The Info List - Boeotia

Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised as Boiotia, or Beotia (/biˈoʊʃiə, -ʃə/; Greek: Βοιωτία, Modern Greek: [vi.oˈti.a], Ancient Greek: [bojɔːtía]; modern transliteration Voiotía, also Viotía, formerly Cadmeis), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, and its largest city is Thebes. Boeotia
was also a region of ancient Greece, since before the 6th century BC.


1 Geography 2 Origins 3 Legends and literature 4 History

4.1 Fifth century BC 4.2 Boeotian League 4.3 Fourth century BC 4.4 Hellenistic period 4.5 Middle Ages and later

5 Archaeological sites

5.1 Orchomenus

6 Pejorative term 7 Administration

7.1 Prefecture 7.2 Provinces

8 Economy

8.1 Transport

9 Natives of Boeotia 10 See also 11 References 12 Sources 13 External links


Map of ancient Boeotia.

lies to the north of the eastern part of the Gulf of Corinth. It also has a short coastline on the Gulf of Euboea. It bordered on Megaris
(now West Attica) in the south, Attica
in the southeast, Euboea
in the northeast, Opuntian Locris
Opuntian Locris
(now part of Phthiotis) in the north and Phocis
in the west. The main mountain ranges of Boeotia
are Mount Parnassus
Mount Parnassus
in the west, Mount Helicon
Mount Helicon
in the southwest, Cithaeron
in the south and Parnitha
in the east. Its longest river, the Cephissus, flows in the central part, where most of the low-lying areas of Boeotia
are found. Lake Copais
Lake Copais
was a large lake in the center of Boeotia. It was drained in the 19th century. Lake Yliki
Lake Yliki
is a large lake near Thebes. Origins[edit] The earliest inhabitants of Boeotia, associated with the city of Orchomenus, were called Minyans. Pausanias mentions that Minyans established the maritime Ionian city of Teos,[1] and occupied the islands of Lemnos
and Thera. The Argonauts
were sometimes referred to as Minyans. Also, according to legend the citizens of Thebes paid an annual tribute to their king Erginus.[2] The Minyans may have been proto-Greek speakers, but although most scholars today agree that the Mycenean Greeks
Mycenean Greeks
descended from the Minyans of the Middle Helladic period, they believe that the progenitors and founders of Minyan culture were an autochthonous group.[3] The early wealth and power of Boeotia
is shown by the reputation and visible Mycenean remains of several of its cities, especially Orchomenus and Thebes. The origin of the name "Boeotians" may lie in the mountain Boeon
in Epirus.[4] Some toponyms and the common Aeolic
dialect indicate that the Boeotians were related to the Thessalians. Traditionally, the Boeotians are said to have originally occupied Thessaly, the largest fertile plain in Greece, and to have been dispossessed by the north-western Thessalians two generations after the Fall of Troy
Fall of Troy
(1200 BC). They moved south and settled in another rich plain, while others filtered across the Aegean and settled on Lesbos
and in Aeolis
in Asia Minor. Others are said to have stayed in Thessaly, withdrawing into the hill country and becoming the perioikoi, ("dwellers around").[5] Though far from Anthela, which lay on the coast of Malis
south of Thessaly
in the locality of Thermopylae, Boeotia
was an early member of the oldest religious Amphictyonic League
Amphictyonic League
(Anthelian)[6] because her people had originally lived in Thessaly.[7] Legends and literature[edit]

Mount Helicon

Map showing ancient regions of central Greece
in relation to geographical features.

Many ancient Greek legends originated or are set in this region. The older myths took their final form during the Mycenean age (1600–1200 BC) when the Mycenean Greeks
Mycenean Greeks
established themselves in Boeotia
and the city of Thebes became an important centre. Many of them are related to the myths of Argos, and others indicate connections with Phoenicia, where the Mycenean Greeks
Mycenean Greeks
and later the Euboean Greeks established trading posts. Important legends related to Boeotia

The Muses
of Mount Helicon Ogyges
and the Ogygian deluge Cadmus, who was said to have founded Thebes and brought the alphabet to Greece Dionysus
and Semele The Theban Cycle, including the myths of Oedipus
and the Sphinx, and the Seven against Thebes Antiope and her sons Amphion and Zethus Niobe Orion was born in Boeotia
and said to have fathered 50 sons with a local river god's daughters.

