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The Kingdom of Pergamon started life as just one of many Greek city states dotted along the Aegean coast of Anatolia, in a region known as Ionia. In the wake of earlier invasion by Persia and later by Alexander the Great, the city rose quickly in prominence to become a major regional power. Under King Attalus, the kingdom defeated the Galatians, a Celtic tribe from Europe who had taken up residence in the Anatolian interior and were harrassing the Ionian states. Pergamon fought several wars against other Macedonian successor kingdoms, in all cases holding its own until it came to rule much of Western Anatolia. The Kingdom lasted for hundreds of years, until faced with a succession crisis King Eumenes III bequeathed the kingdom to the Republic of Rome, incorporating it into Rome's quckly expanding empire.

Early Beginnings[]

Pergamon was first mentioned by Xenophon, who captured it in 399 BC. It was immediately recaptured by the Persians. In the period after Alexander the Great’s death, Pergamon fell under the control of Lysimachus, King of Thrace, in 301 BC. His lieutenant Philetaerus enlarged the town, but the Kingdom of Thrace collapsed. Pergamon became capital of a new kingdom founded by Philetaerus in 281 BC. In 261 BC, he bequeathed his possessions to his nephew Eumenes I (263-241 BC), who increased them greatly, leaving as heir his cousin Attalus (241-197 BC).

Attalid Rule[]

The Attalids became some of the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world. Under Attalus I, they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II (197-158 BC), against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. Attalus was famed for his defeat of the Celtic invaders the Galatians. Pergamon ended up attacked by the Galatians with their ally Antiochus Hierax, ruler of Seleucid Asian Minor from his capital at Sardis. Attalus defeated them at the battle of Aphrodisium and subsequent battles. He gained control over all of Seleucid Asia Minor north of the Taurus Mountains. However, Achaeus, made governor of Seleucid Asia Minor by Antiochus III the Great, recovered all the lost territories of the Seleucids. In 218 BC, Attalus recaptured his former territories. Achaeus returned from an expedition and resumed hostilities with Attalus. Under a treaty of alliance with Attalus, Antiochus crossed the Taurus in 216 BC, attacked Achaeus and his capital of Sardis, taking it in 214 BC. Achaeus ended up put to death, with Antiochus regaining control of all his Asiatic provinces. Attalus had become allied with Philip V of Macedon’s enemies the Aetolian league. He ended up elected as a general of the Aetolian League. In 208 BC, a combined fleet of Pergamene and Roman ships failed to take Lemnus. Attalus was forced to return to Asia because he found out that King Prusias I of Bithynia, related to Philip by marriage, was moving against Pergamon. A treaty was drawn up in 205 BC, formally ending the First Macedonian War. Attalus retained the island of Aegina and little else. Peace was also made with Bithynia. Philip set out to expand his power in the Aegean. In 201 BC, he took over Samos. Then, he besieged Chios. These events caused Attalus to enter the war. The same year, Philip invaded Pergamon, but was unable to take the city. In 200 BC, Attalus was involved in the Second Macedonian War. In 198 BC, he returned to Greece to complete the conquest of Euboea begun the previous year. Soon joined by the Romans, they ended up with control of the entire island except for Chalcis. In 197 BC, at a council in Thebes, Attalus collapsed. Taken back to Pergamon, he ended up dying. His successors were not as renowned as him. Due to its rise in power, the city of Pergamon expanded greatly. After 188 BC, a massive city wall was constructed, 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long and enclosing an area of approximately 90 hectares (220 acres). Surviving documents showed how the Attalid rulers supported the growth of towns by sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to the Greek cultural sites, such as Delphi and Delos. Invading Celtic peoples were defeated. The Acropolis of Pergamon was modeled after the one in Athens. When Attalus III (138-133 BC) died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war.

Roman Era[]

Not everyone in Pergamon accepted the rule of Rome. Aristonicus, who claimed to be Attalus’ brother as well as the son of Eumenes II, led a revolt among the lower classes. This revolt was put down in 129 BC, and Pergamon was divided among Rome, Pontus, and Cappadocia. The city was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia, before it was transferred to Ephesus. After a slow decline, the city was favored by several imperial initiatives under Hadrian (117-138). Pergamon was granted the title of metropolis and an ambitious building program was carried out. Massive temples, a stadium, a theatre, a huge forum, and an amphitheater were constructed. In addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic and healing centers of the Roman world. Galen, after Hippocrates the most famous physician of antiquity, was born at Pergamon. The city became home to about 200,000 inhabitants and was an early seat of Christianity. It was badly damaged by an earthquake in 262 and sacked by the Goths shortly after.

Middle Ages to the Present[]

Anatolia was invaded by the Sassanids in c. 620. After they were driven out by the Byzantines, Pergamon was rebuilt on a much smaller scale by Emperor Constans II. It was sacked by the armies of Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik on their way to the siege of Constantinople in 717. Pergamon was absorbed into the baylik of the Karasids by 1336. The Ottoman Emirate took over the baylik in 1357. Ottoman Sultan Murad III had two large alabaster urns transported from the ruins of Pergamon and placed on two sides of the nave in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Today in modern Turkey, there is the town of Bergama near the ruins of the ancient city. The ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage site.



Attalus I, surnamed Soter, ruled Pergamon, first as dynast, later as king, from 241 BC to 197 BC. He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, his predecessor. During his reign, Attalus established Pergamon as a considerable power in the Greek East.

Early Life[]

Little is known about Attalus’ early life. His parents were Attalus and Antiochis. The elder Attalus was the son of a brother (also named Attalus) or both Philetaerus, the founder of the Attalid dynasty, and Eumenes, father of Eumenes I, Philetaerus’ successor. He is mentioned as a benefactor of Delphi, winning fame as a charioteer at Olympia, and was honored with a monument at Pergamon. Attalus was a young child when his father died, sometime before 241 BC, after which he was adopted by Eumenes I, the ruler of Pergamon. Attalus’ mother, Antiochis, was related to the Seleucid royal family, being a granddaughter of Seleucus I Nicator. Attalus married Apollonis, from Cyzicus. They had four sons, Eumenes, Attalus, Philetaerus and Athenaeus.

