Baltic’s Book: Zeus and Europa
How Balticos founded Thebes and rescued Europa
Led by words of an oracle, heroes followed a cow for a long time, until it finally decided to rest on a meadow, and Balticos with his friends were happy that their journey is at end. But this end was just a beginning of a new story.
Balticos looked around to find where to build houses and how he could best feed his people. His search revealed several large, fertile meadows in the area… the one in West was quite far from the wolf paths, so he decided to reserve it for sheep flocks. Wolves were quite frequent in the woods, it wouldn’t be too wise to rely on goats – and when one of his friends reminded him that Mt. Pelion is willing to buy surpluses of wheat, there was no doubt what will be the main food source of Thebes. Balticos ordered to build the city halfway between the western and northern meadow, so that both food and fleece are at hand. At first the city concentrated on survival, only necessary things were built: maintenance offices, infirmaries, some wheat farms and one carding shed. Already the first harvest brought in some wheat, but the food was stored first and distributed to people only in the next year. Agave, leader of Mt. Cithaeron, who disliked Balticos from their previous encounter, launched an invasion against newly founded city – Thebes didn’t have any defenses yet, but Balticos succeeded in bribing the rival army to leave.
Balticos soon realized that Thebes must attract more immigrants, and ordered to build another housing block to the East of the first one. As soon as the first food was distributed – in the original block only, there wasn’t enough food for everybody – everybody was granted access to gymnasiums, and the city started its own philosopher college. This costed some money, and as the fleece trade was just slowly starting, city got into debt. Calydonian allies helped readily with cash, and Argos sent some olive oil. Two years after the founding, city counted over 900 residents, and Balticos ordered a palace to be built – it was time to start collect taxes and build up city defenses. Money from export and taxes was used to make life in the city better; soon everybody could both exercise in a gymnasium or listen to philosophers speaking from podiums, and most people had the possibility to see the best classical plays in a theatre. All this paid off, because contestants from Thebes quite surprisingly won the Olympic games in this year – it is a big achievement if a city of precisely 1000 inhabitants wins the great Games! Everybody, allies and rivals alike, regarded Thebes and its leader Balticos more highly after such success. It was the first, but by no means last victory – throughout their history, competitors from Thebes have won many panhellenic games of all kinds and thus spread the glory of this city.