Many of these legends were used in plays by the tragic Greek poets, Aeschylus, Sophocles
and Euripides:

Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes Sophocles's Oedipus
Rex, Oedipus
at Colonus, and Antigone, known as the Theban plays Euripides's Bacchae, Phoenician Women, Suppliants, and Heracles

They were also used in lost plays such as Aeschylus's Niobe
and Euripides's Antiope. Boeotia
was also notable for the ancient oracular shrine of Trophonius at Lebadea. Graea, an ancient city in Boeotia, is sometimes thought to be the origin of the Latin word Graecus, from which English derives the words Greece
and Greeks. The major poets Hesiod
and Pindar
were Boeotians. History[edit]

18th century map of ancient Boeotia.

Ruins of the Cadmeia, the central fortress of ancient Thebes.

had significant political importance, owing to its position on the north shore of the Gulf of Corinth, the strategic strength of its frontiers, and the ease of communication within its extensive area. On the other hand, the lack of good harbours hindered its maritime development. The importance of the legendary Minyae has been confirmed by archaeological remains (notably the "Treasury of Minyas"). The Boeotian population entered the land from the north possibly before the Dorian invasion. With the exception of the Minyae, the original peoples were soon absorbed by these immigrants, and the Boeotians henceforth appear as a homogeneous nation. Aeolic
Greek was spoken in Boeotia. In historical times, the leading city of Boeotia
was Thebes, whose central position and military strength made it a suitable capital;[8] other major towns were Orchomenus, Plataea, and Thespiae. It was the constant ambition of the Thebans to absorb the other townships into a single state, just as Athens
had annexed the Attic communities. But the outlying cities successfully resisted this policy, and only allowed the formation of a loose federation which, initially, was merely religious.[8] While the Boeotians, unlike the Arcadians, generally acted as a united whole against foreign enemies, the constant struggle between the cities was a serious check on the nation's development. Boeotia
hardly figures in history before the late 6th century BC. Previous to this, its people are chiefly known as the makers of a type of geometric pottery, similar to the Dipylon ware
Dipylon ware
of Athens. In about 519 BC, the resistance of Plataea
to the federating policy of Thebes led to the interference of Athens
on behalf of the former; on this occasion, and again in 507 BC, the Athenians defeated the Boeotian levy. Fifth century BC[edit] During the Persian invasion of 480 BC, Thebes assisted the invaders. In consequence, for a time, the presidency of the Boeotian League was taken from Thebes, but in 457 BC the Spartans reinstated that city as a bulwark against Athenian aggression after the Battle of Tanagra. Athens
retaliated with a sudden advance upon Boeotia, and after the victory at the Battle of Oenophyta took control of the whole country, taking down the wall the Spartans had built. With the victory the Athenians also occupied Phocis, the original source of the conflict, and Opuntian Locris.[9] For ten years the land remained under Athenian control, which was exercised through the newly installed democracies; but in 447 BC the people revolted, and after a victory at the Battle of Coronea
regained their independence.[8]

Boeotian cup from Thebes painted with birds, 560–540 BC (Louvre).