Victory over the Galatians[]

According to the 2nd century AD Greek writer Pausanias, “the greatest of his (Attalus) achievements” was the defeat of the “Gauls”. The “Gauls” were actually the Galatians, immigrant Celts from Thrace, who had recently settled in Galatia in central Asia Minor. Since the time of Philetaerus, the Galatians had posed a problem for Pergamon and the rest of Asia Minor, by exacting tributes to avoid war or other repercussions. Attalus refused to pay them, being the first such ruler to do so. In response, the Galatians set out to attack Pergamon, Attalus met them near the sources of the river Caicus, and won a decisive victory. He took the name of Soter, meaning “savior”, and claimed the title of king. This victory brought Attalus legendary fame. On the acropolis of Pergamon was erected a triumphal monument, which included the famous sculpture the Dying Gaul, commemorating this battle.

Conflict with the Seleucids[]

Several years after the first victory over the Galatians, Pergamon was attacked by them along with their ally Antiochus Hierax, the younger brother of Seleucus II Callinicus, and the ruler of Seleucid Asia Minor from his capital at Sardis. Attalus defeated them at the battle of Aphrodisium and again at a second battle in the east. Subsequent battles were fought and won against Antiochus alone: in Hellespontine Phrygia, near Sardis in the spring of 228 BC, and in the final battle of the campaign, further south in Caria on the banks of the Harpasus. As a result of these victories, Attalus gained control over all of Seleucid Asia Minor north of the Taurus Mountains. He was able to hold on to these gains in the face of repeated attempts by Seleucus III Ceraunus, eldest son and successor of Seleucus II, to recover the lost territory, culminating in Seleucus III crossing the Taurus, only to be assassinated by members of his army in 223 BC. Achaeus, who had accompanied Seleucus III, assumed control of the army. He was offered and refused the kingship in favor of Seleucus III’s younger brother Antiochus III the Great, who then made Achaeus governor of Seleucid Asia Minor north of the Taurus. Within two years, Achaeus had recovered all the lost Seleucid territories, “shut up Attalus within the walls of Pergamon”, and assumed the title of king. In 218 BC, while Achaeus was involved in an expedition to Selge, Attalus, with the help of some Galatians, recaptured his former territories. However, Achaeus returned from his victory in Selge in 217 BC and resumed hostilities with the Pergamene ruler. Under a treaty of alliance with Attalus, Antiochus crossed the Taurus in 216 BC, attacked Achaeus and besieged Sardis. In 214 BC, he was able to take the city, but the citadel remained under Achaeus’ control. Under the pretense of a rescue, Achaeus was finally captured and put to death. By 213 BC, Antiochus had regained control of all his Asiatic provinces.

Involvement in the Maceonian Wars[]

Thwarted in the east, Attalus now turned his attention westward. Perhaps out of concern for the ambitions of King Philip V of Macedon, he had sometime before 219 BC become allied with Philip’s enemies the Aetolian League, a union of Greek states in Aetolia in central Greece. Philip’s alliance with Hannibal of Carthage in 215 BC also caused concern in Rome, then involved in the Second Punic War. In 211 BC, a treaty was signed between Rome and the Aetolian League, a provision of which allowed for the inclusion of certain allies of the League, Attalus being one of these. He was elected one of the two generals of the Aetolian League. In 210 BC, his troops were likely involved in capturing the island of Aegina, used by the Pergamene king as his base of operations in Greece. In the following spring (209 BC), Philip marched south into Greece. Attalus himself went to Greece in July and was joined on Aegina by the Roman proconsul P. Sulpicius Galba. The following summer (208 BC), the combined fleet of 35 Pergamene and 25 Roman ships failed to take Lemnos, but occupied and plundered the countryside of the island of Peparethos. Attalus and Sulpicius then attended a meeting in Heraclea Trachinia of the Council of the Aetolians, at which the Roman argued against making peace with Philip. They sacked both Oreus, located on the northern coast of Euboea, and Opus, the chief city of eastern Locris. Sulpicius went to Oreus to collect the spoils, while Attalus stayed at Opus to collect his. With their forces divided, Philip attacked Opus. Attalus, caught by surprise, was barely able to escape to his ships. He was forced to return to Asia, because he learned that King Prusias I of Bithynia, related to Philip by marriage, was moving against Pergamon. Soon after, the Romans abandoned Greece to concentrate their forces against Hannibal. In 206 BC, the Aetolians sued for peace on conditions imposed by Philip. A treaty was drawn up at Phoenice in 205 BC, formally ending the First Macedonian War. Attalus retained Aegina, but had accomplished little else. The war between Attalus and Prusias must also have ended by that time.

In 205 BC, Rome turned to Attalus, as its only friend in Asia, for help concerning a religious matter. An unusual number of meteor showers caused concern in Rome, and inspection was made of the Sibylline Books, which discovered verses saying that if a foreigner were to make war on Italy, he could be defeated if the Magna Idaea, the Mother Goddess, associated with Mount Ida in Phyrgia, were brought to Rome. A delegation led by M. Valerius Laevinus, was dispatched to Pergamon, to seek Attalus’ aid. According to Livy, Attalus received the delegation warmly, and gave them the sacred stone considered “the Mother of the Gods”. In Rome, it became known as the Magna Mater.

