The city of Thebes was the chief beneficiary of the ongoing attrition between the Athenians and the Spartans. It is a city deep in myth. ‘Thebes’ examines the significance of the town. For some decades in the fourth century bce, Thebes was the single most powerful city in mainland Greece and an immense force of political transformation. The innovations of the Thebans were not just confined to the political sphere. At one point in the fourth century bce, Athens and Sparta felt obliged to ally with each other to meet the mutual Theban threat, but to no military avail.