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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
A city located at the N end of the ancient Krokian plain (modern plain
of Halmyros). It is also known as Thebes of Achaia and Thebes of Thessaly. Modern
Mikrothivai (formerly Akitsi) is in the plain a little S of the ancient city.
Thebes shared the plain with Halos to the S. Its inland neighbors were Pherai
and Pharsalos, its neighbor to the N was Demetrias/Pagasai (Strab. 9.433, 435;
The site has been occupied since the Stone Age, but does not appear
by name until the 4th c. B.C. It was enlarged by a synoecism with the neighboring
cities of Phylake and Pyrasos (the latter at modern Nea Anchialos, on the shore
ca. 6 km to the E) probably in the second half of the 4th c. B.C. It became the
leading city of the Phthiotic Achaian League and flourished as the main harbor
on the Gulf of Pagasai until the foundation of Demetrias in ca. 293 B.C. In the
second half of the 3d c. B.C. it was joined to the Aitolians. Philip V of Macedon
took it after a siege in 217 B.C. for that reason. He enslaved the inhabitants
and placed a Macedonian colony there. In 189 B.C. it became again capital of the
newly reformed Phthiotic Achaian League, which was in Augustus' time reattached
completely to Thessaly. Thebes was then in existence and Pyrasos abandoned, but
in the Roman Imperial period Thebes moved to the old site of Pyrasos, where it
flourished then and later. The old site was apparently not abandoned completely,
but the main development of the city was at its harbor.
The ancient acropolis was a rocky peak overlooking the plain. It was
surrounded by a wall of large rough blocks, apparently Cyclopean. The wall surrounding
the lower city is still visible, although in some places only the foundation is
left. It makes a large circuit down the hill from the acropolis SE to the plain.
It is ca. 2 m long. The acropolis and hill slope are flanked by two deep ravines.
There are some 40 towers along the wall, which is constructed of rectangular and
trapezoidal blocks of irregular size, laid in more or less regular courses except
where stepped in the slopes. Stahlin dated the wall to the 4th c. B.C.
Excavations, principally on the acropolis, uncovered prehistoric through
Byzantine layers, and in the Greek level the foundations of a temple (9 x 12 m)
perhaps originally distyle in antis. It may have been the Temple of Athena Polias,
who is known to have had a cult at this site. It was built with materials from
an earlier temple. Near the acropolis some post-Classical statuary was recently
discovered, including a head of Asklepios? from a sanctuary.
A few remains of the lower city are visible. The ancient theater of
which some seats are to be seen was about half way down the hill, looking towards
the sea. South of this was a stoa of the Hellenistic period and another building
excavated in 1907. South of these were the foundations of a large building (14
x 19 m) also excavated at that time.
Objects from Thebes are largely in the Museum of Volo, although some
are in the small Halmyros Museum.
T. S. Mackay, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Called Phthioticae (hai Phthiotides), an important city of Thessaly in the district Phthiotis, at a short distance from the coast, and with a good harbour.
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Phthiae (Thebai hai phthiotides, Polyb. v. 99; Strab. ix. p. 433;
Thebae Phthiae, Liv. xxxii. 33), an important town of Phthiotis in Thessaly, was
situated in the northeastern corner of this district, near the sea, and at the
distance of 300 stadia from Larissa. (Polyb. l. c.) It is not mentioned in the
Iliad, but it was at a later time the most important maritime city in Thessaly,
till the foundation of Demetrias, by Demetrius Poliorcetes, about B.C. 290. (
Thebas Phthias unum maritimum emporium fuisse quondam Thessalis quaestuosum et
fugiferum, Liv. xxxix. 25.) It is first mentioned in B.C. 282, as the only Thessalian
city, except Pelinnaeum, that did not take part in the Lamiac war. (Diod. xviii.
11.). In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in B.C. 302, Thebes
was one of the strongholds of Cassander. (Diod. xx. 110.) It became at a later
time the chief possession of the Aetolians in northern Greece; but it was wrested
from them, after an obstinate siege, by Philip, the son of Demetrius, who changed
its name into Philippopolis. (Polyb. v. 99, 100; Diod. xxvi. p. 513, ed. Wesseling.)
It was attacked by the consul Flamininus, previous to the battle of Cynoscephalae,
B.C. 197, but without success. (Liv. xxxiii. 5; Polyb. xviii. 2.) After the defeat
of Philip, the name of Philippopolis was gradually dropped, though both names
are used by Livy in narrating the transactions of the year B.C. 185. (Liv. xxxix,
25.) It continued to exist under the name of Thebes in the time of the Roman Empire,
and is mentioned by Hierocles in the sixth century. ( Thebae Thessalae, Plin.
v. 8. s. 15; Thebai phthiotidos, Ptol. iii. 13. § 17; Steph. B. s. v.; Hierocl.
p. 642, ed. Wess.) The ruins of Thebes are situated upon a height half a mile
to the north-east of Ak-Ketjel. The entire circuit of the walls and towers, both
of the town and citadel, still exist; and the circumference is between 2 and 3
miles. The theatre, of which only a small part of tile exterior circular wall
of the cavea remains, stood about the centre of the city, looking towards the
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)