Prevented by the treaty of Phoenice from expansion in the east, Philip set out to extend his power in the Aegean and in Asia Minor. In the spring of 201 BC, he took Samos. He then besieged Chios to the north. These events caused Attalus, allied with Rhodes, Byzantium, and Cyzicus, to enter the war. A large naval battle occurred in the strait between Chios and the mainland. Fifty-three decked warships and over one hundred and fifty smaller warships, took part on the Macedonian side, with sixty-five decked warships and a number of smaller warships on the allied side. During the battle Attalus, having become isolated from his fleet and pursued by Philip, was forced to run his three ships ashore, narrowly escaping by spreading various royal treasures on the decks of the grounded ships, causing his pursuers to abandon the pursuit in favor of plunder. The same year, Philip unsuccessfully invaded Pergamon. In 200 BC, Attalus became involved in the Second Macedonian War. Acarnanians with Macedonian support invaded Attica, causing Athens to seek help from the enemies of Philip. Attalus learned than Roman ambassadors were also at Athens and decided to go there at once. His reception at Athens was extraordinary. Sulpicius Galba, now consul, convinced Rome to declare war on Philip and asked Attalus to meet up with the Roman fleet and again conduct a naval campaign. IN the spring of 199 BC, the combined Pergamene and Roman fleets took Andros in the Cyclades, with the spoils going to the Romans and the island to Attalus. They went south, making a fruitless attack on the island of Kithnos. On land, they were repulsed at Cassandrea. They continued northeast along the Macedonian coast to Acanthus, which they sacked, after which they returned to Euboea. In Heraclea, the two leaders met with the Aetolians, who asked Attalus for a thousand soldiers. He refused, citing the Aetolians’ own refusal to honor Attalus’ request to attack Macedonia during Philip’s attack on Pergamon two years earlier. Attalus and the Romans attacked the city of Oreus twice before taking it over. Attalus returned to Pergamon, having been away for over two years. In the spring of 198 BC, Attalus returned to Greece with 23 quinqueremes joining a fleet of 20 Rhodian decked warships at Andros, to complete the conquest of Euboea. Soon joined by the Romans, the combined fleets took Eretria and later Carystus. The allies controlled all of Euboea except for Chalcis. The allied fleet then sailed for Cenchreae in preparation for an attack on Corinth. Meanwhile, the new Roman consul, Titus Quinctius Flamininus, had learned that the Achaean League, allies of Macedon, had had a change in leadership which favored Rome. Hoping to induce the Achaeans to abandon Philip, envoys were sent, including Attalus himself, to Sicyon, where they offered the incorporation of Corinth into the Achaean League. Impressed by the Pergamene king, the Sicyonians erected a colossal statue of him in their market place and instituted sacrifices in his honor. Some of the League agreed to join the alliance. Attalus led his army from Cenchreae through the Isthmus and attacked Corinth from the north, with the Romans attacking from the east and the Achaeans attacking from the west. However, the city held, and when Macedonian reinforcements arrived, the siege was abandoned. The Achaeans were dismissed, the Romans left for Corcyra, while Attalus sailed for Piraeus.


Attalus died in 197 BC, shortly before the end of the second Macedonian war. Flamininus summoned Attalus to join him at Elateia and from there they traveled together to attend a Boeotian council in Thebes to discuss which side Boeotia would take in the war. At the council Attalus spoke first, reminding the Boeotians of the many things he and his ancestors had done for them, but during his address he stopped talking and collapsed, with one side of his body paralyzed. He was taken back to Pergamon, where he died around the time of the Battle of Cynoscephalae, which brought about the end of the Second Macedonian War. He was 72 years old. His eldest son Eumenes II succeeded him as King of Pergamon.

Judgement of History[]

Attalus I helped establish Pergamon as a considerable power in Asia Minor. He managed to gain territory from the Seleucids for a time. He was able to repel his enemies, among them the Galatians and Philip of Macedon. He left an impression on the peoples he met, including the Athenians and the Sicyonians. None of his successors have the fame that he has. Less is known of their accomplishments. Polybius remarked that even though Attalus left behind four grown-up sons, the matter of succession never became an issue. Although Pergamon ended up in Roman hands, Attalus will be remembered as its greatest ruler.

Unique Components[]

Rhodian Slinger[]

Famed for their skill, Rhodian slingers were – as the name suggests – mercenary slingers hailing from the island of Rhodes. As the island was protected by sea, the slingers were free to battle for armies across the Mediterranean – for a price, of course. Able to hit targets up to four hundred metres away, the slinger had a clear advantage over the average archer or peltast, as their wide range allowed them to attack without putting themselves within reach of any enemy projectiles. Additionally, their lack of armour gave them a very high mobility, allowing them to outpace or escape the heavily defended infantry of the time. While weak in close combat, the Rhodian slinger’s high power and long range made them a valuable asset on the battlefields of Classical Greece.

The main source we have documenting the Rhodian slingers is Xenophon’s Anabasis, a record of the author’s role in the March of the Ten Thousand. In it, the slingers of Rhodes are praised for their ability over those of Persia— while Persian slingers used bulky stones as their projectiles, the Rhodians used leaden bullets, which not only allowed the slingers to hit targets even further than many contemporary archers, but also to deal percussive damage to the armor of their foes. Rhodian slingers also were less expensive than archers due to the lower cost of their bullets compared to arrows, leading to their common use as mercenaries throughout the period, even finding their way into the army of Alexander the Great.


Odeons, literally translating to ‘Singing-Places,’ were structures built by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to be the site of large scale musical or poetic recitations. Though architecturally similar to the theatres of the age, they were designed explicitly for acoustics and thus possessed a roof whilst only tending to reach a quarter of the size of their dramatic counterparts. Despite being constructed for leisurely purposes it is quite likely that they could have served as points of administration in a pinch, as suggested by Aristophanes in one of his surviving plays – ‘The Wasps’.

Though the oldest known Odeon was the Skia, found in Sparta – the structures would evolve to become far more widespread and grandiose, with examples being found all throughout the Ancient Greek world, and then being adopted into Roman Culture by Domitian. The largest known Odeon was constructed at the Acropolis in Athens in 161 AD at the behest of Herodes Atticus – a wealthy Sophist who served as a Roman Consul and was responsible for patronising many similar constructions throughout the Greece and Asia Minor. Though the Herod Atticus Odeon was destroyed when the Heruli sacked Athens in 267 AD, at its height it would provide seating for more than 5,000 Athenian citizens.

In more modern years, the reconstruction of several odeons – including the Herodeon – has allowed for the structures to retain their cultural relevance into the present, where often they will still serve as musical venues.

