The ancient city of the Thespians left indelible marks on Boeotia. Its name comes from the son of mythic king Erechtheus or a nymph, and over the centuries it would make history from the Neolithic period to Byzantine times. The city, honouring Apollo Archegetes and Eros, flourished during the classical period as a member of the Boeotian koinon. Its presence on the political, artistic, and religious horizon grew stronger during this era, giving it control of the holy valley of the Muses and several Boeotian cities, such as Askra, Thisbe, and Leuctra, while also controlling three ports in the Corinthian Gulf (Siphai, Creusis, Corseae).

The Thespians succeeded in retaining their reputation until Roman times, a reputation that was to be confirmed much later by the finds at the excavations of the French School of Athens and P. Stamatakis.