In the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
the Boeotians fought zealously against Athens. Though slightly estranged from Sparta
after the peace of Nicias, they never abated their enmity against their neighbours. They rendered good service at Syracuse and at the Battle of Arginusae
Battle of Arginusae
in the closing years of the Pelopennesian War; but their greatest achievement was the decisive victory at the Battle of Delium
Battle of Delium
over the Athenian army (424 BC) in which both their heavy infantry and their cavalry displayed unusual efficiency. Boeotian League[edit] About this time the Boeotian League comprised eleven groups of sovereign cities and associated townships, each of which elected one Boeotarch or minister of war and foreign affairs, contributed sixty delegates to the federal council at Thebes, and supplied a contingent of about 1000 infantry and 100 cavalry to the federal army. A safeguard against undue encroachment on the part of the central government was provided in the councils of the individual cities, to which all important questions of policy had to be submitted for ratification. These local councils, to which the propertied classes alone were eligible, were subdivided into four sections, resembling the prytaneis of the Athenian council, which took it in turns to vote on all new measures.[8][10] Two Boeotarchs were provided by Thebes, but by 395 BC Thebes was providing four Boeotarchs, including two who had represented places now conquered by Thebes such as Plataea, Scolus, Erythrae, and Scaphae. Orchomenus, Hysiae, and Tanagra
each supplied one Boeotarch. Thespiae, Thisbe, and Eutresis supplied two between them. Haliartus, Lebadea
and Coronea
supplied one in turn, and so did Acraephnium, Copia, and Chaeronea.[11] Fourth century BC[edit] Boeotia
took a prominent part in the Corinthian War
Corinthian War
against Sparta, especially in the battles of Haliartus
and Coronea
(395-394 BC). This change of policy was mainly due to the national resentment against foreign interference. Yet disaffection against Thebes was now growing rife, and Sparta
fostered this feeling by insisting on the complete independence of all the cities in the peace of Antalcidas (387 BC). In 374, Pelopidas
restored Theban dominion[8] and their control was never significantly challenged again. Boeotian contingents fought in all the campaigns of Epaminondas
against the Spartans, most notably at the Battle of Leuctra
Battle of Leuctra
in 371, and in the Third Sacred War
Third Sacred War
against Phocis (356-346); while in the dealings with Philip of Macedon
the cities merely followed Thebes. The federal constitution was also brought into accord with the democratic governments now prevalent throughout the land. Sovereign power was vested in the popular assembly, which elected the Boeotarchs (between seven and twelve in number), and sanctioned all laws. After the Battle of Chaeroneia, in which the Boeotian heavy infantry once again distinguished itself, the land never again rose to prosperity.[8] Hellenistic period[edit] The destruction of Thebes by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
(335) destroyed the political energy of the Boeotians. They never again pursued an independent policy, but followed the lead of protecting powers. Though military training and organization continued, the people proved unable to defend the frontiers, and the land became more than ever the "dancing-ground of Ares". Though enrolled for a short time in the Aetolian League (about 245 BC) Boeotia
was generally loyal to Macedon, and supported its later kings against Rome. Rome dissolved the league, but it was revived under Augustus, and merged with the other central Greek federations in the Achaean synod. The death-blow to the country's prosperity was dealt by the devastations during the First Mithridatic War.[8] Middle Ages and later[edit]

Hosios Loukas

Save for a short period of prosperity under the Frankish rulers of Athens
(1205–1310), who repaired the katavothra and fostered agriculture, Boeotia
long continued in a state of decay, aggravated by occasional barbarian incursions. The first step towards the country's recovery was not until 1895, when the outlets of Copais were again put into working order. Archaeological sites[edit] Orchomenus[edit]

Ancient theatre of Orchomenus.

In 1880–86, Heinrich Schliemann's excavations at Orchomenus (H. Schliemann, Orchomenos, Leipzig 1881) revealed the tholos tomb he called the "Tomb of Minyas", a Mycenaean monument that equalled the "Tomb of Atreus" at Mycenae
itself. In 1893, A. de Ridder excavated the temple of Asklepios
and some burials in the Roman necropolis. In 1903–05, a Bavarian archaeological mission under Heinrich Bulle
Heinrich Bulle
and Adolf Furtwängler
Adolf Furtwängler
conducted successful excavations at the site. Research continued in 1970–73 by the Archaeological Service under Theodore Spyropoulos, uncovering the Mycenaean palace, a prehistoric cemetery, the ancient amphitheatre, and other structures. Pejorative term[edit] The Boeotian people, although they included great men like Pindar, Hesiod, Epaminondas, Pelopidas
and Plutarch, were portrayed as proverbially dull by the Athenians (cf. Boeotian ears incapable of appreciating music or poetry and Hog-Boeotians, Cratinus.310).[12] Administration[edit]