Pergamon Altar[]

The Pergamon Altar is a monumental construction built during the reign of King Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd century BC on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor. The Pergamene kingdom, founded by Philetaerus at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, was initially part of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire. Attalus I, successor and nephew of Eumenes I, was the first to achieve full independence for the territory and proclaimed himself king after his victory over the Celtic Galatians in 228 BC. His son, Eumenes II, further limited the influence of the Galatians and ruled jointly with his brother Attalos II, who succeeded him.

The altar structure is 35.64 meters wide and 33.4 meters deep; the front stairway alone is almost 20 meters wide. The base is decorated with a frieze in high relief showing the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods known as the Gigantomachy. There is a second, smaller and less well preserved high relief frieze on the inner court walls which surround the actual fire altar on the upper level of the structure at the top of the stairs. It depicts, in a series of consecutive scenes, events from the life of Telephos, legendary founder of the city of Pergamon and son of the hero Heracles and Auge, a daughter of the Tegean king Aleus.



Corinth was an ancient Greek city-state in the northeastern part of the Peloponnesus peninsula in present day Greece. Neolithic pottery suggests that the site of Corinth was occupied from at least as early as 6500 BC. The site of Corinth was likely not heavily occupied until around 900 BC, when it is believed the Dorians settled there. The ancient myths portrayed Corinth as the site where Jason abandoned his wife Medea. Corinth had been a backwater in 8th-century Greece. The Bacchiadae, a tightly-knit Doric clan, were the ruling kinship group of archaic Corinth in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, a period of expanding Corinthian cultural power. In 747 BC, an aristocratic revolution ousted the Bacchiad kings. The royal clan of Bacchiadae dispensed with the kingship and ruled as a group, governing the city by electing annually a prytanis, who held the kingly position for his brief term. During Bacchiad rule, from 747 to 650 BC, Corinth became a unified state. In 733 BC, the city established colonies at Corcyra and Syracuse. In 657 BC, the polemarch Cypselus became the first tyrant of Corinth after seizing power and exiling the Bacchiadae. In the 7th century BC, under the rule of Cypselus (r 657-627 BC), and his son Periander (r. 627-585 BC), the city sent forth colonists to found new settlements, including Epidamnus (modern day Durrës, Albania), and Apollonia in Illyria. Corinth was one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities to found the colony of Naucratis in ancient Egypt. Periander was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He was the first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs. This venture was abandoned due to extreme technical difficulties, but Periander had the Diolkos (a stone-built overland ramp) built instead. In 581 BC, Periander’s nephew and successor was assassinated.

In Classical times, Corinth rivaled Athens and Thebai in wealth. Until the mid-6th century, Corinth was a major exporter of black-figure pottery to city-states around the Greek world. There was a temple of Aphrodite, employing some thousand hetairas (temple prostitutes). The city was also the host of the Isthmian Games. The third main style of classical architecture after the Doric and the Ionic, the Corinthian order was developed. The city had two main ports, Lechaion to the west, and Kenchreai to the east on the Saronic Gulf. During the years 481-480 BC, the Conference at the Isthmus of Corinth established the Hellenic League to fight the war against Persia. In 435 BC, Corinth and its colony Corcyra went to war over Epidamnus. In 433 BC, Athens allied with Corcyra against Corinth. In 395 BC after the end of the Peloponnesian War, Corinth and Thebai moved to support Athens against Sparta in the Corinthian War. The conflicts weakened the city-states in the Peloponnese, setting the stage for the conquests of Philip II of Macedon. Corinth eventually fell under the control of Alexander the Great. In 308 BC, the city was captured from the Antigonids by Ptolemy I. It was recaptured by Demetrius in 304 BC, remaining in Antigonid control for half a century. After Roman intervention in 197 BC, the city was permanently brought into the Achaean League. The Achaeans went on to take control of the entire Peloponnesus and made Corinth the capital of their confederation.

In 146 BC, Rome declared war on the Achaean League. The Romans led by Lucius Mummius besieged and captured Corinth. All the men were put to the sword and the women and children sold into slavery. The site remained largely deserted until Julius Caesar refounded the city as Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis in 44 BC, shortly before his assassination. Corinth once again became a major city in Southern Greece or Achaea. Corinth was mentioned many times in the New Testament, largely in connection with Paul the Apostle’s mission there. Paul wrote at least two epistles to the Christian community. The city was largely destroyed in the earthquakes of 365 AD and 375 AD, followed by Alaric’s invasion in 396. The city was rebuilt, but covered a much smaller area than previously. Four churches were located in the city proper, another on the citadel of the Acrocorinth, and a monumental basilica at the port of Lechaion. During the reign of Justinian I, a large stone wall was erected from the Saronic to the Corinthian gulfs, named Hexamilion. Corinth declined from the 6th century on. It became the capital of the theme of Hellas and later the Peloponnese. In the 9th century, the city began to recover and reached its apogee in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was the site of a flourishing silk industry. An earthquake struck the city in November 856. The Sicilian Normans plundered Corinth in 1147 and it never fully recovered. In 1210, the Acrocorinth fell to the Crusaders, becoming a part of the Principality of Achaea, governed by the Villehardouins from their capital in Andravida in Elis. It was captured by the Ottomans in 1395 and by the Byzantines of the Despotate of the Morea in 1403. In 1458, Corinth was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, who renamed it Gördes. The Venetians captured it in 1687 and it remained under their control until 1715. The city was officially liberated from the Ottomans in 1832. It was one of the candidates for the new capital city of the recently founded Kingdom of Greece. The ruins remain a tourist attraction today.


