Antiope of Thebes
In Greek mythology, Antiope was the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer. She was the mother of Zethus, her beauty attracted Zeus, assuming the form of a satyr, took her by force. A. B. Cook noted that her myth "took on a Dionysiac colouring, Antiope being represented as a Maenad and Zeus as a Satyr"; this is the sole mythic episode. After this she was carried off by Epopeus, venerated as a hero in Sicyon. On the way home she gave birth, in the neighbourhood of Eleutherae on Mount Cithaeron, to the twins Amphion and Zethus, of whom Amphion was the son of the god, Zethus the son of Epopeus. Both were left to be brought up by herdsmen. At Thebes Antiope now suffered from the persecution of Dirce, the wife of Lycus, but at last escaped towards Eleutherae, there found shelter, unknowingly, in the house where her two sons were living as herdsmen; this is the situation in Euripides' Antiope, which turns upon the recognition of mother and sons and their rescue of her. Here she was discovered by Dirce.
They were about to obey, when the old herdsman, who had brought them up, revealed his secret, they carried out the punishment on Dirce instead, for cruel treatment of Antiope, their mother, treated by Dirce as a slave. In Euripides, the descent of Hermes stops the brothers from putting their uncle to death. For the treatment of Dirce, it is said, Dionysus, to whose worship she had been devoted, visited Antiope with madness, which caused her to wander restlessly all over Greece until she was cured, married by Phocus of Tithorca, on Mount Parnassus, where both were buried in one grave. Amphion became a great singer and musician after Hermes taught him to play and gave him a golden lyre. For Greeks of the Classical age, the contrast between the lifestyles of the two became the most salient element in the narrative. Together they built and fortified Thebes, huge blocks of stone forming themselves into walls at the sound of Amphion's lyre. Amphion married Niobe, killed himself after the loss of his wife and children.
Zethus married Aedon, or sometimes Thebe. The brothers were buried in one grave. At Sicyon, Antiope was important enough that a chryselephantine cult image was created of her and set up in the temple of Aphrodite. Pausanias speaks of it. Only one priestess, an elderly woman, was permitted to enter the cella of the temple, with a young girl chosen each year, to serve as Lutrophoros. Euripides' Antiope, presented about 408 BCE, was quoted, in Plato's Gorgias and many other authors, resulting in a large array of fragments. In 1890 Flinders Petrie discovered further papyrus fragments, reused in constructing a 3rd-century BCE Ptolemaic mummy case found in the Fayoum; the modern comprehensive reconstruction of all the fragments is that of Jean Kambitsis, ed. and commentator, L'Antiope d'Euripide. The myth of Amphion, the legendary founder of Thebes, Antiope inspired a lot of other similar myths in several areas of Greece. Amphion was son of Zeus and of Antiope, daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus.
The myth took a Dionysiac colour because Zeus was transformed into a satyr in a sole mythic event and Antiope into a maenad. After this she was carried off by Epopeus in Sicyon, where he was venerated as a hero in the temenos of Athena. Burkert notices the similarity with the myth of Athena Polias and Erechtheus in Athens. Returning to Thebes, on Mount Cithaeron she gave birth to the twins Amphion, son of the god, Zethus, son of the mortal Epopeus; the story is mentioned in fragments of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Asius of Samos. Other twins of similar dual parentage are the Greek Dioscuri who appear as snakes, protecting the temples. Amphion, the founder of Thebes, became a great singer and musician with a golden lyre, huge blocks of stone formed themselves into the walls of Thebes, the city with the seven gates, his brother Zethus became a hunter and a herdsman and the two brothers represent the contrast between two different lifestyles. In Euripides' tragedy Antiope they contrasted in debate their contemplative lives.
Dionysos, to whose worship Antiope was devoted, visited her with madness, causing her to wander restlessly all over Greece until she was cured. This myth is similar to that of Io, a priestess of the goddess Hera in Argos, stung by a gadfly and wandered in madness to Egypt, her sons Cadmus and Danaos returned to Greece, where they became kings of Argos. List of rape victims from ancient history and mythology Media related to Antiope at Wikimedia Commons Warburg Institute Iconographic Database
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. Hipparchus was born in Nicaea and died on the island of Rhodes, Greece, he is known to have been a working astronomer at least from 162 to 127 BC. Hipparchus is considered the greatest ancient astronomical observer and, by some, the greatest overall astronomer of antiquity, he was the first whose accurate models for the motion of the Sun and Moon survive. For this he made use of the observations and the mathematical techniques accumulated over centuries by the Babylonians and by Meton of Athens, Aristyllus, Aristarchus of Samos and Eratosthenes, among others, he developed trigonometry and constructed trigonometric tables, he solved several problems of spherical trigonometry. With his solar and lunar theories and his trigonometry, he may have been the first to develop a reliable method to predict solar eclipses.
