164 Route 7. THESPLE. From Livadia
The roofless Chapel of Hagios Elias, about a hundred yards to
the S., appears to be built of polygonal blocks from the enclosing
wall of the Altar of Zeus, mentioned by Hesiod at the beginning
of his 'Theogony'.
We now return to the plain at the foot of Helikon (see p. 163) and
descend thence in 20 min. to Hagios Nikolaos, a ruined and deserted
farm (metochi) belonging to the convent of Makariotissa nearDom-
braena (p. 161). The spring in the garden also claims to be the
ancient Aganippe (comp. p. 163). The only remains of antiquity
found here, however, are the fouT round columns supporting the
architrave of the chapel, and an inscription enumerating the victors
in the festivals of the Muses (MouoeTo). Thence beyond some hills
covered with myrtle, lentiscus, and other shrubs we regain the
direct road from Askra (p. 162) and follow it to (50 min.) Palaeo-
Panagid. The road thence to Eremokastro (3/4 hr.) passes the ruined
chapel oiHagios Georgios, erected on an ancient foundation opposite
the hamlet of Neochdri.
At Eremdkastro (about 1000 inhab.) accommodation and food
may be obtained from the keeper of the 'Museion'. The latter
chiefly contains inscriptions and has also a few good sepulchral
steles. A few traces of fortifications may be made out on the S.
edge of the hill on which the village stands, which stretches up to
the C/2 M-) Kaskaveli. Ulrichs regards these as the remains of the
ancient town of Keressos (comp. p. 163).
From the village an ancient containing-wall, hardly rising above
the surface of the earth, may be discerned in the plain beneath.
This marks the site of the famous Thespiae.
The effort to throw off the yoke of Thebes and to attain as great a
degree of independence as possible is the pervading principle in the
history of both Thespise and Plataea. Thespise was an ally of Thebes
before the Persian wars; but in these great struggles it espoused the
national cause, in opposition to Thebes, which favoured the Persians. At
the battle of Thermopylae Thespiae was represented by a contingent of
700 men under Demophilos, who remained true to Leonidas till death.
Xerxes, advancing after the battle towards Attica, burnt Thespiae, the in¬
habitants of which had retired to the Peloponnesus. Again at the Battle
of Salamis the Plateeans and Thespians were the only Boeotians whose
patriotism prevented them from joining the Persian monarch ; and 1800
Thespians took part in tbe Battle of Plataea. After the expulsion of the
Persians from the country the sorely-tried city was rebuilt with the aid
of its victorious confederates. At the Battle of Delion (B.C. 424) the town
lost the flower of its citizens; and thenceforward it found it difficult to
make head against the superior might of Thebes. During the war of B.C.
378-372 Thespiae long sided, with the Spartans, until it was compelled by
the Thebans to adopt the Boeotian cause. Epaminondas, however, clearly
perceived that he could not rely on the fidelity of the Thespian contingent,
and permitted it to withdraw. When the battle of Leuktra (p. 166)
resulted in favour of the Thebans the Thespians recognized their fate
and fled to the mountain fastness of Keressos (comp. above), where, how¬
ever, they were attacked and defeated. Once more rebuilt, Thespiae joined
the llomans in the Third Macedonian War (171-168 B.C.) and received
in consequence, after 146, a certain measure of independence. In the
middle ages all traces of its history are lost.