Delphi was a city in central Greece, known for its oracle. It started to have a pan-Hellenic relevance as both a shrine and an oracle in the 7th century BC. The Delphic Oracle was consulted before major undertakings, such as wars, and the founding of colonies. Delphi was reclaimed by the Athenians during the First Sacred War (597-585 BC). This conflict resulted in the consolidated of the Amphictyonic League, which had both a military and a religious function centered around the protection of the Temple of Apollo. The shrine was destroyed by fire in 548 BC. The Second Sacred War (449-448 BC) resulted in the Phocians gaining control of Delphi and the management of the Pythian Games. In 356 BC, the Phocians, led by Philomelos, captured and sacked Delphi, leading to the Third Sacred War (356-346 BC). This conflict ended with the defeat of the Phocians, and the rise of Macedon under the reign of Philip II. In Delphi, Macedonian ruled was superseded by the Aetolians in 279 BC, and by the Romans in 191 BC. The site was sacked by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 86 BC, during the Mithridatic Wars, and by the Emperor Nero in 66 AD. A Thracian tribe also raided the sanctuary in 83 BC, stealing the “unquenchable fire” from the altar. The Oracle fell into decay and the surrounding area became impoverished. Roman Emperor Hadrian is believed to have visited Delphi twice, offering complete autonomy to the city. Constantine the Great looted several of the monuments to decorate his new capital, Constantinople. Despite the rise of Christianity across the Roman Empire, the oracle remained a religious center throughout the 4th century, and the Pythian Games continued to be held at least until 424 AD. A large three-aisled basilica was built in the city, in addition to a church building in the sanctuary’s former gymnasium. Delphi was abandoned in the 6th or 7th centuries, but a single bishop of Delphi is attested in an episcopal list of the late 8th/early 9th centuries. During the Ottoman period, the village of Kastri was founded on the site. Before a systematic excavation of the archeological site could be undertaken, the village had to be relocated. However, the residents resisted. An earthquake damaged the village, and the villagers were offered a completely new village in exchange for the old one. In 1893, the French Archaeological School removed substantial quantities of soil from numerous landslides to uncover the major buildings and structures of the sanctuary of Apollo and of Athena Pronoia, as well as numerous artifacts. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, Delphi is popular with tourists.


Ephesus was a city located in Western Anatolia (modern day Turkey). The area surrounding it was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (circa 6000 BC). During the Bronze Age, it may have been called Apasa, the capital of the Kingdom of Arzawa mentioned in Hittite sources. In 1954, a burial ground dating from the Mycenaean era (1500-1400 BC) was discovered close to the ruins of the basilica of St. John. Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on the Ayasuluk Hill. The mythical founder of the city was a prince of Athens, Androklos, who had to leave his home city after the death of his father. According to legend, he founded Ephesus on the spot where the Delphian oracle’s pronouncement became reality. The Artemis worshipped at Ephesus was a fusion of the Greek goddess Artemis and the Anatolian goddess Kybele. Her statue was many-breasted and venerated in the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Circa 650 BC, Ephesus was attacked by the Cimmerians. After they were driven away, the city was ruled by a series of tyrants. A council ruled it after a revolt. Notable figures who came from the city included the elegiac poet Callinus, the iambic poet Hipponax, the philosopher Heraclitus, the great painter Parrhasius, the grammarian Zenodotos, and the physicians Soranus and Rufus. Around 560 BC, Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians led by King Croesus, who treated the people with respect and became a main contributor to the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis. After the defeat of Lydia by the Persians, the Ionians offered to make peace. Cyrus insisted they surrender and become part of the empire. They were defeated by the Persian general Harpagos in 547 BC, with the Greek cities of Asia Minor incorporated into the Achaemenid Empire. When taxes were raised under Cambyses II and Darius, the Ephesians participated in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule in the Battle of Ephesus (498 BC). In 479 BC, the Ionians, together with Athens, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. The next year, the Ionian cities formed the Delian League with Athens against the Persians. During the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus was first allied to Athens, but later sided with Sparta (which had received the support of the Persians). The cities of Ionia were ceded to Persia. In 356 BC, the temple of Artemis was burnt down, by an arsonist named Herostratus according to legend. An even larger and grander one was built in its place. After Alexander the Great defeated the Persians at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities in Asia Minor were liberated. Seeing that the temple of Artemis was not yet completed, he proposed to finance it and have his name inscribed on the front. The Ephesians did not accept his proposal, claiming that it was not fitting for one god to build a temple to another. After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Ephesus came under the rule of one of his generals, Lysimachus in 290 BC. The river Cayster silted the harbor and the resulting marshes caused malaria among the people. They were forced to move to a new settlement two kilometres (1.2miles) away, officially named Arsinoea after Lysimachus’ second wife. Lysimachus was defeated and killed at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. The town was again named Ephesus and it became part of the Seleucid Empire. Ptolemy III invaded and Ephesus fell under Egyptian rule between 263 and 197 BC. When Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great tried to regain the Greek cities in Asia Minor, he came into conflict with Rome. He was eventually defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. Ephesus came under the rule of the Attalid King of Pergamon, Eumenes II. When his grandson Attalus III died without a male heir, he left his kingdom to the Roman Empire. Taxes rose considerably and the treasures of the city were plundered. In 88 BC, Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates the Great, king of Pontus, when he conquered Roman Asia. Around 80,000 Roman citizens were slaughtered. When the Ephesians saw how badly the people of Chios were treated by another of Mithridates’ general Zenobius, they refused entry to their city to his army. Ephesus became for a time, self-governing. After the defeat of Mithridates by Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Ephesus went back to Roman rule in 86 BC. Sulla imposed a huge indemnity, along with five years of back taxes. When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, he made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia. The city entered an era of prosperity, becoming the seat of the governor and a major center of commerce. Strabo claimed it was second in importance and size only to Rome. The population of Ephesus at this time is calculated to be between 138,000 and 172,500, with an alternate estimate giving the city a range of 33,600 to 56,000 inhabitants. The city was known for its Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, and a theater capable of holding 25,000 spectators (later used for gladiatorial combat). Ephesus was sacked by the Goths in 263 AD, marking the decline of the city’s splendor. The Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected a new public bath. The Basilica of St. John was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. The importance of the city as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the river. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Sacks by the Arabs in the years 654-655 and in 700 and 716 hastened the city’s decline further. When the Seljuk Turks conquered Ephesus in 1090, it was but a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1097 and kept it until 1304. The town surrendered to a Turkish warlord, Sasa Bey. Contrary to the terms of the surrender, the Turks pillaged the church of St. John and deported most of the local population to Thyrea, Greece. The town experienced a short period of prosperity during the 14th century under the Seljuks. Ephesus was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire for the first time in 1390. After the defeat of the Ottomans by Tamerlane in 1402, the region reverted back to the Anatolian beyliks. It was once more incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1425. By the 15th century, Ephesus was completely abandoned. In 1863, the British architect John Turtle Wood, with the sponsorship of the British Museum, began to search for the Temple of Artemis. The pavement was discovered in 1869, but excavations stopped in 1874. In 1895, German archaeologist Otto Benndorf resumed excavations at Ephesus. In 1898, he founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which plays a leading role in Ephesus today. Finds from the site are exhibited in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in nearby Selçuk, and the British Museum. In 2015, Ephesus was declared a World Heritage Site. It is a popular tourist attraction in the area.