His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth's precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, the invention of the astrolabe of the armillary sphere, which he used during the creation of much of the star catalogue. There is a strong tradition that Hipparchus was born in Nicaea, in the ancient district of Bithynia, in what today is the country Turkey; the exact dates of his life are not known, but Ptolemy attributes astronomical observations to him in the period from 147–127 BC, some of these are stated as made in Rhodes. His birth date was calculated by Delambre based on clues in his work. Hipparchus must have lived some time after 127 BC because he analyzed and published his observations from that year. Hipparchus obtained information from Alexandria as well as Babylon, but it is not known when or if he visited these places, he is believed to have died on the island of Rhodes, where he seems to have spent most of his life.
It is not known what Hipparchus's economic means were nor how he supported his scientific activities. His appearance is unknown: there are no contemporary portraits. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries coins were made in his honour in Bithynia that bear his name and show him with a globe. Little of Hipparchus's direct work survives into modern times. Although he wrote at least fourteen books, only his commentary on the popular astronomical poem by Aratus was preserved by copyists. Most of what is known about Hipparchus comes from Strabo's Geography and Pliny's Natural History in the 1st century. Hipparchus was amongst the first to calculate a heliocentric system, but he abandoned his work because the calculations showed the orbits were not circular as believed to be mandatory by the science of the time. Although a contemporary of Hipparchus', Seleucus of Seleucia, remained a proponent of the heliocentric model, Hipparchus' rejection of heliocentrism, supported by ideas from Aristotle, remained dominant for nearly 2000 years until Copernican heliocentrism turned the tide of the debate.
Hipparchus's only preserved work is Τῶν Ἀράτου καὶ Εὐδόξου φαινομένων ἐξήγησις. This is a critical commentary in the form of two books on a popular poem by Aratus based on the work by Eudoxus. Hipparchus made a list of his major works, which mentioned about fourteen books, but, only known from references by authors, his famous star catalog was incorporated into the one by Ptolemy, may be perfectly reconstructed by subtraction of two and two thirds degrees from the longitudes of Ptolemy's stars. The first trigonometric table was compiled by Hipparchus, now known as "the father of trigonometry". Hipparchus was in the international news in 2005, when it was again proposed that the data on the celestial globe of Hipparchus or in his star catalog may have been preserved in the only surviving large ancient celestial globe which depicts the constellations with moderate accuracy, the globe carried by the Farnese Atlas. There are a variety of mis-steps in the more ambitious 2005 paper, thus no specialists in the area accept its publicized speculation.
Lucio Russo has said that Plutarch, in his work On the Face in the Moon, was reporting some physical theories that we consider to be Newtonian and that these may have come from Hipparchus. According to one book review, both of these claims have been rejected by other scholars. A line in Plutarch's Table Talk states that Hipparchus counted 103049 compound propositions that can be formed from ten simple propositions. 103049 is the tenth Schröder–Hipparchus number, which counts the number of ways of adding one or more pairs of parentheses around consecutive subsequences of two or more items in any sequence of ten symbols. This has led to speculation that Hipparchus knew about enumerative combinatorics, a field of mathematics that developed independently in modern mathematics. Earlier Greek astronomers and mathematicians were influenced by Babylonian astronomy to some extent, for instance the period relations of the Metonic cycle and Saros cycle may have come from Babylonian sources (see "Babylonian astron
House of the Vettii
The House of the Vettii is a domus located in the Roman town, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The house is named for its owners, two successful freedmen: Aulus Vettius Conviva, an Augustalis, Aulus Vettius Restitutus, its careful excavation has preserved all of the wall frescos, which were completed following the earthquake of 62 AD, in the manner art historians term the Pompeiian Fourth Style. The House of Vetti is located in region VI, near the Vesuvian Gate, bordered by the Vicolo di Mercurio and the Vicolo dei Vettii; the house is one of the largest domus in Pompeii, spanning the entire southern section of block 15. The plan is fashioned in a typical Roman domus with the exception of a tablinum, not included. There are twelve mythological scenes across one cubiculum; the plan of the House of the Vettii is divided into five major sections: the large atrium, the small atrium, the large peristyle, the small peristyle, the shop. The house features a large garden as well as main living quarters and servant quarters.
The service areas are centered around the smaller atrium while the main occupants remained around the larger atrium. There are two entrances to the main sections of the house, the main entrance is located on the east facade, entered from the Vicolo dei Vettii, the second is entered from the Vicoli di Mercurio on the southern facade. In addition, there are five small windows on the east facade, two narrow vertical windows on the south facade, a single small window on the west facade; the small atrium and small peristyle are located on the north section of the house. The large atrium is surrounded by four cubicula, which belonged most to the main occupants of the house. There are two alae and a winter triclinium surrounding the atrium. To enter the atrium from the main entrance, one has to pass through vestibulum; the small atrium is surrounded by four rooms which are believed to have been used by servants and as storage rooms. A kitchen is located near the small atrium along with a cubiculum meant to house the cook and an impluvium, designed to catch rainwater from an opening in the roof.
