). It is proposed under this
head to give a brief account of the Boeotian constitution as well as of the
The Boeotians in ancient times occupied Arne in Thessaly. (Thuc. 1.12
.) Sixty years after the taking of Troy
they were expelled by the Thessalians, and settled in the country then
called Cadmeis, but afterwards Boeotia (the ἀποδασμὸς
being introduced by Thucydides in order to
reconcile the Homeric account, Il. 2.494
foll., with the tradition as to the time of their migration into Boeotia).
The leader of the Boeotians was king Opheltas (Plut.
); a later king Xanthus fell in single combat with
Melanthus (Harp. s. v. Ἀπατούρια
it would seem that these kings
ruled the whole country from Thebes. Later on the country was divided into
several states, containing each a principal city with its ξυντελεῖς
, Χαιρώνειαν--ἣ ἐς
) or ξύμμοροι
(cf. Thuc. 4.93
, Θηβαῖοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμοροι αὐτοῖς,
“those who inhabited the same μοῖρα
or division of Boeotia with the Thebans, as, e.g.,
the Parasopii, Therapnenses, Peteonii:
Strab. 9.2, 24. 26,” Arnold ad
) living around it. The number and names of
these independent states are differently given by different writers on the
subject; we know, however, for certain that they formed a confederacy called
the Boeotian League, with Thebes at its head, and Freeman is of opinion that
the political union grew out of an older Amphictyony (Paus. 9.34
). Common sanctuaries
were the temple of the Itonian Athene near Coronea, where the Pamboeotia
were celebrated, and the temple of Poseidon in Onchestus (Strab. 9.2, 23.
33). Thucydides (iv, 93) mentions seven independent states: Thebes,
Haliartus, Coronea, Copae, Thespiae, Tanagra, and Orchomenus; and we learn
from inscriptions that, at one time or other, the following belonged to the
same class: Anthedon, Lebadea, Hyettus, Acraephia, Chorsia (or Korsia,
Demosth. F. L.
§ 141, etc.), Thisbe, Chaeronea. O.
p. 403) supposes there were
originally fourteen free states. Probably the number differed at different
times; some Boeotian towns seceded from the league, as Eloutherae (Paus. 1.38
, in B.C. 519, according to
Clinton, whilst Grote, 4.94 n., fixes the date after the expulsion of
Hippias; it joined the league again a few years previous to B.C. 372),
Orchomenus in B.C. 395 (Xen. Hell. 3.5
), Oropus (Paus.
; Demades, 1.9, and
Hyp. pro Eux.
); or non-Boeotian towns joined the league, e. g. Larymna (Paus. 9.23
, ἑκουσίως μετετάξαντο ἐς Βοιωτους
), etc.; or
we find Boeotian towns changing their status within the league, gaining
independence: thus Acraephia belonged at one time to Thebes (Paus. 9.23
, εἶναι ἐξ ἀρχῆς μοῖραν τῆς Θηβαΐδος
to Chaeronea cf. Thuc. 4.76
, and Paus. 9.3
towns were destroyed by Thebes, as Plataea, Orchomenus, Thespiae, Coronea.
The dependent towns, or districts, were not immediately connected with the
national confederacy, but with the neighbouring chief city, as Cynoscephalae
was with Thebes (Boeckh on Pindar. 2.2, p. 13). In fact, “they were
obliged to furnish troops and money, to make up the contingent furnished
by the state to which they belonged, to the general confederacy”
). Freeman, however, is of opinion
implies a greater degree of
freedom on the part of these dependent places than Arnold allows (cf. also
Vischer, Kl. Schr.
i. p. 341, 4). Freeman divides the history
of the league into three periods: the first extends to the dissolution of
the league at the peace of Antalcidas, B.C. 387 ; the second includes the
short but brilliant period of Theban greatness down to the conquest of
Thebes by Philip (B.C. 338) and its destruction by Alexander, B.C. 387-334
(the league was nominally revived: Diod. 15.80
κοινὴ σύνοδος τῶν Βοιωτῶν
: cf. 83,
but was practically only another name for bondage to Thebes, Xen. Hell. 6.1
); the third from the destruction of Thebes by Alexander and its
restoration by Cassander, B.C. 316 (Thebes becoming again the head of the
league: Liv. 31.1
, “Boeotiae caput,”
but with powers very inferior to those she formerly possessed), down to the
final dissolution of the league by Quintus Marcius Philippus, B.C. 171.
