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, Dionysus and others. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed a Mycenaean settlement and clay tablets written in the Linear B script, Thebes was the largest city of the ancient region of Boeotia and was the leader of the Boeotian confederacy. It was a rival of ancient Athens, and sided with the Persians during the 480 BC invasion under Xerxes. Theban forces ended the power of Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC under the command of Epaminondas, 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 force in Greek history. During the Byzantine period, the city was famous for its silks, the modern city contains an Archaeological Museum, the remains of the Cadmea, and scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the unit of Boeotia. Thebes is situated in a plain, between Lake Yliki to the north, and the Cithaeron mountains, which divide Boeotia from Attica and its elevation is 215 metres above mean sea level. It is about 50 kilometres northwest of Athens, and 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 unit of Thebes 321.015 square kilometres. In 2011, as a consequence of the Kallikratis reform, Thebes was merged with Plataies, Thisvi, and Vagia to form a larger municipality, the other three become units of the larger municipality. Five main cycles of story may be distinguished, The foundation of the citadel Cadmea by Cadmus, the building of a seven-gated wall by Amphion, and the cognate stories of Zethus, Antiope and Dirce. See Theban pederasty and Pederasty in ancient Greece for detailed discussion, the immolation of Semele and the advent of Dionysus. The Greeks attributed the foundation of Thebes to Cadmus, a Phoenician king from Tyre, Cadmus was famous for teaching the Phoenician alphabet and building the Acropolis, which was named the Cadmeia in his honor and was an intellectual, spiritual, and cultural center. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed cist graves dated to Mycenaean times containing weapons, ivory, *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, and from Karystos and Amarynthos on the Greek side of the isle of Euboia. As a fortified community, it attracted attention from the invading Dorians, and 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
Remains of the Cadmea, the central fortress of ancient Thebes
Theban workshop (Oinochoe type), 7th century BC.
Map of the Topography of Ancient Thebes.
Silver stater of Thebes (405-395 BC). Obverse: Boeotian shield, reverse: Head of bearded Dionysus.