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Ancient literary sources (3)

Perseus Encyclopedia

Thebes

City of Boeotia, founded by Amphion and Zethus or by Cadmus, its seven gates, Dionysus drives the women mad at, war of the Seven Champions against.


Pausanias

Thebes

The first to occupy the land of Thebes are said to have been the Ectenes, whose king was Ogygus, an aboriginal. From his name is derived Ogygian, which is an epithet of Thebes used by most of the poets. The Ectenes perished, they say, by pestilence, and after them there settled in the land the Hyantes and the Aones, who I think were Boeotian tribes and not foreigners. [2] When the Phoenician army under Cadmus invaded the land these tribes were defeated; the Hyantes fled from the land when night came, but the Aones begged for mercy, and were allowed by Cadmus to remain and unite with the Phoenicians. The Aones still lived in village communities, but Cadmus built the city which even at the present day is called Cadmeia. Afterwards the city grew, and so the Cadmeia became the citadel of the lower city of Thebes. (Paus., 9.5.1)

...Amphion and Zethus gathered a force and came back to Thebes. Laius was secretly removed by such as were anxious that the race of Cadmus should not be forgotten by posterity, and Lycus was overcome in the fighting by the sons of Antiope. When they succeeded to the throne they added the lower city to the Cadmeia, giving it, because of their kinship to Thebe, the name of Thebes. ] What I have said is confirmed by what Homer says in the Odyssey: Who first laid the foundation of seven-gated Thebe, And built towers about it, for without towers they could not Dwell in wide-wayed Thebe, in spite of their strength. Homer, however, makes no mention in his poetry of Amphion's singing, and how he built the wall to the music of his harp. Amphion won fame for his music, learning from the Lydians themselves the Lydian mode, because of his relationship to Tantalus, and adding three strings to the four old ones. The writer of the poem on Europa says that Amphion was the first harpist, and that Hermes was his teacher. He also says that Amphion's songs drew even stones and beasts after him. Myro of Byzantium, a poetess who wrote epic and elegiac poetry, states that Amphion was the first to set up an altar to Hermes, and for this reason was presented by him with a harp. (Paus., 9.5.6)

...Polyneices retired from Thebes while Oedipus was still alive and reigning, in fear lest the curses of the father should be brought to pass upon the sons. He went to Argos and married a daughter of Adrastus, but returned to Thebes, being fetched by Eteocles after the death of Oedipus. On his return he quarrelled with Eteocles, and so went into exile a second time. He begged Adrastus to give him a force to effect his return, but lost his army and fought a duel with Eteocles as the result of a challenge. Both fell in the duel, and the kingdom devolved on Laodamas, son of Eteocles; Creon, the son of Menoeceus, was in power as regent and guardian of Laodamas. When the latter had grown up and held the kingship, the Argives led their army for the second time against Thebes. The Thebans encamped over against them at Glisas. When they joined in battle, Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus, was killed by Laodamas but the Argives were victorious in the fight, and Laodamas, with any Theban willing to accompany him, withdrew when night came to Illyria. The Argives captured Thebes and handed it over to Thersander, son of Polyneices. (Paus., 9.5.12)

...when Sulla invaded Boeotia, terror seized the Thebans; they at once changed sides, and sought the friendship of the Romans. [5] Sulla nevertheless was angry with them, and among his plans to humble them was to cut away one half of their territory. His pretext was as follows. When he began the war against Mithridates, he was short of funds. So he collected offerings from Olympia, those at Epidaurus, and all those at Delphi that had been left by the Phocians. [6] These he divided among his soldiery, and repaid the gods with half of the Theban territory. Although by favour of the Romans the Thebans afterwards recovered the land of which they had been deprived, yet from this point they sank into the greatest depths of weakness. The lower city of Thebes is all deserted to-day, except the sanctuaries, and the people live on the citadel, which they call Thebes and not Cadmeia. (Paus., 9.7.4)

This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


Strabo

Hypothebes

In these words of the poet, "and those who held Hypothebes," (Hom. Il. 2.505) some take him to mean some little city called Hypothebes, others Potniae; for Thebes, the latter say, was deserted because of the expedition of the Epigoni and had no part in the Trojan War. The former, however, say that the Thebans indeed had a part in the war, but that they were living in the level districts below Cadmeia(The acropolis of Thebes) at that time, since they were unable to rebuild Cadmeia; and since Cadmeia was called Thebes, they add, the poet called the Thebans of that time "Hypothebans" instead of "people who live below Cadmeia."

This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


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