View of Livadeia

The regional unit Boeotia
is subdivided into 6 municipalities. These are (number as in the map in the infobox):[13]

(2) Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra
(3) Livadeia
(1) Orchomenos (5) Tanagra
(6) Thebes (Thiva, 4)


The lion of Chaeronea.

was created as a prefecture in 1836 (Greek: Διοίκησις Βοιωτίας), again in 1899 (Νομός Βοιωτίας) and again in 1943; in all cases it was split from Attica
and Boeotia Prefecture. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Boeotia
was created out of the former prefecture Boeotia. The prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below.[13]

New municipality Old municipalities & communities Seat

Aliartos Aliartos Aliartos


Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra Distomo Distomo



Livadeia Livadeia Livadeia





Orchomenus Orchomenus Orchomenus


Tanagra Tanagra Schimatari




Thebes (Thiva) Thebes Thebes




Provinces[edit] The provinces were:

Province - Livadeia Thiva Province
Thiva Province
- Thiva

Economy[edit] Boeotia
is the home of the third largest pasta factory in Europe, built by Misko, a member of Barilla Group.[14].Also, some of the biggest companies in Greece
and Europe have factories in this place. For example, Nestlé
and Viohalco
have factories in Oinofyta,Boeotia. Transport[edit]

Greek National Road 1/E75, SE, E, NE Greek National Road 3, S, E, Cen., W, NW Greek National Road 27, W, SW Greek National Road 44, E Greek National Road 48, W

Natives of Boeotia[edit]

Bakis Corinna Epaminondas Gorgidas Hesiod Luke the Evangelist
Luke the Evangelist
(traditionally location of his death) Narcissus (mythology) Pelopidas Pindar Plutarch Scamander (mythological king)

See also[edit]

Boeotian helmet Minyans Ogyges Aeolic
Greek List of settlements in Boeotia Graea Graïke


^ Pausanias.Description of Greece
7.3.6 ^ Bibliotheke 2.4.11 records the origin of the Theban tribute as recompense for the mortal wounding of Clymenus, king of the Minyans, with a cast of a stone by a charioteer of Menoeceus in the precinct of Poseidon at Onchestus; the myth is also reported by Diodorus Siculus, 4.10.3. ^ Cambitoglou & Descœudres 1990, p. 7 under "Excavations in the Region of Pylos" by George S. Korrés. ^ Sylvain Auroux. History of the language sciences: an international handbook on the evolution.  ^ L. H .Jeffery (1976). Archaic Greece. The Greek city-states 700-500 BC. Ernest Benn Ltd. London & Tonbridge. pp. 71, 77 ISBN 0-510-03271-0 ^ The Parian marble. Entry No 5: "When Amphictyon son of Hellen
became king of Thermopylae
brought together those living round the temple and named them Amphictyones; Entry No 6: Graeces-Hellenes [1] ^ L. H . Jeffery (1976). Archaic Greece. The Greek city states c. 700-500 B.C. Ernest Benn Ltd. London & Tonbridge pp. 72, 73 ISBN 0-510-03271-0 ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Boeotia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 114–115.  This cites as authorities:

Thucydides iv. 76-101 Xenophon, Hellenica, iii.-vii. Strabo, pp. 400-412 Pausanias ix. Theopompus (or Cratippus) in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol v. (London, 1908, No. 842, col 12 W. M. Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, chs. xi.-xix. (London, 1835) H. F. Tozer, Geography of Greece
(London, 1873), pp. 233-238 W. Rhys Roberts, The Ancient Boeotians (Cambridge, 1895) E. A. Freeman Federal Government (ed. 1893, London), ch. iv. § 2 B. V. Head, Historia Nomorum, pp. 291 sqq. (Oxford, 1887) W. Larfeld, Sylloge Inscriptionum Boeoticarum (Berlin, 1883). (See also Thebes.)

