Barker, Elton T. E., and Joel P. Christensen. 2019. Homer's Thebes: Epic Rivalries and the Appropriation of Mythical Pasts. Hellenic Studies Series 84. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_BarkerE_ChristensenJ.Homers_Thebes.2019.
6. Beyond Thebes
τοὺς μὲν ὑφ’ ἑπταπύλῳ Θήβῃ, Καδμηίδι γαίῃ,
ὤλεσε μαρναμένους μήλων ἕνεκ’ Οἰδιπόδαο,
τοὺς δὲ καὶ ἐν νήεσσιν ὑπὲρ μέγα λαῖτμα θαλάσσης
ἐς Τροίην ἀγαγὼν Ἑλένης ἕνεκ’ ἠυκόμοιο.
Evil war and dread battle destroyed them,
some at seven-gated Thebes in the land of Cadmus,
when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus,
and others when it had led them in their ships over the great deep sea
to Troy for lovely-haired Helen.
In addition to the pairing of Troy and Thebes together (τοὺς μέν and τοὺς δέ), the repetition of the casus belli in the genitive (μήλων ἕνεκ’ Οἰδιπόδαο; Ἑλένης ἕνεκ’ ἠυκόμοιο) and the chiastic order (Thebes – men who died there – others – Troy) suggest a careful structuring of the material that repays closer attention. It may be argued that the ordering of Thebes first, then Troy, points to the prioritization of the former tradition, a result, perhaps, of the Boiotian perspective afforded by Hesiod’s poem.  Alternatively, the pairing could be a manifestation of what we observed in Chapter 4: that is, Fenik’s “anticipatory doublet,” where a pattern is introduced and then repeated in expanded form to signal the greater importance of the second element.  In this interpretation Troy is offered as the same kind of event as Thebes, but arguably greater in magnitude, requiring ships and a journey overseas. Or to put that differently, Thebes is not (epic) enough to wipe out the race of heroes; the conflagration at Troy is needed to finish the job.  Similarly, while the mention of “the flocks of Oedipus” might be suggestive of sub-heroic conflicts of the kind Nestor recalls in Homer, the reference to Helen—daughter of Zeus, the most beautiful woman in the world—opens up any number of grand cosmic narratives, including the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women.  The pull of Troy, even here, seems greater.
The Boiotian Hesiod
Only after pushing envy away with both hands
if some mortal man fares well.
The Boiotian man says these things,
Hesiod, servant of the sweet Muses:
Whichever man the gods honor,
Mortal fame will follow.
While the Homeric poetry of the Trojan War narrative is often suggested to have its epichoric  origins in Ionian Asia Minor,  Hesiod’s poetry is in part both linguistically and self-consciously Boiotian in character. He is, as Bacchylides names him, the “Boiotian Man.”  His poetry seems to valorize local traditions and assert Boiotian identity.  In spite of the anonymizing character and effect of Panhellenism, “Hesiod” retains something of a local, Boiotian character in contrast to the Ionian and more broadly international “Homer.” 
Ἄρνη τ’ ἠδ’ Ἑλίκη Ἄνθειά τε ποιήεσσα
φωνῇ ὑπ’ ἀμφοτέρων μεγάλ’ ἴαχον· οἳ δ’ ἀλαλητῷ
θεσπεσίῳ σύνισαν· μέγα δ’ ἔκτυπε μητίετα Ζεύς,
The entire city of the Myrmidons and famous Iaôlkos,
Arnê, and Helikê, and grassy Antheia,
Rang with both of their voices. Then they rushed ahead
With divine roaring. And Zeus, the counselor, thundered greatly.
