Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece” as Want to Read:
Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Continuously inhabited for five millennia, and at one point the most powerful city in Ancient Greece, Thebes has been overshadowed by its better-known rivals, Athens and Sparta.
According to myth, the city was founded when Kadmos sowed dragon’s teeth into the ground and warriors sprang forth, ready not only to build the fledgling city but to defend it from all-comers. It w
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 28th 2020 by Picador; Main Market edition
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Thebes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Thebes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  48 ratings  ·  16 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride... until now.

Thebes is the much neglected third in the Athens, Sparta, Thebes trio, critical to Ancient Greek politics and culture, but rarely taking centre stage, save perhaps in its role in Greek Tragedy. That's certainly where I first came to Thebes, with Oedipus and Antigone as my guides. Here Cartledge builds those foundations to offer a thorough exploration of the Thebes' history, despite the limitations of the Theban historical record. I don't know nearl
Stephanie (Bookfever)
First of all, wow… I read this book in only three days which is pretty damn for me with a 320 page nonfiction about ancient Greece. Sure, it isn’t the longest book I’ve ever read but the topic is a rather heavy and complex one so finishing it this fast actually surprised me.

Paul Cartledge covers a lot of ground with this latest new book of his. From pre-history to classical Thebes (don’t confuse it with the Egyptian city of the same name) to the downfall and a lot more in between and after. I di
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Why waste your time with euphoric fedora wearing Athens (virgin) or edgy spiked collar Sparta (also virgin) when you can ride the homo rainbow to Chad Thebes?
Veronica Marshall
Thebes By Paul Cartledge gets three stars because it will go on to a deep detailed explanation great right? Then it will say we will put this on pause and come back to this another time. It jumps around a lot back and forth alot which can get quite confusing to the reader at least me. I'm a huge fan of greek and roman history and myths and comparatives so that's why it gets still a good rating. ( actually it would be 3.5) Since I don't mind the academic feeling of books. This arc was given to me ...more
I received an ARC in a goodreads giveaway. This was a well researched book on a location in Greece of both historical and mythological significance: Thebes. For a small book it’s packed full of details. I don’t have much knowledge of this location or time period and couldn’t help but think I might have gotten more out of the book if I had. It didn’t read like a book for a general audience, but instead an academic one already at least somewhat versed in history. Though in general an interesting t ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I don't know a lot about ancient Greece, but I'm always interested in dipping my toes into new areas so I can learn it. This book provides a great overview of Thebes, from general history and important points to religious beliefs and practices to politics and so on. Personally, I found it a bit dry at points but I did enjoy it. It's pretty short, so I doubt it covers everything and doesn't go into the depth it might have on cer
If you are anything like me, your last lectures on Ancient Greece occurred many years ago, focused on Athens and Sparta, and have dissolved into a bit of a fog. My knowledge of the city of Thebes was limited to references in Disney’s Hercules. But I’m always on the lookout for new information, so this book covering the rise and fall of historical Thebes, as well as Thebes of myth, sounded promising. I was expecting a work along the lines of Mary Beard’s SPQR: decidedly grounded in academic fact, ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history

Despite the handicap of this being an uncorrected proof and not for sale (but can I send it to my grandson who is studying history at NYC?), I enjoyed most of this book and learned a lot which was my purpose in submitting my name to Goodread's Giveaways.

Some 30 years ago, I traveled through Greece by a small tour group. Our guide regaled us with tales of the ancient Greeks and their gods, so I traveled through many of these shrines and much of the area covered in this book. But I must agree, th
Thebes is often overlooked by books on Ancient Greece, in favor of Athens and Sparta so I was thrilled to see a book dedicated to this often ignored area.

This is a fantastic book with a lot of information, starting with pre-history, to Thebes as we know it and moving through it's downfall with lots of great detail of everything in between. The middle of the book includes a lot of information on wars in the region which I highly enjoyed, as a fan of military history. Mr. Cartledge also injects hi
Michael Cayley
Nov 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An uneven book. It is a blend of an account of Thebes in myth and literature and of history. For me that mix did not work. I would have preferred a book that was essentially focused on history. Descriptions of the plots of Athenian tragedies, for instance, seemed like padding.

The history is presented in a somewhat confusing way. There is a certain amount of darting back and forth in time. There is an irritating degree of repetition. Some terms which will be unfamiliar to many readers are not exp
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway***

What did I know about Thebes prior to reading this book? It was Greek. Antigone was set there. It was kind of a big deal, but not as big as Sparta or Athens...maybe?

What do I know after reading this book? A whole heckofalot more than that. This book could be used as a textbook for an undergraduate course in the amount of historical data presented. Fortunately, it reads much easier than virtually all undergraduate history textbooks I've encountered. I
Mr Rick Forncett
Thebes was the third city state of Classical Greece and has been rather neglected in comparison with its more glamorous rivals of Athens and Sparta.
Thebes seems to have been largely disregarded by modern writers, partly due to a lack of historical evidence and also perhaps because of the reputation of ancient Thebans as somewhat unsophisticated thugs.
In this book Paul Cartledge has attempted to right the balance and give Thebes the credit that it is due. He believes that we should consider Theb
Janie Anderson
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
# Thebes: The forgotten City of Ancient Greece by author # Paul Cartledge is a wonderful history. Thebes overshadowed by rivals, at one point was the most powerful city in Ancient Greece. And this novel gives the city long lost credit.🌟🐾
Thank you,
#Netgalley, # Paul Cartledge, and # Abrams Press for the advanced copy
* Good gift for those in School along with history lovers with the holidays approaching.🎁
Jim Bogue
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prof. Cartledge is one of the great authorities on Classical Greek history, and he does the best he can with Thebes. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to conclude that there just isn’t enough material to justify a long book.
The fillers are intriguing: legend, how others saw Thebes, archaeology, modern views. But the meat of the book is too thin: we just don’t know a lot about Thebes from 500-338.
It’s very good for what it does.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Paul Cartledge has written a textbook account of Thebes. As a matter of fact, he has written over twenty books on and around the subject. This man knows ancient Greece.
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allows the reader better insight into ancient Greece. Interesting read.
Jamie Grecco
rated it it was amazing
Oct 21, 2020
Sian (sianslibrary)
rated it liked it
Sep 21, 2020
Linda Luduena
rated it really liked it
Nov 14, 2020
susan cr cunningham
rated it liked it
Nov 03, 2020
rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2020
rated it liked it
Nov 15, 2020
Don Rietz
rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2020
Edward V. McCann
rated it liked it
Oct 17, 2020
rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2020
Valerie Fazio
rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2020
Nathan Zatolokin
rated it really liked it
Nov 14, 2020
Måns Sunesson
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2020
Michael Burnett
rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2020
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe
  • Tarr
  • Apologia Pro Vita Sua (A Defense of One's Life)
  • Life and Fate
  • Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine
  • Mansfield Park
  • Opium and Absinthe
  • The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves, #2)
  • The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë
  • De meeste mensen deugen
  • Heartless
  • Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths
  • The Gates of Athens (Athenian #1)
  • Small Island
  • The Woman In the Painting
  • Strange Ways
  • The Last Resort
  • The Constant Rabbit
See similar books…
Paul Anthony Cartledge is the 1st A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, having previously held a personal chair in Greek History at Cambridge. He was educated at St Paul's School & New College, Oxford where he took his 1st degree & completed his doctoral thesis in Spartan archaeology in 1975 under Prof. Sir John Boardman. After a period at the University of Warwick he ...more

Related Articles

There is nothing like reading a history or biography book and being so completely transported to another time and place that you find...
66 likes · 25 comments