Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece

by Paul Cartledge

Hardcover, 2020



Call number



Picador (2020), Edition: Main Market, 336 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member Shrike58
When it's all said and done I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book, flirting at one point for giving it top marks. That I did not do so is a commentary on how hard it is to say anything coherent about Classical Thebes, on the basis of the sources that have come down to us. That Cartledge goes to some lengths to explain what we know about the city, and how, is one of the things that makes this a fairly hard read, while making me respect the author as a historian. Still, Cartledge does have enough to work with to give the reader a sense of how, over time, Thebes evolved from being one of the more conservative Grecian polities, and prepared to ally themselves with the Persians, to being a great defender of Greek freedom under the leadership of Epaminondas, the man most responsible for breaking Spartan hegemony.

Perhaps the ultimate irony in all this, and this ties into heroic Theban legend still being a vital metaphor in modern culture, is that the Classical Greeks were just as fascinated and worked the stories of Oedipus and Antigone and the like into their literature. Though much of this might have boiled down to the great Athenian dramatists enjoying nothing more than wallowing in the misfortunes of a great political rival!
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Original language


Physical description

9.53 inches


1509873163 / 9781509873166
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