These cities each tell different stories about the relationship between the tale of the Shield and the cultural position of Thebes. Arnê, Helikê, and Antheia are Boiotian cities, the first of which is listed in the Iliad’s catalogue of ships; Iaôlkos and Phthia (the “entire city of the Myrmidons”) are cities in southern Thessaly. The connection of these cities with Thebes might seem fleeting, but it is likely evidence of a Panboiotian version of Panhellenism. Phthia was, of course, famous as the home of Achilles—the home that he imagines going back to in Iliad 9 and where he reflects that his father will live out his dying days alone (now that his son is condemned to die at Troy), surrounded by enemies, in Iliad 24. Two other fragments of the Ehoiai, however, provide more details about Phthia and specifically the reason behind its pairing here with Iaôlkos. These fragments (211 and 212b) depict Peleus coming to Phthia for his marriage to Thetis, “bringing many possessions from wide-wayed Iaôlkos” (πολλὰ] κ̣τήματ’ ἄγων ἐξ εὐρυχόρου Ἰαωλκοῦ, fr. 211.1; cf. fr. 212.9), whose city he has just sacked. Indeed, the “accomplishment of his charming marriage” is paired with his sack of Iaôlkos’ “well-founded city” (ὥς τε πό]λιν [ἀ]λάπαξεν ἐύκτιτον, ὥς τ’ ἐτέλεσσεν / ἱμερόεν]τ̣α̣ γ̣[ά]μον, fr. 211.4-5; cf. fr. 212.7). Both epithets recall Troy.  Moreover, if this association of marriage with the sack of a city encourages us to think of his (arguably more) famous city-sacking son, fragment 212 tantalizingly mentions the Skaian gates (again of Troy?) and something (the subject is unfortunately lost) “for men in the future to learn” ([ ]ε̣..θεν ἱ̣.[….].. Σκαιῆισι πύληισι [ / [ ]..ρω[…..κα]ὶ̣ ἐσσο̣μέ̣νοισι πυθ̣έ̣σθαι· [ , fr. 212.5-6). And, if we are thinking of Iaôlkos as some kind of substitute for Troy, it is all the more significant that the Shield pairs it with a Phthia that is conspicuously unnamed, but instead described periphrastically as the “entire city of the Myrmidons.” The poem’s hedging around Phthia’s name while recounting by name the other city of southern Thessaly reduces Achilles’ home city to a silent (or silenced) witness of Herakles’ actions, at the service of a Boiotian story.
οἵ ῥ’ ἐγγὺς ναῖον πόλιος κλειτοῦ βασιλῆος,
[Ἄνθην Μυρμιδόνων τε πόλιν κλειτήν τ’ Ἰαωλκὸν
Ἄρνην τ’ ἠδ’ Ἑλίκην· πολλὸς δ’ ἠγείρετο λαός,]
τιμῶντες Κήυκα, φίλον μακάρεσσι θεοῖσιν.
Kyknos, Kêyx and his boundless host buried,
They who live near the city of the famous king,
[In Anthê and the city of the Myrmidons, and famous Iaôlkos
And Arnê and Helikê. A great host gathered,]
Honoring Kêyx, dear to the blessed gods.
As is clear from the detailed story in Ovid (Metamorphoses 11.410–749), the ancient testimonia attributing a Wedding of Kêyx to Hesiod (see Most 2007:278–283), and several other fragments from the Ehoiai, Kêyx, the son of the Dawn-star, was an important figure in southern Thessalian myth, who was integrated into the stories of Boiotia in part through his guest-friendship with Herakles.  His traditional geographical association with Trachis further cements a connection between Boiotia and Thessaly. His position in the poem as one who accepts suppliants is crucial to the Theban narrative as well: Trachis is where either Herakles or his children go for shelter after he must leave Thebes.  In making this story of Kêyx about his wealth and magnanimity (and not his arrogance or tragic marriage, as the Hesiodic fragments do), the Shield departs again from the tone and focus of the catalogue tradition.
This fragment is revealing of differences among ancient traditions concerning what might be considered two of the key elements of the myth of Oedipus—his family and his death.  In a twist on the marriage theme, Oedipus enjoys no fewer than three wives. His third wife, “some people add,” turns out to be the sister of Oedipus’ mother (and therefore his aunt); he is a hero who seems peculiarly defined by his conjugal relations, especially incestuous relationships. It is the deaths of the first set of sons, however, that catch the eye. There is no mention here of the infamous pairing of Polyneikes and Eteocles; instead, Phrastôr and Laonytos are the doomed pair. Moreover, while their demise is appropriate for the theme of internecine strife that we have seen dominate Thebes, their deaths are ascribed to two new figures in the tradition, the Minyans and the hero Erginos.
