Boeotia

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Boeotia

(bēō`shə), region of ancient Greece. It lay N of Attica, Megaris, and the Gulf of Corinth. The early inhabitants were from Thessaly. A number of small cities scattered over the rough country—mountainous in the south, hilly in the north—may have had a sort of confederacy before the Boeotian League was formed (c.7th cent. B.C.). Thebes dominated the region and the league. The rival cities were Orchomenus, Plataea, and Thespiae. The history of Boeotia is largely a record of the vain attempts of these cities to escape the domination of Thebes and the attempts of Thebes to prevent encroachment on the region by others of the great city-states. Boeotia, therefore, was the scene of various important battles—PlataeaPlataea
, ancient city of Greece, in S Boeotia (now Voiotía), on the slope of Mt. Cithaeron (Kithairón). Plataea had voluntarily passed from Theban to Athenian protection before the Persian Wars and stood by Athens at Marathon (490 B.C.). In 479 B.C.
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, LeuctraLeuctra
, village of ancient Greece, in Boeotia, 7 mi (11.3 km) SW of Thebes. There the Spartans were defeated (371 B.C.) by the Thebans under Epaminondas. A brilliant tactical success, the battle also dealt a severe blow to Spartan hegemony.
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, Coronea, and Chaeronea. After the defeat of the Persians at Plataea (479), the Greeks besieged Thebes for aiding the Persians, and the Boeotian League was disbanded. The league was temporarily revived in 457 B.C. before being defeated in the same year by Athens, which briefly attached the Boeotian cities to the Athenian empire. Thebes returned to power at the head of the league in 446. Later, after the victory of EpaminondasEpaminondas
, d. 362 B.C., Greek general of Thebes. He was a pupil of Lysias the Pythagorean, but his early life is otherwise obscure. As the Theban delegate to the peace conference of 371 B.C. he refused to surrender his claim to represent all Boeotia.
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 over the Spartans, the history of Boeotia was completely absorbed into that of Thebes. Boeotia was the home of the poets Hesiod and Pindar.

Boeotia

 

(Voiótía), a province in central Greece. The first states on the territory of Boeotia arose during the Mycenaean period, between 3000 and 2000 B.C. In the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. a process of social stratification took place and the landowning elite acquired the leading position in economic and political life. They supported the Persians in the Greco-Persian wars of 500–449 B.C. and fought on Sparta’s side against Athens in the Peloponnesian War of 431–404 B.C. In the fourth century B.C., the democratic movement in Boeotia gained strength, and what was in effect a federal Boeotian state was formed (based on the ancient alliance of Boeotian cities) headed by the Thebans; for a short period (379–362 B.C.), with the leaders of the Theban democracy Pelopidas and Epaminondas, this state became the most powerful political force in Greece. However the bloody wars with Sparta from 378 to 362 B.C. weakened Boeotia so much that after 362 B.C the league of Boeotian towns lost its former importance. In 338 B.C the

Boeotian League was dissolved. It was reestablished from the third to the second century B.C. and finally dissolved in 146 B.C During the Roman period (second century B.C. to fourth century A.D.) the cities of Boeotia fell into decline. In present-day Greece the former Boeotian territory is a prefecture (nomos) bearing that name; its center is Levadhia.

REFERENCES

Lur’e, S. Ia. Beotiiskii Soiuz. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Busolt, G., and H. Swoboda. Griechische Staatskunde, 3rd ed., fasc. 2. Munich, 1926.
Guillon, P. La Béotie antique. Paris [1948].

E. D. FROLOV

Boeotia

a region of ancient Greece, northwest of Athens. It consisted of ten city-states, which formed the Boeotian League, led by Thebes: at its height in the 4th century bc