The Battle of thermopylae was a battle between the Spartans and the World.

The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between two alliances.During the second Persian invasion of Greece, it was fought over the course of three days.

There was a naval battle at Artemisium.The Hot Gates was held at the narrow coastal pass in August or September 480 BC.The Persian invasion was delayed because of the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.Xerxes wanted to conquer all of Greece by 480 BC.The Athenian politician and general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae.

The Greeks blocked the pass in the middle of 480 BC.It was said that the Persian army had one million soldiers.Herodotus, a contemporary writer, put the Persian army strength as one million and went to great pains to describe how they were counted in groups of ten thousand at a review of the troops.The Persian number is three million.It is thought to have been much smaller.Scholars report between 100,000 and 150,000 soldiers.[13][12]

The Persian army arrived at the pass in August or September.The Greeks held them off for seven days before the rear-guard was destroyed in one of history’s most famous last stands.The only road that the Persian army could pass was blocked by a small force led by Leonidas.The Greeks were betrayed by a local resident named Ephialtes after the second day.The Persians were behind the Greek lines.The bulk of the Greek army was dismissed and replaced by 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians.Up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans were also reported to remain.The soldiers fought to the end.Thebans reportedly surrendered.

Themistocles was in charge of the Greek Navy at Artemisium when he heard that the Persians had taken the pass.Since the Greek strategy required both Artemisium and Thermopylae to be held, it was decided to withdraw.The city of Athens was captured by the Persians.The Persian armada was defeated at the Battle of Salamis by the Greek fleet in 480 BC.After being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew most of his army to Asia, leaving Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest of Greece.The Persians were defeated at the Battle of Plataea by the Greek army.

The Battle of Thermopylae has been used as an example of patriotism by both ancient and modern writers.The performance of the defenders has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds due to the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers.

Herodotus is the primary source for the Greco-Persian Wars.The account of the Greco-Persian wars is provided by the Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus, who wrote in the 1st century BC.The account is very similar to Herodotus’ writings.The Greco-Persian Wars are described in less detail by a number of other historians including Ctesias of Cnidus and Aeschylus in The Persians.

The Serpent Column is in the Hippodrome of Constantinople and supports some of Herodotus’ claims.To the extent that modern accounts of the battle differ from Herodotus’, George B. Grundy was the first modern historian to do a thorough topographical survey.Sir Basil Henry Hart Liddell defers to Grundy.Grundy wrote a book about the battle of Plataea.[18]

Two principal sources, Herodotus’ and Simonides’ accounts, survive the Battle of Thermopylae.Herodotus’ account of the battle in Book VII of his Histories is such an important source that Paul Cartledge wrote: “we either write a history of Thermopylae with [Herodotus], or not at all”.The account of Ctesias by the Byzantine Photios is almost worse than useless, missing key events in the battle such as the betrayal of Ephialtes.Modern scholars have tended to be skeptical of Diodorus’ account, which contains a supposed night attack against the Persian camp.[22][23]

The Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire was aided by Athens and Eretria.The Persian Empire was young and prone to revolts.He spent a lot of time extinguishing revolts against his rule.[ 24]

The Ionian revolt threatened the integrity of his empire, and he vowed to punish those involved, especially the Athenians.The opportunity to expand his empire into Ancient Greece was also present.Thrace was re-conquered and the lands approaching Greece were secured by a preliminary expedition under Mardonius.[28]

The Greek city-states were asked for a gift of “earth and water” by the emissaries.The majority of Greek cities obliged after a demonstration of his power the previous year.In Athens, the ambassadors were put on trial and then executed by throwing them in a pit; in Sparta, they were thrown down a well.Sparta was at war with Persia.Two Spartans were sent to Susa for execution in order to appease the Achaemenid king.[31]

After the submission of the other Cycladic Islands in 490 BC, the amphibious task force was put together.The task force besieged and destroyed Eretria.At the bay of Marathon, it was met by a heavily outnumbered Athenian army as it moved to attack Athens.The Persian army was withdrawn from Asia after the Athenians won the Battle of Marathon.[33]

In 486 BC, the Egyptian people revolted, postponing any Greek expedition.The throne of Persia was passed to his son Xerxes I after he died while preparing to march on Egypt.After the Egyptian revolt, Xerxes began the preparations for the invasion of Greece.Since this was to be a full-scale invasion, long-term planning was required.Xerxes decided that the Hellespont would be bridged to allow his army to cross to Europe, and that a canal should be dug across the isthmus of Mount Athos.Both feats of exceptional ambition were beyond any other contemporary state.The army which Xerxes had amassed at Sardis crossed the Hellespont on two pontoon bridges by early 480 BC.According to Herodotus, Xerxes’ army was so large that, upon arriving at the banks of the Echeidorus River, his soldiers proceeded to drink it dry.Many Greek cities capitulated to the Persian demand for a tribute to earth and water.[38]