Mommsen (Röm. Gesch.
i. p. 740) fixes the legal
dissolution of the league in B.C. 146, and infers from Pausanias (7.16
) that it was revived soon afterwards (καὶ συνέδριά τε κατὰ ἔθνος ἀποδιδόασιν [οἱ
Πωμαῖοι] ἑκάστοις τὰ ἀρχαῖα,
etc.). Certain it is that
some kind of confederation lasted down to a late period of the Roman Empire:
the Boeotians retained two votes in the Amphictyonic council after the
reforms of Augustus (Aeschin. 2.116, and Paus.
); they sent Epaminondas of
Acraephia as ambassador to the emperor Caligula ὑπὲρ
τοῦ ἔθνους Βοιωτῶν
(Keil, Sylloge Inscr.
p. 116; cf. C. I. G.,
1625, 50.30, τὸ κοινὸν Παμβοιωτῶν συνέδριον
); and from an
inscription of the reign of Marcus Aurelius (Henzen, Ann.
[p. 1.301]dell' Inst. di Corresp. Archeol.,
1866, p. 139 foll.), we learn that a citizen of Chaeronea had been three
times Boeotarch (ὁ Βοιωτάρχης τὸ γ́
Each of the principal towns seems to have had its βουλή
(Xen. Hell. 5.2.
) and δῆμος.
It is true, as
Freeman points out, the passage in question merely speaks of a Theban
and that during the time (B.C.
382) when the confederation was in abeyance, yet he admits that Boeckh was
justified by analogy in his supposition; he adds that he is “not clear
about the existence of popular assemblies in the Boeotian cities during
the first period” (yet there are traces of such: see Hdt. 5.79
: Xen. Hell. 3.5.
, τότε ἅπασα ἡ πόλις ἀπεψηφίσατο μὴ
sc. the Lacedaemonians). In his
opinion, during nearly the whole of the first period, the government of each
particular city was oligarchic, as the federal government was oligarchic;
for the supreme power of the league was vested in the four senates (Thuc. 5.38
, αἵπερ ἅπαν
τὸ κῦρος ἔχουσιν
), of the constitution of which we know
nothing. Tittmann (p. 695), Kortüm (p. 86), and Freeman consider it
most probable that they represented four districts ; they must, however,
have been assembled in one place, since Thucydides uses also βουλὴ
for them all. In the second period, after
democracy was introduced at Thebes, Thebes practically became sovereign
(Isocr. 14.8. 35); there was no longer a Boeotian confederacy, but rather a
Theban state, in which other cities were compelled to merge themselves
against their will. In formal documents constitutional federal language was
employed (κοινὴ σύνοδος τῶν Βοιωτῶν,
), but in reality the Boeotian assembly simply sat to register
Theban edicts in the name of the league (τὸ
or ὁ δῆμος,
). In the third period (the date of the
reconstitution of the league does not seem certain, but in B.C. 323 the
Boeotians are spoken of as a political whole, Hyper. Or. fun.
6, 16), Orchomenus was for a time the head of the league (B.C. 294, Polyaen. 4.7
), but Thebes was again “Boeotiae caput” in B.C. 197
): the supreme power was vested in
a federal assembly, in which, as we may gather from an expression of Livy
100.2), each of the confederate cities had
a distinct vote (Freeman): ὁ δῆμος
(πρόξενον εἶμεν Βοιωτῶν,
Larfeld, Syll. Inscr.
No. 316 = C. I. G.
1565, No. 317), elected
Each city had one or several archons (cf. the inscr. quoted above from the
1st century after Christ, and C. I. G.
1625, 1. 41); their
period of office was a year (C. I. G.
1569a, 3.40, ὁ ἐνιαυτὸς ὁ μετὰ Θύναρχον ἄρχοντα
Rangabé, Antiq. Hellen.
1005; hence the archon is called ἐπώνυμος
). We know nothing of their power and duties. The
Theban archon was chosen by lot, and kept a sacred spear of office always by
him (Plut. de gen. Socr.
31; see Plut. Arist. 21
, on the Plataean archon). The main powers of the
state were in the hands of the polemarchs, the “maximi
magistratus” of Corn. Nep.
; they did not command forces, but they
could imprison (Xen. Hell. 5.2
); they directed the levies of troops
(C. I. G.
1573, etc.); they seem also to have been
concerned with finances (C. I. G.
