Thiva, Cadmus and Hercules

Thiva – Theves, Thebes or Theba

Many people are aware of Greek mythology, with the famous heroes and epic and tragic moments of theirs. Less than hour from Athens, there is the famous from antiquity city of Thiva, still built on the hill of Cadmus, as it is even called today.

Thiva is famous as the birthplace of Hercules but also Oedipus, who inspired the classical Greek poets, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. It has also seven hill as Athens, and it was famous for its seven gates as well. Today Thiva has one of the most modern museums in Greece, that is really worth visiting.

From Cadmus to Epaminondas 

The city was the place where Phoenician prince Cadmus decided to settle, and build his commercial colony, after his sister Europe was exiled or stolen to Crete. Cadmus is said to have brought the Phoenician letters to Thebes, so he established a modern logistics trade station, for his time at least. Greek mythology explains that his wife was named Harmony, metaphorically claiming the fact that vowels were put inside the Phoenician alphabet and the Greek alphabet was born.

Thiva played a role of a commercial trade station via land, connecting Eleusis ( the ships that were arriving from Crete and Kydonia at modern Chania area) and the path to the north and Delphi, but Athens as well. Theba played a major role under the power of Epaminondas, a famous general who defeated Spartan army at the battle of Leuctra, that also opened the way to Philip of Macedon to conquer Greece. After Peloponnesian War and Athens defeat (404 BC), Sparta lost many of its allies, Theva was one of them. The battle of 371 BC, marked the era of Thebe’s hegemony and strategic mindset of Epaminondas. Thebean hegemony lasted until the next big battle, Mantinia at 362, the biggest hoplite battle in Greek history. 30.000 Thebeans and allies against 20.000 Spartans, Athenians united. Epaminondas won, but he died after the battle.

30 years later, at 338 BC, at the battle of Chaeronia, Macedonians bring the Hellenistic period of Greek history. The city was always fortified until Macedonian rule of Greece, when Alexander the Great decided to burn the city at 335 BC, since they didn’t want to accept his guard at the city Acropolis. At 87 BC the city was sacked from Sylla.

During medieval period the area was rued by Franks and Catalans, and many towers survive till today. One of them is seen outside the city’s museum.