The Athenians had been preparing for war with the Persians since the mid-480s BC, and in 482 BC the decision was taken to build a massive fleet of triremes that would be essential for the Greeks.The battle against the Persians would require an alliance of Greek city-states.Athens and Sparta were not included in the requests for “earth and water” sent by Xerxes.Support coalesced around the two leading states.A confederate alliance of Greek city-states was formed after a congress of city states.After consultation, it could send envoys to request assistance and dispatch troops from the member states to defensive points.Since many of the city-states in attendance were still technically at war with each other, this was remarkable for the chaotic Greek world.[42]

In the spring of 480 BC, the congress met again.A Thessalian delegation suggested that the Greeks could block Xerxes’ advance by blocking the Vale of Tempe.A force of 10,000 hoplites was dispatched to the Vale of Tempe in order to stop the Persian army.The Greeks retreated after Alexander I of Macedon warned them that the vale could be bypassed through Sarantoporo Pass.They got the news that Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont.[42]

Themistocles suggested a second strategy for the Greeks, one that would require Xerxes’ army to travel through the narrow pass of Thermopylae, which could easily be blocked.The straits of Artemisium could be blocked to prevent the Persians from entering by sea.This dual-pronged strategy was adopted by Congress.The women and children of Athens would be evacuated to the Peloponnesian city of Troezen if the Isthmus of Corinth were to come under attack.[46]

The Persian army made slow progress through Thrace.The news of the Persian approach reached Greece thanks to a Greek spy.The Spartans, the military leaders of the alliance, celebrated the festival of Carneia at this time of year.The Spartans were late to the Battle of Marathon because military activity was forbidden by Spartan law.It would have been sacrilegious for the whole Spartan army to march to war because of the Olympic truce.The ephors decided it was necessary to block the pass under one of its kings, Leonidas I.To gather as many other Greek soldiers along the way as possible, and to await the arrival of the main Spartan army.[49]

According to Herodotus, the Spartans consulted the oracle at Delphi earlier in the year.The oracle is said to have made a prophecy.

The men are in the streets of broad Lacedaemon.Either your town will be sacked by the children of Perseus or all of Laconian country.

According to Herodotus, Leonidas was convinced he was going to die since his forces were not adequate for a victory, and so he selected only Spartans with living sons.50

By the time it arrived at the pass, the Spartan force had been reinforced by contingents from various cities.The middle gate is the narrowest part of the pass where the Phocians built a defensive wall.There is a mountain track that can be used to beat the pass of Thermopylae.The Phocians were stationed on the heights.[54]

The Persian army was seen in the Malian Gulf in mid-August.The Greeks held a council of war after the Persian army arrived.The withdrawal to the Isthmus of Corinth was suggested by some Peloponnesians.The Phocians and Locrians advised defending Thermopylae and sending for more help.After calming the panic, Leonidas agreed to defend Thermopylae.”If we shall have shade in which to fight them, it will be nice”, said Leonidas, when one of the soldiers complained that it was impossible to see the sun.Herodotus attributes a similar comment to Dienekes.[58]

The Persian emissary was sent by Xerxes to negotiate.The title “Friends of the Persian People” and the opportunity to re-settle on land was offered to the Greeks.The ambassador asked Leonidas to give up his arms after he refused the terms.”Come and take them” was the famous response to the Persians.The battle became inevitable when the Persian emissary returned empty-handed.After waiting for the Greeks to leave, Xerxes sent troops to attack them.61

.The top five are: Persian, Median, Parthian, Bactrian, and Sogdian.

The number of troops that Xerxes was able to muster for the second invasion of Greece has been the subject of a long running dispute between ancient sources and modern scholars.According to Herodotus, there were 2.6 million military personnel and an equivalent number of support personnel.Ctesias gave 800,000 as the total number of the army that was assembled by Xerxes, while Simonides said four million.[6]

Modern scholars reject the figures given by Herodotus and other ancient sources because they were overstated by the victors.The range for modern scholarly estimates is between 120,000 and 300,000.The estimates come from studying the logistical capabilities of the Persians in that era, as well as the overall manpower constraints affecting them.Xerxes was anxious to ensure a successful expedition by mustering an overwhelming numerical superiority by land and sea.The number of Persian troops present at Thermopylae is as uncertain as the total invasion force.It’s not clear if the Persian army marched as far as Thermopylae or if Xerxes left garrisons in Thessaly.