A staircase was found in the southeast corner of the small atrium but the second floor no longer remains. There are two service areas in the first being centered around the small atrium; the second was accessible from the main atrium of the house as well as the second entrance from the Vicolo di Mercurio on the south facade. Here a large gate otherwise known as the tabernae. Draft animals were stabled in the shop. Besides the shop is latrine; when looking through the main entrance and large atrium, it is possible to view the rear garden, surrounded by the large peristyle. Onlooking the peristyle are two triclinia, an oecus, two storage rooms. Most of the rooms in the house open to either rear garden; the small peristyle is located to the north of the house. Beside the small peristyle are a cubiculum. Unique to the House of the Vettii, a tablinum is not included in the plan; the House of the Vettii features a large assortment of fresco paintings in the Pompeian Fourth style. There are twelve surviving panels.
We know. At the bottom of the wall we see a ring of faux colored marble, indicative of the First Pompeian style. Secondly, there is an interest in creating illusionistic scenes, evident in the top ring and besides the mythological scenes, borrowed from the Second style. Lastly, the unrealistically thin columns supporting the upper ring of the wall frescoes is taken from the Third style. New to the style is the mythological scenes, of which there are twelve remaining in the House of the Vettii, it is believed that the scenes are copied from Greek models, but no Greek paintings have survived to compare the frescoes to. The twelve panels are located in the two triclinia positioned off of the peristyle garden and the triclinium next to the small peristyle; the remaining are in the cubiculum to the left of the main entrance. The paintings combine to create a theme of divine reward and punishment, one showing off the power of Jupiter and his sons as the enforcers of world order. Beyond the twelve mythological paintings, many more artworks are displayed in the House of the Vettii.
Most famously are the two depictions of Priapus, the god of fertility. The first image of Priapus is a fresco in the doorway; the painting depicts Priapus weighing his phallic member on a set of scales. The second image mirrors the first but in marble; this mythological scene is located on the east wall of the north triclinium, located next to the large peristyle. This mythological scene shows the moment of Ixion, the Lapith King, being punished for betraying Zeus. After being welcomed into Olympus by the god, Ixion grew to lust after Hera. After attempting to seduce her, Zeus creates the cloud goddess Nephele in the image of Hera. Ixion lays with Nephele and their union creates the centaurs; as punishment, Zeus banishes Ixion from Olympus and orders Hermes to tie Ixion to a winged fiery wheel, to spin for eternity. In this scene, Ixion is bound to the wheel and Hermes stands in the forefront, identifiable by his winged sandals and caduceus. Hephaestus stands behind one hand resting on the wheel to set it into motion.
Hermes, however has one hand on the wheel keeping it still as he looks to Hera. Hera is enthroned to the right, wearing a golden crown. Beside her is her messenger, extending her arm to p
Amphion and Zethus
Amphion and Zethus were, in ancient Greek mythology, the twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. They are important characters in one of the two founding myths of the city of Thebes, because they constructed the city's walls. Amphion and Zethus were the sons of Antiope, who fled in shame to Sicyon after Zeus raped her, married King Epopeus there. However, either Nycteus or Lycus attacked Sicyon in order to carry her back to Thebes and punish her. On the way back, she was forced to expose them on Mount Cithaeron. Lycus gave her to his wife, who treated her cruelly for many years. Antiope escaped and found her sons living near Mount Cithaeron. After they were convinced that she was their mother, they killed Dirce by tying her to the horns of a bull, gathered an army, conquered Thebes, becoming its joint rulers. Amphion became a great singer and musician after his lover Hermes taught him to play and gave him a golden lyre. Zethus became a herdsman, with a great interest in cattle breeding, they built the walls around the citadel of Thebes.
While Zethus struggled to carry his stones, Amphion played his lyre and his stones followed after him and glided into place. Amphion married the daughter of Tantalus, the Lydian king; because of this, he added three strings to it. Zethus married Thebe. Otherwise, the kingdom was named in honour of their supposed father Theobus. Amphion's wife Niobe had many children, but had become arrogant and because of this she insulted the goddess Leto, who had only two children and Apollo. Leto's children killed Niobe's children in retaliation. In Ovid, Amphion commits suicide out of grief. Hyginus, writes that in his madness he tried to attack the temple of Apollo, was killed by the god's arrows. Zethus had only one son, who died through a mistake of his mother Thebe, causing Zethus to kill himself. In the Odyssey, Zethus's wife is called a daughter of Pandareus in book 19, who killed her son Itylos in a fit of madness and became a nightingale. After the deaths of Amphion and Zethus, Laius became king. Compare with Castor and Polydeuces of Greece, with Romulus and Remus of Rome.
