Boeotia, also spelled Beotia (pron.: /biːˈoʊʃiə/ or /biːˈoʊʃə/; Greek: Βοιωτία, Modern Greek: [vi.oˈti.a], Ancient Greek: [bojɔːtía]; modern transliteration Voiotía, also Viotía, formerly Cadmeis), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the largest city being Thebes.
Boeotia lies to the north of the eastern part of the Gulf of Corinth. It also has a short coastline on the Gulf of Euboea. It bordered on Megaris (now West Attica) in the south, Attica in the southeast, Chalcis (now part of the regional unit Euboea) in the northeast, Opuntian Locris (now part of Phthiotis) in the north and Phocis in the west.
The main mountain ranges of Boeotia are Mount Parnassus in the west, Mount Helicon in the southwest, Kithairon in the south and Parnitha in the east. Its longest river, the Cephissus (Kifisos), flows in the central part, where most of the low-lying areas of Boeotia are found. Lake Copais was a large lake in the center of Boeotia. It was drained in the 19th century. Lake Yliki is a large lake near Thebes.
Boeotia was one of the earliest inhabited regions in prehistoric Greece. Many Greek ancient legends, including a number related to the aboriginal population, originate in this region. The Muses of Mount Helicon, the myths of Oedipus and the sphinx, of Dionysos and Semele, of Amphion and Antiope, the myth of King Kadmus as bringer of the alphabet, the mythic king Ogyges related to the first mentioned great deluge, and many other legends became part of the Greek culture. The older myths took their final form during the Mycenean age (1600-1200 BC) when the Mycenean Greeks established themselves in Boeotia and the city of Thebes became an important centre. Many of these legends are related to the myths of Argos in southern Greece which is close to Mycenae, the most powerful Mycenean kingdom. Some of them indicate connections with Phoenicia, where the Mycenean Greeks and later the Euboean Greeks established trading posts.