The Greek army included several forces according to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.

Herodotus declined to estimate the number of Locrians, but Pausanias’ account agrees with him.According to Pausanias 6,000 men would have given a force of 11,200 if they had stayed in the direct path of the Persian advance.73

Many modern historians add the 1,000 Lacedemonians and the 900 helots to Herodotus’ 5,200 to get 7,100 men, neglecting Diodorus’ Melian and Pausanias’.There are many other combinations that are plausible.The numbers changed later on in the battle when most of the army retreated and only a few thousand men remained.[74]

The Greeks were making the best use of their forces by defending Thermopylae.As long as they could prevent a further Persian advance into Greece, they had no need for a decisive battle.The Greeks’ inferior numbers became less of a factor as a result of defendingThermopylae and Artemisium.The Persians couldn’t stay in the same place for very long because of the large army problem.The Persians had to retreat or advance in order to force the pass of Thermopylae.[78]

The pass at Thermopylae was perfect for the Greek style of warfare.With no risk of being outflanked by cavalry, a hoplite phalanx could block the narrow pass.It would have been difficult for the Persian infantry to assault the phalanx in the pass.The Greek position could be outflanked by the mountain track that led across the highland parallel to thermopylae.Many of the Persian infantry were versed in mountain warfare and could easily traverse this path.Local people from Trachis made Leonidas aware of the path and he put a group of Phocian troops there to block it.[80]

It is said that at the time, only one chariot could pass through the pass at a time because the track was so narrow.The pass was 100 metres wide and larger than the Greeks could have held against the Persians.The Phocians channelled the stream from the hot springs to create a marsh that was only wide enough for a single chariot to cross, as reported by Herodotus.The ground at the Pass is not only narrow, but also smooth because of the natural rock, as Pausanias states in a later passage.The number of them that vanished beneath the mud was great.[83]

The Malian Gulf was on the north side of the road.The shallowness of the water made it difficult for the Greek fleet to get close enough to fight the Gauls.

The Phocians built a wall in the previous century to aid in their defence against Thessalian invasions, and along the path there were three constrictions.The hot springs that were located there inspired the name “Hot Gates”.[83]

Xerxes and his forces were not used to the terrain of the battlefield.The Persians were not prepared for the real nature of the country they had invaded.The pure ruggedness of this area is caused by an intense summer season and four months of rain.The shrubs are low and prickly.Some plants reach 10 feet (3 m) high on the hillsides along the pass.King Leonidas and his men chose the perfect location to battle the Persian invaders, because of the sea on one side and steep hills on the other.[83]

The pass is several kilometres inland because of the Malian Gulf.The old track can be seen at the foot of the hills around the plain.The waters came up to the gates after the pass was only 100 metres wide, and little do the visitors realize that the battle took place across the road from the monument.In World War II, British Commonwealth forces made a defence against the Nazi invaders just metres from the original battlefield.[85]

After the Persian arrival at Thermopylae and the first day of the battle, Xerxes decided to attack the Greeks.First, he ordered 5,000 archers to shoot a lot of arrows, but they weren’t very effective and they were shot from at least 100 yards away, according to modern day scholars.Xerxes sent a force of 10,000 Medes and Cissians to take the defenders prisoner and bring them before him.In waves of around 10,000 men, the Persians launched a frontal assault on the Greek position.The Greeks were able to use as few soldiers as possible because they fought in front of the Phocian wall.The Greeks were superior in the size of their shields and the men stood shoulder to shoulder, according to Diodorus.The standard Greek phalanx would have been very effective if it spanned the width of the pass.The shorter spears and swords of the Persians made it difficult for them to engage the Greeks.The Greeks had more men than necessary to block the pass because the units for each city were kept together, according to Herodotus.The Greeks killed so many people that Xerxes stood up three times from the seat where he was watching the battle.According to Ctesias, only two or three Spartans were killed in the first wave.[6]

The king threw his best troops into a second assault the same day, according to Herodotus and Diodorus.The Immortals failed to make any headway against the Greeks.The Spartans turned and killed the enemy troops when they ran after them.[97]

On the second day, Xerxes again sent in the infantry to attack the pass, “supposing that their enemies, being so few, were now disabled by wounds and could no longer resist.”On the second day, the Persians had no more success than on the first.”Totally perplexed”, Xerxes at last stopped the assault and withdrew to his camp.[6]

