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PHTHIOTIC THEBES Achaia Phthiotis, Greece.

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; Polyb. 5.99).

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. Stählin 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.


F. Stählin, AM 31 (1906) 5-9MI; id., Das hellenische Thessalien (1924) 170-73P; id., RE2 (1934)3 s.v. ThebesP; A. S. Arvanitopoullos, Praktika (1907) 167-69; (1908) 163-83I; id., ArchEph (1910) 82-94I; N. I. Giannopoulos, ArchEph (1945-47) chron. 17-18; D. Theocharis, Deltion 16 (1960) chron. 183fI; H. Biesantz, Die Thessalischen Grabreliefs (1965) 1351.


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