Epidauros was a city in what is now modern day Greece. It formed a small territory called Epidauria. It was reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son, Asclepius the healer. The sanctuary was situated about five miles (8 km) from the town. Also present was a theatre. The cult of Asclepius at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC. The asclepeion at Epidauros was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, a place where the sick went in the hopes of being cured. To find out the right cure for their ailments, they spent a night in the enkoimeteria, a big sleeping hall. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health. The fame and prosperity of Epidauros continued throughout the Hellenistic period. In 87 BC, the sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla, and in 67 BC, it was plundered by pirates. In the 2nd century AD, the sanctuary enjoyed a new upsurge under the Romans, but the Goths raided it in 395 AD. Even after the introduction of Christianity and the silencing of the oracles, the sanctuary at Epidauros was still known as late as the mid-5th century, but as a Christian healing center. Now in ruins, Epidauros became a World Heritage site in 1988. Tourists still visit the site, especially its well preserved theatre.


Miletus was a city located in southwestern Anatolia (present-day Turkey). The site of the city was originally inhabited by a Neolithic population in the period 3500-3000 BC. Miletus was first mentioned in the records of the Hittite Empire and the Mycenaean records of Pylos and Knossos, during the Late Bronze Age. Starting around 1900 BC, Minoan trade goods arrived at Miletus. There was legend claiming the city’s foundation by the Cretans, as recounted by Strabo. Miletus was a Mycenaean stronghold from ca. 1450 to 1100 BC. In c. 1320 BC, the city supported an anti-Hittite rebellion in nearby Arzawa. Hittite king Mursili ordered his generals to raid Millawanda (as Miletus was called at the time), and they proceeded to burn parts of it. During the collapse of Bronze Age civilization, Miletus was burnt again. Myths tell of Ionians killing the men of Miletus and marrying their widows, beginning an enduring alliance between Athens and Miletus. It ended up as one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor. Miletus is also known to have ties with Megara. In the late 7th century BC, the tyrant Thrasybulus preserved the independence of Miletus during a 12-year war fought against Lydia. The city was an important center of philosophy and science, producing men like Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. By the 6th century BC, Miletus had a maritime empire with colonies. It fell under Persian rule after Cyrus defeated Croesus of Lydia in the middle of the 6th century BC. In 499 BC, Milesian tyrant Aristagoras led the Ionian revolt against the Persians. It was quashed and Miletus was punished by Persia. The women and children were sold into slavery, and the men were either killed or turned into eunuchs. The intent was to make sure no Milesians were ever born again. In 334 BC, the city was liberated from Persian rule by Alexander the Great. During the Hellenistic period, Miletus reached its greatest extent. The city was mentioned in the New Testament as the site where the Apostle Paul met with the elders of the church of Ephesus, near the end of his third missionary journey in 57 AD. It seems like Paul made another visit to Miletus, perhaps as late as 65 or 66 AD. During the Byzantine period, the see of Miletus was raised to an archbishopric and later a metropolitan bishopric. A small castle was built on the hill next to the city. Seljuk Turks conquered the city during the 14th century, using it as a port for trade with Venice. As the harbor became silted up, Miletus was abandoned. The ruins of the city now lie some 10 km (6.2mi) from the sea. The first archaeological excavations at the site were conducted in 1873, and still continue today. The Market Gate of Miletus was transported piece by piece to Germany, currently residing at the Pergamon museum in Berlin. The main collection of artifacts from the site are in the Miletus Museum in Didim, Turkey.


Olympia was a city located in the Northwestern Peloponnese peninsula of present-day Greece. Remains of food and burnt offerings dating back to the 10th century BC give evidence of a long history of religious activity at the site. No buildings survived from this early period. The first Olympic festival was organized on the site by the authorities of Elis in the 8th century BC, with tradition dating the first games at 776 BC. Major changes were made to the site around 700 BC, including the levelling of land and the digging of new wells. Elis’ power diminished and at the beginning of the 7th century BC, the sanctuary went into the hands of the Pisatans in 676 BC. They organized the games until the late 7th century BC. The earliest evidence of building activity on the site dates from around 600 BC. The Skiloudians, allies of the Pisatans, built the Temple of Hera. The Treasuries and the Pelopion were built during the course of the 6th century BC. Secular structures and athletic arenas were also under construction during this period, including the Bouleuterion. The first stadium was constructed around 560 BC, consisting of just a simple track. It was remodeled around 500 BC with sloping sides for spectators and shifted slightly to the east. Over the course of the 6th century BC, a range of sporting events were added to the Olympic festival. In 580 BC, Elis, in an alliance with Sparta, occupied Pisa and regained control over the sanctuary.

The Classical period, between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, was the golden age of Olympia. A wide range of new religious and secular buildings and structures were constructed. The Temple of Zeus was built in the middle of the 5th century BC. Its size, scale and ornamentation was beyond anything previously constructed on the site. Its golden statue of Zeus was considered one of the seven wonders of the world by ancient writers. Sporting facilities, like the final iteration of the stadium, and the hippodrome were constructed. The Prytaneion was built at the northwest side of the site in 470 BC. In the late classical period, more structures were added to the site. The Metroon was built near the Treasuries circa 400 BC. The erection of the Echo Stoa, around 350 BC, separated off the sanctuary from the area of the games and stadium. The South Stoa was built at the southern edge of the sanctuary at approximately the same time. The late 4th century BC witnessed the erection of the Philippeion. Around 300 BC, the largest building on the site, the Leonidaion, was constructed to house important visitors. With the increasing importance of the games, further athletic buildings were constructed, including the Palaestra (3rd century BC), Gymnasion (2nd century BC), and bath houses (c.300 BC).