The Persian king received a windfall as he pondered what to do next, and a Trachinian named Ephialtes offered to guide the Persian army.The desire for a reward motivated Ephialtes.The name “Ephialtes” came to mean “nightmare” in the Greek language and to symbolize the traitor in Greek culture.[101]

According to Herodotus, Xerxes sent his commander Hydarnes and the men under his command to encircle the Greeks.He doesn’t say who those men were.According to Diodorus, the Immortals had been bloodied on the first day, so it is possible that Hydarnes was given overall command of an enhanced force.The path led from the east of the Persian camp.Anopaea is behind the cliffs.One path led to Phocis and the other to the Malian Gulf at Alpenus, the first town of Locris.[54]

On the third day, the Phocians guarding the path above Thermopylae became aware of the outflanking Persian column by the rustling of oak leaves.Herodotus says they were amazed when they jumped up.They were just as surprised to see themselves hastily armed as he was.He was told that they were not Spartans.If the Persians came to attack them, the Phocians retreated to a nearby hill.The Persians shot a volley of arrows at them and then bypassed them to continue their encirclement of the Greek force.104

The council of war was called after learning from a runner that the Phocians had not held the path.The Greeks were warned by a Persian called Tyrrhastiadas, who was a Cymaean by birth.The Greeks argued for withdrawal, but Leonidas decided to stay at the pass with the Spartans.Leonidas told his allies that they could leave if they wanted to.While many of the Greeks fled, around two thousand soldiers stayed behind to fight and die.The Greeks marched into the open field and met the Persians.Many of the Greek contingents either withdrew without orders or were ordered to leave by Leonidas.700 Thespians, led by their general Demophilus, refused to leave and committed themselves to the fight.The 400 Thebans and the helots who were with the Spartans were present.105

There has been a lot of discussion about Leonidas’ actions.The Spartans were obeying Sparta’s laws by not retreating.The failure to retreat from Thermopylae gave rise to the idea that Spartans never retreated.It has been suggested that Leonidas sacrificed his life in order to save Sparta.[115]

The most likely scenario is that Leonidas formed a rearguard so that the other Greek contingents could get away.The Persian cavalry would have been able to run the Greeks down if all the troops had retreated.They would have been encircled and killed if they had remained at the pass.More than 3000 men could be saved by covering the retreat and blocking the pass.[109]

Thebans have been a topic of discussion.They were brought to the battle as hostages to ensure good behavior of Thebes, according to Herodotus.If they were hostages, why not send them away with the rest of the Greeks?Thebanloyalists were likely the ones who objected to Persian domination.If the Persians conquered Boeotia, they would not be able to return to Thebes.If the Persians took Boeotia, the Thespians faced the destruction of their city.[115]

The fact that they remained is not explained by this alone; the rest of Thespiae was successfully evacuated before the Persians arrived.It seems that the Thespians volunteered to remain as a simple act of self-sacrifice, all the more amazing since their contingent represented every single hoplite the city could muster.At least two other times in later history, a Thespian force would commit itself to a fight to the death.[115]

At dawn, Xerxes paused to allow the Immortals enough time to descend the mountain, and then began his advance.A Persian force of 10,000 men, consisting of light infantry and cavalry, charged at the front of the Greek formation.In an attempt to slaughter as many Persians as they could, the Greeks sallied forth from the wall to meet them.They fought with spears and then switched to short swords.According to Herodotus, two of Xerxes’ brothers fell in the struggle.The Greeks took possession of his body after he was shot down by Persian archers.The Greeks retreated and took a stand on a hill behind the wall.Thebans moved away from their companions and advanced toward the barbarians, but a few were slain before their surrender was accepted.Theban prisoners were branded with the royal mark.Herodotus says that of the remaining defenders.

They defended themselves to the last, those who still had swords using them, and the others resisting with their hands and teeth.[ 114]

The Persians rained arrows on the Greeks until they were dead, after Xerxes ordered the hill to be surrounded.The identification of the hill on which the Greeks were thought to have died from a smaller one nearer the wall was changed in 1939 by the discovery of large numbers of Persian bronze arrowheads.[118]

According to Herodotus, the cost to the Persians of up to 20,000 deaths was caused by the opening of the pass at Thermopylae.The Greek rearguard was destroyed with a probable loss of 2,000 men, including those killed on the first two days of battle.According to Herodotus, at one point 4,000 Greeks died, but assuming the Phocians guarding the track were not killed during the battle, this would be almost every Greek soldier present.[118]

Xerxes ordered that the body of Leonidas be beheaded and crucified after the Persians recovered his body.The example of Pytheas, captured off Skiathos before the Battle of Artemisium, strengthens the suggestion that this was uncommon for the Persians.Xerxes was known for his rage.It is said that he had the water of the Hellespont whipped because it wouldn’t obey him.[37]

The Greeks buried their dead on a hill after the Persians left.The stone lion was built to honor Leonidas after the Persian invasion.After the battle, Leonidas’ bones were returned to Sparta, where he was buried again with full honours, and funeral games were held every year in his memory.There are 115 and 122 words.

