In fact, I'd like to make a contribution to drawing more attention to the Thespian role at Thermopylae by giving the Thespians a higher profile in my biographical novel of Leonidas. (The first book in the three-part biography, Leonidas of Sparta: A Boy of the Agoge was released last year.) To do so, however, I need to know more about Thespia.
WIth this entry, therefore, I would like to appeal for assistance in finding out more about Thespia in the early 5th Century BC. Most important, does anyone know more about the Thespian constitution? How democratic was Thespia?
Does anyone know about it's alliance systems? It appears from Herodotus that Thespia was a located near to Thebes - near enough for the Thebans to view Thespia as within their "sphere of influence." But this clearly did not stop the Thespians from joining the anti-Persian alliance while Thebes "medized." Does anyone know a reason why Thespia should have been such a determined opponent of Persia? Was it to spite Thebes - or was there some other reason?
Herodotus also gives the adult male population of Thespia as 1,800 - after the loss of 700 men at Thermopylae. Could anyone give me a rough idea of how a city with 2,500 male citizens of fighting age would compare to other cities of the period (other than Sparta and Athens)? I.e. is Thespia roughly the same size as Plataea? Smaller? Larger? How would it have compared to Corinth or Thebes at this time?
In short, given my level of ignorance I would welcome any hints, tips, or suggested reading that would help me understand Thespia and its role in the war against Persia (490-479) better.