Divine twins Plato, Gorgias, 485e. Homer, The Odyssey with an English Translation by A. T. Murray, PH. D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website. John Tzetzes, Book of Histories, Book I translated by Ana Untila from the original Greek of T. Kiessling's edition of 1826. Online version at theio.com Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation by W. H. S. Jones, Litt. D. and H. A. Ormerod, M. A. in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio. 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F. B. A. F. R. S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Amphion and Zethus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Thebes is a city in Boeotia, central Greece. It played an important role in Greek myths, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus and others. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed a Mycenaean settlement and clay tablets written in the Linear B script, indicating the importance of the site in the Bronze Age. Thebes was the largest city of the ancient region of Boeotia and was the leader of the Boeotian confederacy, it was a major rival of ancient Athens, sided with the Persians during the 480 BC invasion under Xerxes. Theban forces under the command of Epaminondas ended the power of Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC; the Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC against Philip II and Alexander the Great. Prior to its destruction by Alexander in 335 BC, Thebes was a major force in Greek history, was the most dominant city-state at the time of the Macedonian conquest of Greece. During the Byzantine period, the city was famous for its silks.
The modern city contains an Archaeological Museum, the remains of the Cadmea, scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the regional unit of Boeotia. Thebes is situated in a plain, between Lake Yliki to the north, the Cithaeron mountains, which divide Boeotia from Attica, to the south, its elevation is 215 metres above mean sea level. It is about 50 kilometres northwest of Athens, 100 kilometres southeast of Lamia. Motorway 1 and the Athens–Thessaloniki railway connect Thebes with Athens and northern Greece; the municipality of Thebes covers an area of 830.112 square kilometres, the municipal unit of Thebes 321.015 square kilometres and the community 143.889 square kilometres. In 2011, as a consequence of the Kallikratis reform, Thebes was merged with Plataies and Vagia to form a larger municipality, which retained the name Thebes; the other three become units of the larger municipality. The record of the earliest days of Thebes was preserved among the Greeks in an abundant mass of legends that rival the myths of Troy in their wide ramification and the influence that they exerted on the literature of the classical age.
Five main cycles of story may be distinguished: The foundation of the citadel Cadmea by Cadmus, the growth of the Spartoi or "Sown Men". The immolation of Semele and the advent of Dionysus; the building of a "seven-gated" wall by Amphion, the cognate stories of Zethus and Dirce. The tale of Laius, whose misdeeds culminated in the tragedy of Oedipus and the wars of the "Seven Against Thebes", the Epigoni, the downfall of his house. See Theban pederasty and Pederasty in ancient Greece for detailed discussion and background; the exploits of Heracles. The Greeks attributed the foundation of Thebes to Cadmus, a Phoenician king from Tyre and the brother of Queen Europa. Cadmus was famous for teaching the Phoenician alphabet and building the Acropolis, named the Cadmeia in his honor and was an intellectual and cultural center. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed cist graves dated to Mycenaean times containing weapons and tablets written in Linear B, its attested name forms and relevant terms on tablets found locally or elsewhere include, te-qa-i, understood to be read as *Tʰēgʷai̮s, te-qa-de, for *Tʰēgʷasde, and, te-qa-ja, for *Tʰēgʷaja.
It seems safe to infer that *Tʰēgʷai was one of the first Greek communities to be drawn together within a fortified city, that it owed its importance in prehistoric days — as — to its military strength. Deger-Jalkotzy claimed that the statue base from Kom el-Hetan in Amenhotep III's kingdom mentions a name similar to Thebes, spelled out quasi-syllabically in hieroglyphs as d-q-e-i-s, considered to be one of four tj-n3-jj kingdoms worthy of note. *Tʰēgʷai in LHIIIB lost contact with Egypt but gained it with "Miletus" and "Cyprus". In the late LHIIIB, according to Palaima, *Tʰēgʷai was able to pull resources from Lamos near Mount Helicon, from Karystos and Amarynthos on the Greek side of the isle of Euboia; as a fortified community, it attracted attention from the invading Dorians, the fact of their eventual conquest of Thebes lies behind the stories of the successive legendary attacks on that city. The central position and military security of the city tended to raise it to a commanding position among the Boeotians, from early days its inhabitants endeavoured to establish a complete supremacy over their kinsmen in the outlying towns.
This centralizing policy is as much the cardinal fact of Theban history as the counteracting effort of the smaller towns to resist absorption forms the main chapter of the story of Boeotia. No details of the earlier history of Thebes have been preserved, except that it was governed by a land-holding aristocracy who safeguarded their integrity by rigid statutes about the ownership of property and its transmission over time; as attested in Homer's Iliad, Thebes was o