Tespie

Article

July 5, 2022

Tespie (in ancient Greek: Θεσπιαί, Thespiài) was a city (polis) of ancient Greece, in Boeotia. It was located on a plain surrounded by a range of hills running east from the foot of Mount Helicon towards Thebes, near modern day Thespies.

Myth

According to Greek mythology, a dragon had been killing all of Thespie's youngsters for a long time. The city was later liberated by Cleostratus, who killed the dragon, thus becoming the hero of the poleis.

History

In the history of ancient Greece, Thespie was one of the city-states adhering to the Boeotic League. Several traditions agree that the Boeotians were a people expelled from Thessaly sometime after the Trojan War and that colonized the Boeotic plain over a series of generations. The one who founded Tespie was of a later stage. Other traditions speak of Mycenaean origins. In the Hellenic Middle Ages the nobility of Thespie was heavily dependent on Thebes. This perhaps stemmed from the fact that the ownership of the land was concentrated in the hands of a small number of nobles, and therefore there was no difficulty in preparing an effective force of hoplites. Tespie therefore decided to become a close ally of Thebes. The Thespians destroyed Ascra on an unspecified date between 700 and 650 BC. and subsequently settled in Eutresi between 600 and 550 BC. Tespie also took control of Creusi, Sife, Thisbe and Corisa, probably in the late 6th century BC The Thessalians invaded Boeotia, up to Tespie, over 200 years before the battle of Leuctra (according to Plutarch), c. 571 BC, an event that may have given Thespie the impetus to join the Boeotian League. But elsewhere Plutarch gives a date for the Thessalian invasion as shortly before the second Persian invasion of Greece. Herodotus suggests that Thespie was a member of the League until Thebes was. After the Persian wars, Tespie gave two boeotarchs to the League instead of one; perhaps one for the city and the other for the district under its control.During the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Tespie's ability to field a substantial force of hoplites had changed. Tespie and Thebes were the only cities of Boeotia to send a contingent to the battle of Thermopylae, Tespie sent a force of 700 hoplites who remained to fight alongside the Spartans on the last day of the battle. In 1997, the Greek government dedicated a monument to the fallen Thespians together with that to the Spartans. After the battle, Thebes sided with the Persians, and in doing so denounced Plataea and Thespie to Xerxes I as the only states in Boeotia allied with the Greeks. After the city was burned by Xerxes, the remaining inhabitants prepared a force of 1,800 men for the Confederate Greek army at the Battle of Plataea. During the Athenian invasion of Boeotia in 424 BC, the Thespian contingent of the Boeotian army suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Delio. In the following year the Thebans dismantled the walls of Thespie on the charge that the Thespians were pro-Athenians, perhaps as a measure to prevent a democratic revolution. In 414 BC, the Thebans helped the Thespians to suppress a democratic revolution. In the Corinthian War, Thespie initially participated in the anti-Spartan alliance. At the Battle of Nemea, in 394 BC, the Thespian contingent fought the Pellene to the end, while the rest of the Spartan allies were defeated by the Boeotians. After Nemea, Thespie became an ally of Sparta and served as a stopping point for the Spartan campaigns in Boeotia for the duration of the Corinthian War. The city became autonomous and signed the King's peace in 386 BC. which ended the Corinthian War, maintaining autonomy until 373 BC. In 373 BC Tespie was subdued by the Thebans, the Tespiesi were exiled by Boeotia and came to Athens with the Platesi in search of help. But still they sent a contingent to fight the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. The