Myths and History

Viotia was always a very interesting area, with a lot of mythological and historical interest.

The nine Muses are the most known features related to the area. Although there are various opinions regarding the place of origin of the deities, however the point of view supporting their origin from Elikonas, has been prevailed. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnimosini. The Muses, as patronesses of the Arts, inspire artists. Every four years, the feasts “Mouseia” were organised in the valley of Muses, in Thespies.  During the feasts, poets, musicians and athletes participated to competitions such as:  in the trumpet, the epic poetry, the rhapsody, the guitar, the flute, the satyric poetry, hypocritical tragedy or comedy and awarded with a wreath of ivy or oleander.

According to the ancient Greeks, apart from the Muses, the Nymphs of Korykio, (daughters of the river Klistos and Korykia) lived also in Viotia (in the cave Korykio Antro in Arahova).The cave was also dedicated to God Panas, the son of Hermes, with the legs of goat, the dense hair and the horns on the head.
Parnassos was considered as the holy mountain of Apollo and Dionysus.  Parnassos is related also with Helinas, (the name of the founder of Greeks-Hellines), son of Defkalionas and Pira. Defkalionas and Pira with their ark, grounded at the higher top of Parnassos, after the eminent flood.

Viotia is related also to the famous hero of Greek mythology, Heracles. According to Hisiodos (Theogony, 530), Heracles was born in Thebes. In any case, the holy of Heracles was found in Thisvi, where the musical and athletic events "Heraklia" were organized.

Davlia is related to the myth of Tireas, who had a violent behaviour against his wife Prokni and against the sister of Prokni, Filomila. Gods transformed Tireas in a hoopoe, Prokni in a nightingale and Filomila in a swallow.
Finally Viotia is also related to: Kadmos, who founded the city Kadmia in the area of Thebes, to the diviner Tiresias, who forecasted the future, as well as to the gender of the Lavdakides (Laios, Oedipus, Antigoni, Ismene, Eteoklis and Polynikis) who suffered with a lot of misfortunes.

Historical events

The history of Viotia begins from the prehistoric period. According to the local traditions, Ogigos was the first king of Viotia. The fertile land of the area attracted various populations. (Ektines, Aones, Iantes, Minies, Kadmioi and Gefirei, lived there). In the later of the Mycenean period, the Boetians were installed and dominated in the area of Viotia, emanating from the area of Thessaly. The Boetians occupied the areas of Heronia, Orhomenos and Koronia, (where they founded the holy of Itonia Athena). A few years later they occupied Thebes and Plataies. Initially Viotia was a single state, but very fast it was split in small kingdoms, that were related in a form of a political and religious union, the Boetians’ Public. The Public constituted the oldest form of political union. It was founded at the beginning of the 7th century b.C. from the cities of Viotia, with leader the city of Thebes. Each city contributed to this federation with army and money. The cities - members had a common currency (from the beginning of the 6th century b.C.) and a elected leader for one year, called Viotarhis. The Boetians’ Public maintained up to the 3rd century a.C.

At the Persian wars many cities of Viotia collaborated with Persians, however the people of Plataies and Thespies were characterized for their philhellenic attitude. The people of Thespies participated to the battle of Thermopiles with the 300 of Leonidas. Plataies and Thespies were destroyed by the army of Xerxes because of their resistance against the Persians.

At the Peloponnesian war, the people of Viotia, with the exception of the people of Plataies and Thespies, fought on the side of the Lakedaemonians. After the end of the war, the big decline of Viotia began. Viotia was affected finally by the king of Macedonia, Philippos V', and his son, Alexandros. A bigger decline was occurred at the roman period.

Viotia was at the peak at the Byzantine period, (even if sometimes there were attacks from Avares, Slaves, Saracens and Bulgarians. The main factor of this peak was the growing of silkworms and the treatment of the silk. This growth has been stopped by the invasion of the Normands in 1147 a.C., when they transported the silk industry in Sicily and captured the specialised craftsmen of Viotia. After the first fall of Constantinople in 1204 a.C., Viotia and Attica were granted to Othonas Delaros, who founded the Duchy of Athens. Then, the area was conquered by the mercenary troops of Katalans and later, during the sovereignty of Navarres, followed the hegemony of Atsagjoli.

 In 1460 a.C., Viotia was annexed, by Mohammed B’, to the Ottoman Empire and remained under the Ottomans until the revolution of1821.
During the period of the Greek Revolution, Athanassios Diakos,  Odysseus Androutsos, Dimitrios Ypsiladis, Georgios Karahiskakis and other important chieftains acted in Viotia. Of course, the last battle of the Greeks against the Turks was held under the guidance of Dimitrios Ypsiladis in Petra of Aliartos in 1829. Big battles were also carried out in Davlia, Distomo, Arahova and   Domvrena. Viotia was one, from the first regions, that were included in the modern Greek state.
During the Balkan wars and the Asia Minor Campaign, the contribution of the people of Viotia, was very important. During the German Possession, the resistance of the population was very important. For their powerful resistance, the people suffered a lot with executions, murders of women and children, destructions of villages, with zenith, the Holocaust of Distomo on 10 June 1944, with 218 victims.


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© 2007 Epimelitirio Viotias