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About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the distinctiveness of religious practice in ancient Thebes, focusing in particular on: (i) what we mean when we talk about ‘religion’ in the ancient Greek world; (ii) the Theban origins (in myth) of two gods who were worshipped across the Greek world: Heracles and Dionysus; (iii) the centrality of Dionysus and Heracles to Theban cult, and the worship of other Olympian gods, including Athena and Apollo; (iv) the existence of pan-Boeotian cult activity, including the Pamboeotia in honour of Poseidon; (v) the oracle of Amphiaraus, famously consulted by Croesus of Lydia ahead of his invasion of Persia in 545 BC; and (vi) the sanctuary known as the Cabeirion.
In this course, Professor Paul Cartledge (University of Cambridge) explores the history of Thebes from the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 BC) to its destruction at the hands of Alexander the Great in 335 BC. In the first module, we think about the ‘prehistory’ of the city of Thebes in the Mycenaean Age, including its location in Greece and the earliest mentions of the city in Greek (and non-Greek) literature. After that, in the second module, we think about cult in ancient Thebes, before turning in the third and fourth modules to consider the prominence of Thebes in the Greek epic tradition and in Greek tragedy. In the final four modules, we trace the history of Thebes in four key periods – the Greco-Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian, the fourth century BC up to the death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantinea, and the final decades of Thebes’ existence before its destruction in 335 BC.
Paul Cartledge is Professor of Greek History in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge, where he has taught since 1979; he is also a Fellow of Clare College. His undergraduate and doctoral qualifications where obtained at Oxford, where he completed a dissertation on the archaeology and history of early Sparta under the supervision of Professor Sir John Boardman. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of a score of books, including most recently The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece; The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization; Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History c.1300-362 BC; The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others; The Spartans: An Epic History; Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past and Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World . He co-edits two monograph series, sits on the editorial boards of three learned journals and serves as consultant in ancient history to Duckworth publishers. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and holds the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour awarded by the President of the Hellenic Republic.
Cite this Lecture
Cartledge, P. (2021, February 17). Ancient Thebes - Religion [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/ancient-thebes/religion-3050c8ee-9eb5-415d-9f3f-c7fabcf5a6ea
Cartledge, P. "Ancient Thebes – Religion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/ancient-thebes/religion-3050c8ee-9eb5-415d-9f3f-c7fabcf5a6ea