City in NW Boeotia located by the NW bay of Lake Copais, whose western basin it dominated. Rich in the Classical period, Orchomenus was famed as the city of the Graces (see charites), to whom a venerable sanctuary was dedicated. Notable also was the grave of Hesiod.
Rivalry between Orchomenus and Thebes for the hegemony of Boeotia became a constant factor throughout the Classical period. That tension notwithstanding, Orchomenus had joined the Boeotian Confederacy by the time of Xerxes' invasion (see persian wars), when it Medized (see medism). Upon the re‐establishment of the Boeotian Confederacy, Orchomenus possessed two units within it. During the Pentekontaetia Athens overran Boeotia after the battle of Oenophyta in 457, after which Orchomenus formed the principal base for the liberation of the region. Joining with other Boeotians, Orchomenus defeated Tolmides at Coronea in 447. In the new confederacy that was created in the wake of victory, Orchomenus maintained its position. At the battle of Delion in 424 Orchomenians held a position on the left wing, but about this time the city lost control of Chaeronea, which weakened its position within the confederacy.
Subjects: Architecture — Classical Studies.