Two little words. With these two words, two concepts were verbalized that have lived for nearly two and a half Millennia. They signify and
characterize both the heart of the Warrior, and the indomitable spirit of mankind. From the ancient Greek, they are the reply of the Spartan
General-King Leonidas to Xerxes, the Persian Emperor who came with 600,000 of the fiercest fighting troops in the world to conquer and invade little
Greece, then the center and birthplace of civilization as we know it. When Xerxes offered to spare the lives of Leonidas, his 300 personal bodyguards
and a handful of Thebans and others who volunteered to defend their country, if they would lay down their arms, Leonidas shouted these two words back.
600,000 is still debated today and no one has the exact number; let us just say 250,000 to 1,000,000 comprised Xerxes Army.
The Spartans were betrayed from within by an act of treachery on the part of a disgruntled, native Greek, Ephialtes, by name. Ephialtes went to the
Persians and convinced Xerxes he could lead the Persian soldiers through a tiny mountain pass which would bring them in behind the Spartans. Once
Leonidas learned the Persians were coming in behind him in great force, he released the other Greek armies from their obligation to stay and fight.
All left but the 700 Thesbians, who stayed and died to the last man, fighting alongside the Spartans. The battle at Thermopylae (480 B.C.), actually
enabled the Greeks by giving them time to marshall their forces against Xerxes and his Persians, in the naval battle of Salamis, just off the coast of
Atticus. Themistocles, the leader of the Greeks, managed to deceive Xerxes, causing Xerxes to order his fleet to attack the Greeks at the wrong place
at the wrong time. The Greek navy was under the supreme command of another Spartan, Eurybiades. He and his navy, practically obliterated Xerxes'
navy, sinking more than 200 ships. The blow was decisive. Xerxes, realizing his cause was hopeless, along with his Persians, then made an
ignominious retreat into Asia. Historians believe without a doubt that had Xerxes and his Persians managed to destroy Greece, there would not have
been any "western European Civilization," as we know it. Today, we would be more of an "asian" civilization, rather than what we know of as our
culture. After all, it was Greek culture and civilization, which led to Roman civilization and culture, which eventually led to ... us. Due to
Leonidas and his Spartans, the 700 Thesbians, and Eurybiades and his sailor warriors, we today enjoy what became a western European culture. There is
an ancient monument in the pass at Thermopylae commemorating Spartan law, valor, and honor. It reads, "Stranger, go tell the Lacedaemononians
[Spartans] that we lie here in obedience to their commands."
Just goes to show how one traitor can make the difference between victory and defeat. Also one man's traitor is someone elses' hero.
Depending on who you want to read, Xerxes sent two forces against the Spartan/Greek forces at separate times in a frontal assault; The account from
Herodotus and that of another Greek 'historian' Diodorus are in agreement, each of the forces Xerxes' committed couldn't (probably) have been much
more than 10,000 men--Herodotus says that after the Persians were repulsed in the first wave, Xerxes sent his best, 'The Immortals', against the
Greeks as the second attack force. (Legend claims that this force functioned in more peaceful times as Xerxes' palace guard. They were called
'Immortal' because any casualty was replaced so that the number always remained 10,000.
Пάλιν δ̀ὲ̀ του̑ Ξέρξου γράψαντος 'πέµψον τὰ ὅπλα' ἀντέγραψε 'µολὼν λαβέ' To Xerxes'
demand, "Hand over your arms," [Leonidas] retorted,"come and get them." (Plutarch, Moralia, III, Apophthegmata Laconica, "Sayings of Spartans")
Molon Labe or however you want to spell or pronounce it, no matter how it is marginalized, is a powerful idea that gives all Interlopers and Dictators
something to think about. Now anyone using it in a certain context probably gets put on a no fly list or something??
They fought with their Phalanx until their were not enough to form; They fought with their spears until all were broken. Swords were used until lost
or broken. Then by tooth and nail to the last man they fought. Sounds rather Glorious but dead is dead even though history revels in their deeds.
I read someplace even at the Alamo the Texans had a cannon, and a flag that said "come and get it"
Moaon Aabe, Molon Labe, no matter how you say it does not seem to translate the same anymore nor hold the same power. We in the West are to civilized
for that crap, maybe the meaning now comes from T.V. and momma saying "Come and get it" meaning supper is ready...Hummmm just thoughts....
Anyway was doing some reading today and thought a bit of history might be something a few would enjoy. Well it took me a little time to do it so I do
not feel it (time) was wasted.
edit on 2-1-2013 by 727Sky because: now