaeological finds have emerged. The found sign file in linear writing B is considered very important.

History of the ancient city
It is the period that distinguishes the cities of Thebes and Orchomenos, which since the Mycenaean years dominated in Boeotia and usually competed. However, after the weakening of Orchomenos, due to a flood in the Kopaidian field, all the Boeotian cities formed the Boeotian public with a parliament in Onchistos, where with democratic votes they co-decided their common movements for the group interest. At that time, great and prominent men emerged, such as Hesiod, Pindar and the Tanagra poet Korina.

The information about this period was saved by the Athenian historians, who in black letters describe the "zeroing" of Thebes. For their attitude after the end of the war they were punished by the rest of the Greeks, who demanded the surrender of the city. They arrested the dignitaries and killed them without trial, proving that Zeroism was the work of the few, who imposed it on the people. After the battle of Plataea, the Thebans were under the yoke of the Athenians for about ten years. In the following years they try to get rid of the Athenian guardianship and ally with the Spartans. After the battle of Koronia in 394 BC. Thebes acquires special glamor in Greece.

During the Peloponnesian War, which lasted 27 years, Thebes sided with Sparta and remained on its side, in order to get rid of the tax of subjugation paid by the Thebans to the Athenians. After the end of the war they allied with the Athenians, because they did not have the rewards they expected from their allies the victorious Spartans. At the beginning of this period (404 - 338 BC) they fought many battles against the Spartans, where the Thebans always won. Decisive was the conflict of the two cities in Lefkra in 371 BC, which ended in the defeat of the Spartans. The important victory of the Thebans was due to the strategic genius of Epameinondas, who successfully implemented the system of the oblique phalanx, and the bravery of the Holy Corps that had been organized and commanded by Pelopidas. For about nine years after the battle of Lefktra, Thebes became the first force in Greece. Then it maintains its hegemony in the area of ​​Boeotia until the descent of the Macedonians.

After the battle of Chaeronia (338 BC) and the defeat of the Boeotians and Athenians by Philip II, the Thebans lost their hegemony in the Boeotian area. The Hierolochites were buried in a mass grave (Polyandrio, at the place where they were killed and a marble lion was erected. An oligarchic regime was imposed in Thebes and a Macedonian guard was established in Kadmeia. In their attempt to get rid of the city Only the house of the great Theban lyricist Pindar and the temples of the gods were saved from destruction by order of Alexander the Great.The city was rebuilt in 316 BC by the Macedonian king Cassander.

Romans (197 BC - 395 AD)

In 197 BC. Thebes with the other cities of Boeotia distanced itself from the Macedonians and became a vassal of the Romans. During the period of subjugation to the Romans peace prevailed in the region, without stops and wars. In 86 BC, when King Mithridates VI Eupator started a war against the Romans in Europe and Asia, Boeotia sided with him, only to return to the Romans when Sulla invaded Boeotia again. Boeotia later became a battleground between the Romans, who waged many civil wars.

During the Roman occupation, Thebes and Boeotia in general experienced great decline and decline. In the 2nd AD century the traveler Pausanias found inhabited only Kadmeia. The decline and impoverishment were completed by the raids of the Heroes and the Goths in the 3rd and 4th AD. century. Christianity in Boeotia was introduced in the 1st AD. century. Thebes was attracted to the new God by the Evangelist Luke and Roufos, who also became the first bishop of Thebes under the name "the chosen one". Roufos martyred between the years 54 - 68 AD.

Byzantine period (395 - 1204 AD)
Boeotia during the Byzantine period experienced economic prosperity. Thebes during the mid-Byzantine period was the seat of the military commander (General) of the Theme of Greece, as well as many other officials. The city and the wider area in a relatively short time developed many and varied robust activities, so that Thebes became the richest of all cities outside the Isthmus. Silk factories, tapestries, tanneries and agricultural products made Thebes a great city in the then known world. Even the raids of the Bulgarians (1040) and the Normans (1147) did not stop the economic prosperity of the city. According to the 12th-century medieval traveler Benjamin of Tudela, 2,000 Jews lived in Thebes, engaged in the processing, weaving, and dyeing of silk. The city was known throughout Greece for its silk craftsmen and its textile industry. Judah Al-izarizi, who visited the city in 1218, mentions the poet Michael B. Caleb, a resident of Thebes. The community was run by five curators and was famous for its scholars, such as Simon Atumano. Simon was a Jewish scholar and apparently worked with educated members of the small Jewish community that still existed in Thebes in the late 14th century. Simon translated at least part of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek and Latin. He thus prepared a trilingual Bible dedicated to Pope Urban VI.