During the Roman period, the Olympic games were opened up to all citizens of the Roman Empire. A program of new buildings and extensive repairs, especially for the Temple of Zeus, took place. In 150 AD, the Nympheum was built. New baths replaced the older Greek ones in 100 AD, and an aqueduct were erected in 160 AD. The 3rd century saw the site suffer heavy damage from a series of earthquakes. Invading tribes in 267 AD led to the center of the site being fortified with robbed material from its monuments. The Olympic festival continued to be held at the site until the last Olympiad in 393 AD, after which the Christian emperor Theodosius I implemented a ban. The Temple of Zeus was apparently destroyed around 426 AD following an edict by Theodosius II enforcing the ban on pagan festivals. The workshop of Pheidias was turned into a basilica and the site was inhabited by a Christian community. Archaeological evidence suggests that small scale Olympic events (possibly in Christian guise) were still being held secretly until Justinian’s plague and two earthquakes devastated it by the mid-6th century. Repeated floods ensured that the settlement was finally abandoned in the early 7th century. The site was buried by ocean waters resulting from repeated tsunamis. Researchers figured this out due to the presence of mollusk, gastropod shells, and foraminifera at the site. The exact site was re-discovered in 1766 by the English antiquarian Richard Chandler. The first excavation of the sanctuary at Olympia was not carried out until 1829, by a French expedition. Since the 1870s, the excavation and preservation of Ancient Olympia has been the responsibility of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens. The site was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1989. The legacy of the Olympic games lives on today.


Rodos is a city located on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea. The city of Rodos was formed by the cities of Ialyssos, Kamiros and Lindos in 408 BC, and prospered for three centuries during its Golden Age, when sea trade, skilled shipbuilders, and open-minded politicians of the city kept it prosperous until Roman times. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was built by the Lindian sculptor Chares between 304 and 293 BC, which took 12 years and was completed in 282 BC. The statue represented their sun god Helios, which stood at the harbor entrance. The ancient city had a well-constructed sewage system as well as a water supply network as designed by Hippodamus. A strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 BC, badly damaging the city and toppling the Colossus. In 164 BC, Rodos came under Roman control. It was able to keep its beauty and develop into a leading center of learning for arts and science. The Romans took from the Rhodians their maritime law and applied it to their shipping. Many traces of the Roman period still exist throughout the city and give an insight into the level of civilization at the time. According to Acts 21:1, the Apostle Paul stopped at Rodos near the end of his third missionary journey. In medieval times, Rodos was an important Byzantine trading post, as also a crossroads for ships sailing between Constantinople and Alexandria. In the early years of the divided Roman Empire, the Isaurians, a mountain tribe from Cilicia, invaded the island and burned the city. In the 7th century AD it was captured by the Arabs. The latter were the ones who removed the scattered pieces of the Colossus from the port and moved them to Syria where they destroyed them to make coins. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the native noble Leo Gabalas took control of the island, but after his death and succession by his brother John, the island was briefly occupied by the Genoese before being returned to the Emperor of Nicaea, though ushering in a new, but short-lived, Byzantine period. The Knights Hospitallers captured and established their headquarters on Rodos when they left Cyprus after the persecution of the Knights Templar in 1307. Pope Clement V confirmed the Hospitallers possession of the Island in 1309. The Knights remained on the Island for the next two centuries. In 1444, the Mamluk fleet of Egypt laid a siege to Rodos, but the Knights aided by the Burgundian naval commander Geoffroy de Thoisy beat off the Muslim attack. After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire began a rapid expansion and in 1480 Sultan Mehmet launched an invasion of Rodos commanded by Mesic Pasha. The defenders repelled Turkish attacks from both landward and seaward sides and the invaders left the Island in defeat. The defeat halted a concurrent invasion of the Italian peninsula by Ottoman forces and prevented possible Muslim incursion and control of Western Europe. After the Ottoman defeat in 1480 the Knights Grand Master, Pierre d'Aubusson, oversaw the strengthening of the cities over the next few decades. By the time of his death in 1521, Rodos possessed the strongest fortifications of any Christian Bastion in the World. The Knights continued naval attacks launched from Rhodes on Muslim merchants until 1522 when the newly enthroned Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent led a second Siege of Rhodes in 1522. The vastly outnumbered Knights made a spirited defense of the city and inflicted heavy casualties upon the Ottoman besiegers. In December 1522 the Knights and Suleiman came to terms and the Knights were allowed to leave the city with all the wealth they could carry, in return there would be no retribution upon the inhabitants of the city and they would be allowed to continue to freely practice Christianity. On January 1, 1523 the Knights departed from the island, leaving it to Ottoman control. In the Ottoman era, new buildings were constructed: mosques, public baths and mansions for the new patrons. The Greeks were forced to abandon the fortified city and move to new suburbs outside its walls. The city maintained its main economic function as a market for the agricultural products of the interior of the island and the surrounding small islands. After the establishment of their sovereignty on the island, the Ottoman Turks converted most of the churches into mosques and transformed the major houses into private mansions or public buildings. This transformation was a long-term process that aimed to adapt the buildings to the Ottoman way of living. The Knights period façades with their sculptured decorations, the arched gates and hewn stone walls were enriched with the random character of the Ottoman architecture adapted to the local climate and culture. In this process most of the architectural features of the existing buildings were preserved. The most characteristic additions were the baths (usually in the back of the buildings) and the enclosed wooden balconies on the façades over the narrow streets. In this way most of the buildings of the Hospitaliers' period in the Medieval Town were well preserved. The result was a mixture of oriental architecture with imposing western architectural remains and more recent buildings, which were characteristic of the local architecture of the time. In the 19th century, the city was the capital of the Eyalet of the Archipelago, but the decline of the Ottoman Empire resulted in the general neglect of the town and its buildings, which further deteriorated due to the strong earthquakes that often plague the area. In 1912 Italian troops took the island over with the rest of the Dodecanese Islands, and established an Italian possession known as Italian Islands of the Aegean in 1923. The father of Italian Rhodes can be considered the Italian architect Florestano Di Fausto. He, in agreement with governor Mario Lago, was author of the city plan of 1923, choosing to respect almost totally the walled town, only demolishing the houses that were built on and around the city walls during the Ottoman era. He also turned the Jewish and Ottoman cemeteries into a green zone surrounding the Medieval Town. At the same time, he designed the new Italian Rodos in the zone of the Mandraki, planning a Garden City, and building along the main sea promenade the main edifices, as the Market, the Cathedral of Saint John of the Knights, the Palace of the governor. All these building were designed in an eclectic style, mixing Ottoman, Venetian, Renaissance and local elements. The Italians preserved what was left from the Knights' period, and destroyed all Ottoman buildings. They also reconstructed the Grand Master's Palace. Furthermore, an Institute for the study of the History and Culture of the region was established, and major infrastructure work was done to modernize Rodos. The British bombs that fell on the medieval city of Rodos in 1944 claimed human lives and destroyed a great number of buildings, leaving large gaps in the urban tissue. One of the first Decrees of the Greek administration designated those areas as reserved for future excavations and a number of edifices as safeguarded buildings. In July 1944 the Nazis ordered the deportation of over 1,600 Jews of Rodos including men, women, and children of which 1,200 were murdered at Auschwitz. In 1957, a new city plan was approved by a Decree and in 1960 the entire medieval town was designated as a protected monument by the Ministry of Culture. In 1961 and 1963 new Decrees were issued concerning the new city plan. They provided for the widening of existing streets and the opening of new ones. These were not implemented in the old city due to the resistance of the Archaeological Service. In 1988, the old town of Rodos was designated as a World Heritage City by UNESCO.


