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Thespiae (Greek: Θεσπιαί, Thespiaí) was an ancient Greek city (polis) in Boeotia. It stood on level ground commanded by the low range of hills which runs eastward from the foot of Mount Helicon to Thebes, near modern Thespies.


In the history of ancient Greece, Thespiae figures chiefly as an enemy of Thebes. Like Plataea, the other Boeotian city that always considered nearby Thebes as a bullying threat, Thespiae tried to safeguard their independence by allying themselves with other major cities such as Athens or Sparta which could protect them from Theban power.

During the Persian invasion of 480 BC, Thespiae was one of the few cities in Boeotia to reject the example set by the Thebans, sending seven hundred men with Leonidas to fight at Thermopylae. In 1997, the Greek government dedicated a monument to the Thespians who fell alongside that of the Spartans. After the city was burned down by Xerxes I, the remaining inhabitants furnished a force of 1800 men for the confederate Greek army that fought at Plataea.

During the Athenian invasion of Boeotia in 424 BC, the Thespian contingent of the Boeotian army sustained heavy losses at the Battle of Delium, and in the next year the Thebans took advantage of this temporary enfeeblement to accuse their neighbors of friendship towards Athens and to dismantle their walls. In 414 they interfered again to suppress a democratic rising.

In the Corinthian War, Thespiae sided with Sparta, and between 379 and 372 repeatedly...
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