1569, 1570), and to have
been entrusted with the carrying out of decrees of the senate and people
(Keil, p. 132, δεδογμένον εἶναι τοῖς τε συνέδροις
καὶ τῷ δήμῳ, τοὺς πολεμάρχους τοὺς ἐπὶ Καφι[σοτίμου̣]
etc.; Meier, d.
etc., p. 49, 1, 27, ἀναγράψαι τ[ε τοὺς] ἀστογυολ̣
where Lebas, Voyage
archéol. en Grèce,
No. 35, reads ἀναγραψάντων δὲ τοὶ πολέμα[ρχοι]
period of service was a year; their number was three (not six, as Boeckh
thought; cf. E. Curtius in Rhein. Mus.
110), see C. I. G.
1573, etc.; only two are mentioned for
Thebes by Xen. Hell. 5.2
. The γραμματεὺς
to the polemarchs under the empire (C. I.
1573, γραμματίδδοντος τῦς
) was probably of higher rank than the one mentioned by
Xen. Hell. 5.4
; Plut. Pel. 7
, de gen.
4. Of other magistrates we find mentioned ἵππαρχοι
(C. I. G.
1575, 1588; Rang. 1313;
C. I. G.
1588, 1576), commanding the cavalry; a ναύαρχος
who assisted the polemarchs
in financial matters and audited magistrates' accounts (C. I.
1569, 1570); συνήγοροι
(Keil, p. 13); ταμίαι,
with their president ὁ ταμίας ὁ προάρχων
(C. I. G.
1570, ὁ τ. ὁ π. προσθέτω τὸ ἐλλεῖπον καὶ
ἀπολογισάσθω πρὸς κατόπτας
). The popular assembly at
Thebes is called ἁλία
by Hdt. 5.79
by Demosth. de Cor.
§ 213, and Plut. Pel. 12
; see also
Paus. 9.1. 5
(the Plataeans) τοὺς
Θηβαίους ὡς πανδημεὶ καὶ ἅμα ἐπὶ πλεῖστον εἰώθεσαν
βουλεύεσθαι, παρεφύλασσον τὰς ἐκκλησίας αὐτῶν,
murderers of Euphron (B.C. 367) were put upon their trial before the
at Thebes (Xen. Hell. 7.3
); οἱ δικάζειν λαχόντες
are mentioned by Paus. 9.14. 7
, in connexion with the trial of
Epameinondas. Besides the archons of the separate states, there was an
archon of the confederacy. This archon, the nominal chief of the league, was
not necessarily a Theban, as Boeckh supposed: cf. Keil, p. 69, ἄρχοντος Βοιωτοῖς Φιλοκώμω [Ἀντ]ι[γενε]ιΐω
and Lolling (Mittheil. d. d. Arch.
Inst. in Athen,
iii. p. 87), Εὐμείλω
ἄρχοντος Ἐπικουδείω Κορωνέως;
he was re-eligible after
his year's service, for in some inscriptions of Hyettus we find the same
federal archon, but different polemarchs. His name was affixed to all
alliances and compacts which concerned the whole confederacy (C. I.
1565, τοῦ δεῖνα ἄρχοντος
1570, ἄρχοντος ἐν κοινῷ Βοιωτῶν,
as above, with the addition of his father's name and that of the town of
which he was a citizen), and also to the lists of conscripts of the
individual states, the name of the federal archon preceding that of the
local archon: thus C. I. G.
1573, Κτεισίαο ἄρχοντος Βοιώτνς, Ἐρχομενίυς δὲ
The real power was in the hands of the Boeotarchs, as
representatives of the several Boeotian cities; it is true, their
determinations required the ratification of the four senates (Thuc. 5.38
). They: were the supreme military
commanders, but we also find them discharging the functions of an executive
in various matters. In fact, they are represented by Thucydides as forming
an alliance with foreign states; as receiving ambassadors on their return
home; as negotiating with envoys from other countries, and as acting as the
representatives of the whole league, although, to their great surprise, the
refused to sanction the measures
they had resolved on (cf. also Aeschin. [p. 1.302]
151; Polyaen. 4.7
). Another instance in which the Boeotarchs appear as executive is
their interference with Agesilaus on his embarking from Aulis for Asia (B.C.