Homer’s Boiotian Catalogue
Of dark-haired Thebe?
Local rivalries between a larger Boiotian identity and the city of Thebes, such as we have just seen played out both in Hesiod and in the mythical tradition of Erginos the hero of Orkhomenos, were likely constantly at play in the development of Panhellenic culture.  When it comes to understanding the development of the Iliad and the Odyssey, we can safely assume that part of the process of achieving their Panhellenic imprimatur depended upon their ability to respond to local traditions and integrate them into a cohesive whole that retained its appeal across diverse audiences. Engagement with—and often resistance to—Panhellenic narratives, which were sensed to eclipse or undermine local traditions, was an essential part of poetic rivalries in the late archaic age, especially in generic struggles between lyric and epic.  While we have received only the products of these competitions, and few examples at that, we can nevertheless observe some of the processes at work in the ways in which Boiotian elements are embedded within Homer.
Ἀρκεσίλαός τε Προθοήνωρ τε Κλονίος τε,
οἵ θʼ Ὑρίην ἐνέμοντο καὶ Αὐλίδα πετρήεσσαν
Σχοῖνόν τε Σκῶλόν τε πολύκνημόν τʼ Ἐτεωνόν,
Θέσπειαν Γραῖάν τε καὶ εὐρύχορον Μυκαλησσόν,
οἵ τʼ ἀμφʼ Ἅρμʼ ἐνέμοντο καὶ Εἰλέσιον καὶ Ἐρυθράς,
οἵ τʼ Ἐλεῶνʼ εἶχον ἠδʼ Ὕλην καὶ Πετεῶνα,
Ὠκαλέην Μεδεῶνά τʼ ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον,
Κώπας Εὔτρησίν τε πολυτρήρωνά τε Θίσβην,
οἵ τε Κορώνειαν καὶ ποιήενθʼ Ἁλίαρτον,
οἵ τε Πλάταιαν ἔχον ἠδʼ οἳ Γλισᾶντʼ ἐνέμοντο,
οἵ θʼ Ὑποθήβας εἶχον ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον,
Ὀγχηστόν θʼ ἱερὸν Ποσιδήϊον ἀγλαὸν ἄλσος,
οἵ τε πολυστάφυλον Ἄρνην ἔχον, οἵ τε Μίδειαν
Νῖσάν τε ζαθέην Ἀνθηδόνα τʼ ἐσχατόωσαν·
τῶν μὲν πεντήκοντα νέες κίον, ἐν δὲ ἑκάστῃ
κοῦροι Βοιωτῶν ἑκατὸν καὶ εἴκοσι βαῖνον.
Pêneleôs and Lêitos were leaders of the Boiotians
As well as Arkesilaos, Prothoênôr, and Klonios
And those who inhabit Hyriê and rocky Aulis,
Skoinos, Skôlos, and many-ridged Eteônos,
Thespeia, Greia, and wide-wayed Mykalêssos,
And those who dwell around Harma and Eilesion and Erythrai,
And those who hold Eleôn, Hylê, and Peteôn,
Ôkale, Medeôn, the well-built city,
Kôpai, Eutrêsis, and Thisbê with its many pigeons,
The people who live in Korôneia, and grassy Haliartos,
Along with those who holdlove Plataia, and inhabit Glisas,
And the people who keep Hypothebai, the well-built city
And holy Onkhêstos, the sacred grove of Poseidon,
And those who keep Arnê of many-grapes, and Mideia,
Holy Nisa, and Anthêdon, which is way out there.
Of these fifty ships came and in each came
One hundred and twenty Boiotian youths.
There are two striking absences in this catalogue, and they give further weight to the argument of this book. The first is notably Thebes itself. The absence of the city from the Boiotian catalogue is conspicuous, and not only because it is so pointedly hinted at in the toponym Hypothebai (“lower” Thebes). If plotted on a map, the places mentioned here form a circle emanating from a single, missing, focal point—Thebes.  It is as if the Iliad cannot bring itself to mention the other city, which for the purposes of this epic has been replaced by the Thebes on the Troad. Indeed, from the perspective of the Iliad, Thebes does not exist because it has already been sacked—destroyed, moreover, by members of this very expedition. In this way the Homeric Catalogue of ships, when it omits a Theban contingent, communicates a broader Panhellenic perspective by establishing a continuity with Hesiod’s sequential pairing of the destruction of Thebes and Troy.
