Thebes(redirected from Thívai)
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Thebes, city of ancient Egypt
See H. E. Winlock, The Rise and Fall of the Middle Kingdom in Thebes (1947); C. F. Nims, Thebes of the Pharaohs (1965); L. Manniche, City of the Dead: Thebes in Egypt (1987).
Thebes, city of ancient Greece
one of the largest cities and cultural centers of ancient Egypt.
Thebes is known to have existed at least as early as the mid-third millennium B.C. Under the pharaohs of the 11th Dynasty, who united Egypt and ruled from the mid-22nd to the 20th century B.C., Thebes became the country’s capital. It remained the capital during the Middle and New kingdoms, although a few pharaohs chose to reside in other cities. Under the Libyan (22nd and 23rd) Dynasties of the 10th to 8th centuries B.C., Thebes lost its status as Egypt’s political center. Nevertheless, as the seat of the semi-independent high priest of Amon, it remained a religious center. The capture of Thebes by King Piankhy of Cush circa 730 B.C. and its sack by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 663 B.C. combined with the northward shift of economic and political activity to cause the city’s decline. Thebes was gradually reduced to the status of a provincial city, although it retained influence as a religious center until 88 B.C. In that year Ptolemy IX Soter destroyed the city while suppressing a popular uprising.
Since the first half of the 19th century, scholars from many different countries have taken part in the excavation of the city and the restoration of its temples. Particularly important contributions have been made by K. R. Lepsius (1810–84) of Germany, W. Flinders Petrie and H. Carter of Great Britain, and H. Winlock of the USA.
Magnificent Theban temple ensembles survive on the east bank of the Nile at Karnak and Luxor. Remains on the west bank include cemeteries and the ruins of mortuary temples. The most important cemetery is Biban al-Moluk (the Valley of the Kings). One of the most notable of the pharaonic mortuary temples is that of Amenhotep III. It was built in the 15th century B.C. by the architect Amenhotep, son of Hapu. Two gigantic statues of Amenhotep, named the Colossi of Memnon by the Greeks, have also been preserved. From Amenhotep’s temple to the Nile there once stretched an avenue lined with sphinxes, two of which are now in Leningrad on the University Embankment. The west bank is also the site of the Rameseum, the mortuary temple of Rameses II. Other famous architectural complexes are located near Thebes at Deir el Bahri. Because the residential areas of ancient Thebes lie beneath the modern city of Luxor, they have not been studied.
REFERENCESMichatowski, K. Teby. Warsaw, 1973.
Blackman, A. M. Das hundert-torige Theben hinter den Pylonen der Pharaonen. Leipzig, 1926.
Otto, E. Topographic des Thebanischen Gaues. Berlin, 1952.
Capart, J. Thèbes: La Gloire d’un grand passé. Brussels, 1925.
an ancient Greek city in Boeotia.
According to legend, Thebes was founded by Cadmus; the Thebans’ ancestors were said to have sprung from dragon’s teeth sown by him. Remains of the Cretan-Mycenaean culture attest to Thebes’ antiquity.
By the sixth century B.C., Thebes had assumed leadership of the Boeotian League. The league, which had arisen from an ancient tribal and religious alliance, united nearly all the cities of Boeotia. The clan aristocracy that ruled Thebes supported the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars (500–449 B.C.) and sided with Sparta against Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.). After the Peloponnesian War, anti-Spartan groups came to power in Thebes and other Boeotian cities and established friendly relations with Athens. Under Theban leadership the Boeotians supported Athens in the Corinthian War (395–387 B.C.).
The Boeotian League was dissolved in 387 in accordance with the conditions of the Peace of Antalcidas. Sparta helped establish extremely reactionary oligarchic governments in Thebes and the other cities of Boeotia. In 379, after the overthrow of the oligarchs, the democratic strata of society came to power in Thebes under the leadership of Pelopidas and Epaminondas. With the revival of the Boeotian League, Thebes became one of the greatest powers in Greece. The Theban army, led by Epaminondas, inflicted defeats on the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 and at Mantinea in 362.
The bloody wars with Sparta, however, so weakened Thebes and the other cities of the league that after 362 they ceased to be of consequence. Thebes was conquered by Macedonia in 338, and in 335, after the suppression of an anti-Macedonian rebellion, the city was virtually razed. Thebes was partially rebuilt in 315 B.C., but no longer played a significant political role. The small modern city of Thivai is located on the site of ancient Thebes.
REFERENCESCloché, P. Thébes de Béotie: Des Origines á la conquête romaine. Namur, 1953.
Glotz, G. La Grèce au IV siècle: La Lutte pour I’hégémonie. Paris, 1941.