About Thebes

Thebes was a powerful city in Ancient Greece, the few remains of which can now be seen in the modern Greek town of Thiva.

Whilst first occupied in Neolithic times and already thriving in the Helladic period, Thebes reached its peak during the Mycenaean period. The settlement continued to thrive, becoming an important city of Ancient Greece in the fourth century BC. Thebes is the site of numerous Ancient Greek events and myths, including being the birthplace of the Greek god Dionysus and demi-god Hercules. It was also the setting of Sophocles’s tragedy of Oedipus, the legendary King of Thebes who killed his father and married his mother.

The army of Thebes was at one time considered to be the best in Greece and demonstrated its prowess numerous times against that of Sparta. Thebes’s army was vitally important to its power and allowed it to become the ruling city of the Boeotia region.

Thebes began to decline in 338 BC, when it suffered defeat at the hands of the Macedonians in the Battle of Chaeronea. The final blow to the city occurred in 335 BC, when Thebes revolted against Alexander the Great, resulting in its absolute destruction. So great was the damage that Thebes never recovered and very little survives today.

Some ruins which can still be seen are the fortified Mycenaean palace of Kadmos, also known as Cadmea, and the Temple of Apollo Ismenios (found between the Electran Gates and the Aghios Loukas cemetery).

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