their structures and characters


Merida's street names

Venice as maze

Antananarivo's thousand villages

Istanbul and the City of the blind

Seven-Gated Thebes

Four-Gated Thebes

Hundred-Gated Thebes

Aswan at cusps of earth and sky

Bivalve Dubrovnik

Atrani between headlands

Three-bayed Watamu

Deep-Moroccan Marrakesh

There will be more.


Guy Ottewell

Four-Gated Thebes

A lesser Thebes or Thebe (Thębai, or more often in the singular form Thębę) was in Asia. It lay in the plain at the head of the gulf of Adramyttium, the inlet that forms the southern bound to the Troad, or region dominated by Troy. It was presumably smaller than great Thebes in Greece, but was the chief place of its district. The people living along this coast at the time of the Greek war against Troy were called Cilicians (Kilikes). They were allies of Troy, and Andromache princess of Thebe was married to Hector prince of Troy. Just before the action of the Iliad opens, Achilles has led a destructive raid against Troy's allies, sacking the Cilician towns, killing Andromache's parents and brothers, and carrying off captives, among them the two women, Chryseis and Briseis, who become the cause of the quarrel between Achilles and his commander-in-chief Agamemnon.
        Not much more is known of this Thebes, and I don't really know how many gates it had — I merely imagine one west toward the coast along the gulf, one to the south, one inland, and one toward the forested slopes on the north. The nearest peak was called Placus, and so this Thebes was known as Hypoplacian Thebes, “under Placus.” But Placus was a mere foothill of the great range whose snowy summit was Mount Ida.
        And in later historical times the name “Cilicia” applied to a far other region, the southeastern coast of Anatolia (where Turkey and Syria now meet). It seems that the Cilicians, like so many people involved in the catastrophe of Troy, wandered away and found a new home elsewhere.