396), when they prevented him from offering sacrifice as he wished (Plut. Ages. 6
). Still the
principal duty of the Boeotarchs was of a military nature (hence they are
sometimes called στρατηγοί,
Plut. Reg. et imp. Apophth. p. 194
29, 31, &c.): thus they led into the field the
troops of their respective states; and when at home they took whatever
measures were requisite to forward the military operations of the league, or
of their own state. For example, we read of one of the Theban Boeotarchs
ordering the Thebans to come in arms to the ecclesia for the purpose of
being ready to attack Plataea (Paus. 9.1. 6
The exact number of Boeotarchs is a disputed point; we know that the Thebans
elected two (Thuc. 2.2
; 4.91, etc.), and Boeckh
explains the second Theban Boeotarch to have been the representative of some
town formerly a member of the league, but afterwards merged in Thebes (on
one occasion, i. e. after the return of the exiles with Pelopidas, B.C. 379,
we read of there being three at Thebes, Plut. Pel.
); and it is generally supposed that each of the other cities
elected one. Boeckh, however, whom Grote (ii. p. 296) follows, is of opinion
that in the second period of the league the number of Boeotarchs was fixed,
and that two or three of the smaller cities chose one Boeotarch in turn.
Mention is made of eleven Boeotarchs in connexion with the battle of Delium
(B.C. 424) by Thucydides (4.91
, cf. Schol. on
2.2; so Boeckh, Arnold, etc. others make out thirteen; Von
Wilamowitz-Möllendorff in Hermes,
viii. p. 440, proposes to read ἑπτά
since in chap. 93 seven
independent states are mentioned). At the time of the battle of Leuctra
(B.C. 371) we find seven Boeotarchs mentioned (Diod.
; Paus. 9.13. 6
), and the same
number in C. I. G.
1565, 1593, and in the inscr. quoted above
(Lolling, etc.), if ἀφεδριατεύοντες
only another name for Boeotarchs (so Boeckh, C. I. G.
a; Schoemann, Jus publ.
408, n. 37; whilst C. W.
Müller sees in them the members or committees of the four senates,
and G. Gilbert, ii. p. 56acommission specially appointed to procure the
tripods in question). Correspondingly there were seven federal officers of
the cavalry, as we learn from the account of the hipparch Pompidas (see Von
, mention the hipparch τῶν
). No conclusion as to the number of Boeotarchs can be
drawn from Liv. 42.43
( “ut duodecim, qui
coetum et concilium
habuissent” ), or from Paus. 10.20. 3
where we read of four, since on that particular expedition probably only
that number were sent. The Boeotarchs, when engaged in military service,
formed a council of war, the decisions of which were determined by a
majority of votes (Thuc. 4.91
; Diod. 15.53
), and “it may be doubted whether the
words ἡγεμονίας οὔσης αὐτοῦ
passage of Thucydides imply that the supreme command was always vested
in a Theban Boeotarch, or whether it was merely the turn of Pagondas to
command that particular day” (Freeman). Their period of service
was a year, beginning about the winter solstice (Plut. Pel. 24
), and whoever
continued in office longer than his time was punishable with death, both at
Thebes and in other cities (Plut. l.c.; Paus. 9.14.
; Corn. Nep. Epam. 7
Epameinondas, with Pelopidas and the other Boeotarchs, did so on their
invasion of Laconia (B.C. 369), but their eminent services saved them; in
fact, the judges did not even come to a vote respecting the former. At the
expiration of the year a Boeotarch was eligible to office a second time, and
Pelopidas was re-elected without interruption from B.C. 378 to his death
). From the case of
Epameinondas and Pelopidas, who were brought before Theban judges for
transgression of the law which limited the time of office, we may conclude
that each Boeotarch was responsible to his own state alone. From Plb. 20.6
(cf. Gilbert, p. 55, n. 3) concludes that in the third period there was a
single general at the head of the league, as at the head of other leagues,
by whose side the Boeotarchs continued, “their office now answering
pretty well to that of the Achaean Demiourgoi or Ministers.”
Other officials of the league are mentioned in C. I. G.
cf. Rangabé, 1217, a γραμματεύς,
and a μαντευόμενος.
(Klütz, de foedere Boeotico,
Kortüm, Zur Gesch. hellen. Staatsverfassungen,
83-89, 1821; Tittmann, Darstellung d. griech. Staatsverf.
375 foll., and p. 693 foll., 1822; Boeckh, C. I. G.
i. p. 726
foll.; Freeman, Hist. of Federal Governm.
p. 154 foll.; C. W.
Müller in Pauly's Realencykl.
s. v.; C. Fr. Hermann,
§ 179 foll.; E. Preuss,
1879; E. Caillemer ap. Daremberg and
Saglio; G. Gilbert, Handb. d. greich. Staatsalt.