^ Fine, John VA (1983). The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History. Harvard University Press. pp. 354–355.  ^ Thucydides (v. 38), in speaking of the "four councils of the Boeotians," is referring to the plenary bodies in the various states. (Chisholm 1911) ^ Nick Sekunda, The Ancient Greeks, p.27 ^ The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, Merriam-Webster, 1 Jan 1991, p.360 ^ a b "Kallikratis reform law text" (PDF).  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 


Victor Davis Hanson (1999). The Soul of Battle. New York: Simon & Schuster.  Larson, Stephanie L. Tales of epic ancestry: Boiotian collective identity in the late archaic and early classical periods (Historia Einzelschriften, 197). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2007. 238 p.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boeotia.

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Bœotia.

" Boeotia
digital cultural encyclopedia". Foundation of the Hellenic World. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

v t e

Administrative division of the Central Greece

Area 15,549 km2 (6,004 sq mi) Population 547,390 (as of 2011) Municipalities 25 (since 2011) Capital Lamia

Regional unit of Boeotia

Aliartos Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra Livadeia Orchomenos Tanagra Thebes

Regional unit of Euboea

Chalcis Dirfys-Messapia Eretria Istiaia-Aidipsos Karystos Kymi-Aliveri Mantoudi-Limni-Agia Anna Skyros

Regional unit of Evrytania

Agrafa Karpenisi

Regional unit of Phocis

Delphi Dorida

Regional unit of Phthiotis

Amfikleia-Elateia Domokos Lamia Lokroi Makrakomi Molos-Agios Konstantinos Stylida

Regional governor Kostas Bakoyannis (since 2014) Decentralized Administration Thessaly
and Central Greece

v t e

Prefectures of Greece

By name

and Elis Achaea Adrianoplea Aetolia-Acarnania Arcadia Argolis
and Corinthia Argolis Argyrokastronb Arta Attica
and Boeotia Atticac Boeotia Cephalonia Chalkidiki Chania Chios Corfu Corinthia Cyclades Dodecanese Dramad Elis Euboea Evrosd Evrytania Florina Grevena Heraklion Imathia Ioannina Kallipolisa Karditsa Kastoria Kavalad Kilkis Korytsab Kozani Lacedaemon Laconia Lakoniki Larissa Lasithi Lefkada Lesbos Magnesia Messenia Pella Phocis
and Locris Phocis Phthiotis
and Phocis Phthiotis Pieria Piraeus Preveza Rethymno Rhaedestosa Rhodoped Samos Saranta Ekklisiesa Serres Sfakia Thesprotia Thessaloniki Trikala Trifylia Xanthid Zakynthos

By year established


1833 Achaea
and Elis Aetolia-Acarnania Arcadia Argolis
and Corinthia Attica
and Boeotia Cyclades Euboea Laconia Messenia Phocis
and Locris 1845 Phthiotis
and Phocis 1864 Corfu Kefallinia Lefkada Zakynthos 1882 Arta Larissa Trikala 1899 Achaea Argolis Atticac Boeotia Corinthia Elis Evrytania Karditsa Lacedaemon Lakoniki Magnesia Phocis Phthiotis Trifylia


1912 Chania Heraklion Lasithi Rethymno Sfakia 1914 Thessaloniki 1915 Argyrokastronb Chalkidiki Chios Dramad Florina Ioannina Kavalad Korytsab Kozani Lesbos Preveza Samos Serres 1920 Adrianoplea Evrosd Kallipolisa Rhaedestosa Rhodoped Saranta Ekklisiesa 1930–1944 Pella Kilkis Thesprotia Kastoria Xanthid 1947 Dodecanese Imathia Pieria 1964 Grevena Piraeus

a In Eastern Thrace or b Northern Epirus, outside present-day Greece. c From 1971, Attica
consisted of four prefecture-level units: Athens, East Attica, Piraeus and West Attica. From 1994, Athens
and Piraeus were grouped into a single super-prefecture. d From 1994, Drama / Kavala / Xanthi and Evros / Rhodope prefectures were grouped into super-