Cattle Lands . A region in central Greece bordering on Attica, Boeotia was named after its large cattle pastures. The area consisted of the two plains of Orchomenos and Thebes, both of which were good wheat land. In the second half of the sixth century, a Boeotian League of many small towns came into being and issued a common coinage. In the Classical Period (480-323 b.c.e.) the number of cities and towns had shrunk to about a dozen, controlled in varying degrees by the largest city, Thebes.
War Prosperity. On the whole the Boeotians were a self-contained agricultural people who did not share the overseas expansion of Greece. Boeotian farms were prosperous, and the land was regarded as rich. The Boeotians profited from the economic difficulties of Athens, their neighbor to the southeast, during the Second Peloponnesian War (431-404 b.c.e.), when the Spartans occupied the Attic plain, making it possible for Athenian slaves to desert to Boeotia. The Boeotians made money by selling the slaves; they also made inroads into Attica, capturing quantities of military equipment and looting the estates of the wealthier Athenians. The pillaged property, combined with a sound agricultural economy and the acquisition of the city of Plataea from Athens, created a considerable prosperity and a rise in the population in the fourth century.
Simon Hornblower, The Greek World 479-323 BC (London & New York: Methuen, 1983).