τῶν ἦρχ’ Ἀσκάλαφος καὶ Ἰάλμενος υἷες Ἄρηος
οὓς τέκεν Ἀστυόχη δόμῳ Ἄκτορος Ἀζεΐδαο,
παρθένος αἰδοίη ὑπερώϊον εἰσαναβᾶσα
Ἄρηϊ κρατερῷ· ὃ δέ οἱ παρελέξατο λάθρῃ.
The men who inhabited Asplêdon and Minyan Orkhomenos
Askalaphos and Ialmenos the sons of Ares led.
Their mother, the reverent maiden Astyokhê, bore them in the home
Of Aktôr the son of Azeus, after ascending to the bed chamber
With powerful Ares—but he laid next to her in secret.
Rather than leaving Boeotia unrepresented, the Catalogue draws on extant local traditions by giving Orkhomenos prominence, singling it out from the other Boiotian communities, with no mention of the overlapping tales of conquest fought between Thebes and Orkhomenos. Moreover, her leaders are given a divine parentage with their own miniature heroic narrative. Missing, however, is the figure of Erginos, who appears to have been written out of the picture: in his place are the twin sons of Ares, Askalaphos and Ialmenos. In turn, their double parentage recalls the tradition of Herakles, though, in this case, not one but two sons are produced when a god lies in secret with a reverent maiden. Yet in the Iliad Ares is hardly the ideal father to have. And the deeds of these sons of Ares—just like those all of the other Theban captains—do not add up to much in the epic that follows.  The entire heroic tradition of Minyas is reduced to a simple epithet: Μινύειον. We are left with a dissonance between the emphasis placed on the numbers and genealogy of the Boiotians in the Catalogue and their actual presence in and impact on the rest of the poem.
Burying the Seven and Heroic Remains
Appropriating the Panhellenic traditions, which both Homeric and Hesiodic epic represented, by connecting them to local genealogies or attempting to rival their accounts, was a signal way for emerging poleis to establish their own prestige.  In his Life of Solon, for example, Plutarch famously provides an account of a debate over the use of Homer in a contemporary political dispute (10.2–3).  The verses in question relate to the presence of Ajax in the Catalogue of Ships, with the accusation being that Solon interpolated the line, “He brought and stationed his ships where the Athenians’ battle-lines were” (στῆσε δ’ ἄγων ἵν’ Ἀθηναίων ἵσταντο φάλαγγες, Iliad 2.558), following the mention of Ajax’s Salaminian contingent. By making this alleged interpolation, Solon was thought to be strengthening the Athenian claim to the island of Salamis, an action that Plutarch describes as “contesting the reputation of Homer” (συναγωνίσασθαι λέγουσι τὴν Ὁμήρου δόξαν). According to Strabo, the Megarians responded with their own lines from the catalogue, reflecting a tradition in which Ajax led an array of Megarian toponyms.  It is this type of competitive engagement that features in the passage cited above from Plutarch’s Theseus where Peisistratus is accused by Megarian historians of altering the texts of both Hesiod and Homer to control the perception of the local hero Theseus.  The Panhellenic authority of Homer and Hesiod did not stop such wrangling over the past; rather, they were a continual stimulus to local traditions to adopt and adapt the cultural koine. 
αἰνεῖν, φθόνον ἀμφ[οτέραι-]
[σιν] χερσὶν ἀπωσάμενον,
εἴ τις εὖ πράσσοι βροτῶ[ν.]
Βοιωτὸς ἀνὴρ τᾶδε φών[ησεν, γλυκειᾶν]
Μουσᾶν, ὃν <ἂν> ἀθάνατοι τι[μῶσι, τούτῳ]
καὶ βροτῶν φήμαν ἕπ[εσθαι.]