Basil II the Bulgarian killer visited Thebes on his way to Athens and founded the church of the Three Hierarchs, at the site where the ruins of St. Basil are preserved today, near the Metropolitan Church (Loggia). Around 1199, in the years of Leo Sgouros, Thebes received one of the greatest attacks, as Leo was confronted by the emperor seeking personal benefits. The presence of Agios Ioannis of Kaloktenis, who is honored as a patron saint in Thebes, under the name "Neos Eleimon", was special in the Middle Ages.

Frankish rule (1204 - 1460 AD)
Bliss continues during the Frankish period, where Thebes is the capital and seat of the Duchy of Athens - Thebes and the richest province. From the income it secures, it becomes one of the most brilliant courtyards in Europe, with a remarkable army for the security of the Duchy. During the period of the Frankish dynasty, the French houses of De La Ross, De Brienne (1205 - 1311) and Saint-Omer (1240 - 1311), the Catalans with the kings of Sicily and Aragon (1311) as sovereign, were preserved in the city of Thebes. - 1387) and the domination of the Italian house of Atsagioli (1387 - 1460). A work of the Saint-Omer dynasty is the square tower located today next to the Archaeological Museum. Despite the conflicts of the dynasties, Thebes remained a strong center, with significant growth and economic prosperity. It was a strong center of power and power of the Franks until its conquest by Omar, son of the Turkish bey Turahan.

Ottoman rule (1460 - 1821 AD)
During the Turkish occupation, Thebes was donated to Valide sultana (that is, the mother of each Sultan). Valide had secured her rights with firms, so that no one could impose fines or order arrests without her permission. The administration of Thebes remained with the Theban community leaders or demagogues. The silk industry and agriculture in the first years are still flourishing, so that Thebes continues to be considered the richest city.


After the concession of the rich lands to the Turkish officials, the economic boom began to decline. The farmers began to leave the lowlands and go to the neighboring mountain villages, because they could not bear the taxes. Education was non-existent and the only source of learning was monasteries.

At the beginning of April 1821, Vassilis Bousgos under the orders of Athanasios Diakos occupied Thebes unharmed, while the Turks had taken refuge in Chalkida with their families. The rebels occupied the hill of Aniforitis, from where, after the return of a Turkish garrison to the city, they launched attacks until June 1821, when Omer Vryonis recaptured Thebes for the Ottomans and dispersed the remaining rebels. Turks also raided the surrounding villages, looting and killing. On June 1, 1821, the Thebans wrote to the Protestants of Hydra asking for help and protection:

"... the tyrants in Evia united after the Theban expatriates go out like wolves unaware of the inner coastal villages, and running like dogs rabid and fierce beasts grab, tear and burn villages and people, not being enough to answer the most brutal brutality of these ... "The city was burned by Dramalis in 1822. In the following years the Boeotian chiefs avoided moving against Thebes for tactical reasons; as they dominated the surrounding villages they practically neutralized the city guard, while on the other hand they considered that an occupation of Thebes would encourage the Turks to move with considerable force against them. Corps of Thebans, however, participated in various operations, mainly under the orders of the chiefs Athanasios and Georgios Skourtaniotis (from Skourta of Dervenochoria). In fact, the second was a close collaborator of Dimitrios Ypsilantis in 1829, in the attack for the occupation of Thebes, when its possession was now vital for the claim of stereo-Helladic territories that would fall to the Greek State. A bright figure during the liberation period was Thanasis Skourtaniotis, who defended Boeotia with his base in the mountainous Dervenochoria, which at that time numbered a large population. General Skourtaniotis' struggle ended with his sacrifice at Agia Sotira in Mavromatio, where he was blown up along with all his comrades.
With the victorious battle of Petra, under the command of Ypsilantis, the whole of Boeotia was liberated and from 1829 it was part of the new Greek state.

Modern Times
In recent years, after the establishment of the Greek state, Thebes continues to be the most important city of the Province of Thebes, offering to the new state with its agriculture and livestock. In all recent years, prominent Theban citizens have emerged and played a leading role in the political arena, playing an important role in the political development of the country. Characteristically, the three hundred young hierolochites (1877) who fought for the liberation of Thessaly and Epirus are mentioned. Another remarkable event of recent times is the drainage of Kopaida under the rule of Charilaou Trikoupi (1888), which radically changes the life of the city.

Thebes lost its formal primacy as the capital of the prefecture of Boeotia from Livadia at the beginning of the twentieth century, when micropolitical expediencies and balances allowed the Livadian politician Boufidis to take advantage of his relations with the then Prime Minister Theotokos and . Significant intervention in the city is made with the settlement of refugees due to the Asia Minor Catastrophe. The refugee group plays an important role in the Theban economy. Refugees, who easily adapt to local life, act stubbornly and impose their own people on the social structure. The hard years of the Occupation are for Thebes, as for other Greek cities, full of hunger, victims, deprivations and betrayals. Today Thebes is an important city of Boeotia and the seat of a municipality, while until 2011 it was the capital of the homonymous province of the prefecture.