What Happened To the Ancient City of Thebes?

How the great city was felled by an equally great man

Grant Piper


Thebes, Greece. (2022, September 16). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thebes,_Greece

Thebes was a city-state in ancient Greece that once held its own alongside Athens and Sparta. Thebes fought with the Greeks and against the Greeks during the ancient period. They were known for their fierce fighters, strong citadel, and wavering loyalties. Thebes was an integral part of the shifting relationships and wars that swirled around Peleponesia during the time of the great Peloponnesian War.

Today, most people remember the deeds and feats of Athens and Sparta. The Athenians and the Spartans forged a fabled history that is still studied and revered today. Few people would lump Thebes in with Athens and Sparta. So what happened? What happened to the ancient city of Thebes that cast it down from its place of ancient prominence?

Constant Feuds

Thebes was despised by both Athens and Sparta for their role in Greece. Thebes constantly switched sides, abandoned alliances, and even sided with the hated Persians for a time. They took gold without a second thought and fielded mercenaries against friends, foes, and neighbors alike. The behavior of Thebes caused the city to gain a bad reputation. Athens and Sparta used their influence, historians, and orators to ensure that Thebes never shared in the same amount of glory as they did.

The bias of Athens and Sparta is one of the reasons that Thebes is hardly remembered today as the great city that it once was. But it is not the only reason. Athens and Sparta had an opening to really paint Thebes in whatever light they wanted when the city was utterly destroyed. With the city in ruins, there was no one left to stop Athens and Sparta from destroying the last of its reputation as it smoldered.

Razed By Alexander The Great

Alexander the Great is known for conquering the Persian Empire. His exploits carried his Macedonian army from Pella to the Indus River. But his early conquests did not take place in exotic locales; they took place in and around Greece.

Before Alexander the Great could turn his full attention to Asia across the Aegean Sea, he had to subdue the Greek city-states to Macedonia’s south. Using a mixture…



Grant Piper

Professional writer. Amateur historian. Husband, father, Christian.