Thebe Visits Pelopidas in Prison. A.M. 3640

WAG 7709


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. Pelopidas (about 410 - 364 BCE) was a general and leader of Thebes. He was taken prisoner by Alexander of Pherae, Thessaly, in 368 BCE, during a campaign in Thessaly. Alexander was a cruel and tyrannical ruler. While imprisoned, Pelopidas was visited by and sympathised with Alexander's wife, Thebe, who was also oppressed by the tyrant. Able to speak openly to Pelopidas about her husband, Thebe continued her visits and the two formed a bond. Eventually, and in part due to her visits with Pelopidas, Thebe's fear transformed into wrath and, assisted by her three brothers, she murdered Alexander.