Thebai was an ancient Greek city-state located in Boeotia, now central Greece. Many legends about the early days of Thebai were told among the Greeks. The foundation of the citadel Cadmeia was attributed to Cadmus, a Phoenician king from Tyre and the brother of Europa. Another famous mythical figure associated with Thebai is Oedipus, who murdered his father Laius and married his mother Jocasta. Excavations in Thebai have revealed graves dating to Mycenaean times containing weapons, ivory, and tablets written in Linear B. From the early days of its existence, the Thebans endeavored to establish a complete supremacy over their kinsmen in the outlying towns. In the late 6th century BC, the Thebans were brought for the first time into hostile contact with the Athenians, who helped the small village of Plataea to maintain its independence against them, and in 506 BC repelled an inroad into Attica. This enmity with Athens explains the unpatriotic attitude of Thebai during the Persian invasion of Greece (480-479 BC). Although a contingent of 400 was sent to Thermopylae and remained there with Leonidas before being defeated alongside the Spartans, the governing aristocracy soon after joined King Xerxes I of Persia and fought zealously on his behalf at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC. The victorious Greeks subsequently punished Thebai by depriving it of the presidency of the Boeotian league. An attempt by the Spartans to expel the city-state from the Delphic amphictyony was only frustrated by the intercession of Athens. In 457 BC, Sparta, needing a counterpoise against Athens in central Greece, reversed its policy and reinstated Thebai as the dominant power in Boeotia. In the Peloponnesian War, the Thebans, embittered by the support that Athens gave to the smaller Boeotian towns (especially Plataea), were firm allies of Sparta. They destroyed Plataea in 427 BC. In 424 BC, the Thebans inflicted a severe defeat on an invading force of Athenians at the Battle of Delium.

After the downfall of Athens, the Thebans, having learned that Sparta intended to protect the states that Thebes desired to annex, broke off the alliance. In 403 BC, Thebai secretly supported the restoration of Athens’s democracy in order to find in it a counterpoise against Sparta. A few years later, they formed the nucleus of the league against Sparta. At the Battle of Haliartus (395 BC) and the Battle of Coronea (394BC), the Thebans proved their rising military capacity by standing their ground against the Spartans. The result of the war was disastrous to Thebai, as the general settlement of 387 BC stipulated the complete autonomy of all Greek towns and so withdrew the other Boeotians from its political control. In 382 BC, a Spartan force occupied the citadel. It was expelled three years later, and a democratic constitution was set up in place of the traditional oligarchy. In the consequent wars with Sparta, the Theban army, trained and led by Epaminondas and Pelopidas, proved itself formidable. In 371 BC, the Thebans won a victory over the Spartans at Leuctra. They marched into the Peloponnesus and at the head of a large coalition, permanently crippled the power of Sparta. With the death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC), the city sank again to the position of a secondary power. It invited Philip II of Macedon to crush the Phocians. In 338 BC, the orator Demosthenes persuaded Thebai to join Athens in a final attempt to bar Philip’s advance on Attica. They lost at the battle of Chaeronea. An unsuccessful revolt in 335 BC against his son Alexander the Great was punished with the destruction of the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar and the temples. The Thebans were mainly sold into slavery, with only the priests, leaders of the pro-Macedonian party and descendants of Pindar spared.

Thebes was re-established in 315 or 316 BC by Cassander. However, it never returned to its former prominence or power. It was besieged and taken by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 293 BC and again after a revolt in 292 BC. The city recovered its autonomy from Demetrios in 287 BC, and became allied with Lysimachus and the Aetolian League. During the early Byzantine period, it served as a place of refuge against foreign invaders. From the 10th century, Thebai became a center of the new silk trade. By the middle of the 12th century, the city had become the biggest producer of silks in the entire Byzantine empire. Though severely plundered by the Normans in 1146, Thebai quickly recovered its prosperity until its conquest by the Latins of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. After 1240, the Saint Omer family controlled the city jointly with the de la Roche dukes. Latin hegemony in Thebai lasted to 1458, when the Ottomans captured it. It was under Ottoman control until the War of Independence, except for a brief Venetian occupation between 1687 and 1699. The present day Thebai is a bustling market town. Its proximity to other, more famous travel destinations and the undeveloped archaeological sites have kept the tourist numbers low.