The blockade at Artemisium by the Greek fleet became irrelevant with the opening of Thermopylae to the Persian army.The Greek navy was able to retreat in good order after the Battle of Artemisium because it helped to ferry the remaining Athenian citizens to the island of Salamis.[109]

The Achaemenid destruction of Athens was accomplished after the Persian army burned Plataea and Thespiae, the Boeotian cities that had not submitted.The Greeks demolished the single road that led through it and built a wall across it as they prepared to defend the Isthmus of Corinth.To make this an effective strategy, the Greek navy had to blockade the Persian navy in order to prevent troops from landing on the Peloponnese.The Greeks were persuaded to seek a victory against the Persian fleet by Themistocles.The Greek fleet was able to destroy most of the Persian fleet in the Battle of Salamis, which ended the threat to the Peloponnese.126

Fearing the Greeks would attack the bridges across the Hellespont and trap his army in Europe, Xerxes retreated with much of the Persian army back to Asia.He left a force under Mardonius to complete the conquest.Under pressure from the Athenians, the Peloponnesians agreed to try to force Mardonius to fight.The two sides met near the city of Plataea after Mardonius retreated to Boeotia.At the Battle of Plataea, the Greek army destroyed much of the Persian army and ended the invasion of Greece.The Persian fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Mycale in order to reduce the threat of further invasions.[131]

The most famous battle in European ancient history is called thermopylae.The Greeks are praised for their performance in battle.The Greeks were defeated in the context of the Persian invasion.The Greek strategy was to hold off the Persians at Thermopylae and Artemisium, but it was not their desire to surrender all of Boeotia and Attica.Despite being outnumbered, the Greek position at Thermopylae was nearly impregnable.The Persians might have had to retreat for lack of food and water if the position had been held for more time.Despite the heavy losses, forcing the pass was strategically a Persian victory and the successful retreat of the bulk of Greek troops was in its own sense a victory as well.The battle showed that even though the Greeks were outnumbered, they could still put up a fight against the Persians.Greek soldiers in the second Persian invasion were boosted by that.[109]

It is said that the victor of the battle is as damaged as the defeated party in a Pyrrhic victory.The effect on the Persian forces was not suggested by Herodotus.The idea ignores the fact that the Persians were still fighting in Greece a year after they conquered the majority of the country.The argument is that the last stand at Thermopylae gave the Greek navy time to prepare for the Battle of Salamis.The time bought was insignificant compared to the probable time.This idea ignores the fact that the Greek navy incurred losses during the Battle of Thermopylae.George Cawkwell believes that the gap between Thermopylae and Salamis was caused by Xerxes’ reduction of Greek opposition in Phocis and Boeotia, and not by the Battle ofTHERMOPYLAE.The success of Xerxes in breaching the formidable Greek position and the subsequent conquest of the majority of Greece is the focus of modern academic treatises on the Greco-Persian Wars.Cawkwell states that he was successful on both land and sea, and the Great Invasion began with a brilliant success.The Greek defeat was described by Lazenby as “disastrous”.[134]

The fame of Thermopylae is primarily derived from the example it set and not the outcome of the war.The doomed rearguard, who was facing certain death, remained at the pass.Salamis, Plataea, Mycale and Sicily are the fairest sister-victories which the Sun has ever seen, yet they would never dare to compare their achievements.The example it set of free men, fighting for their country and their freedom, is a second reason.

It was almost immediately seen as a critical moral and culture lesson by contemporary Greeks.A small group of free people outfought a lot of imperial subjects.The Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern idea of monarchy and despotism.142

While this paradigm of “free men” outfighting “slaves” can be seen as a rather sweeping over-generalization, it is still true that many commentators have used Thermopylae to illustrate this point.[78]

Although the battle was not decisive in the context of the Persian invasion, it is important to remember the first two days of fighting.The defenders’ performance is an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain.[143]

There are monuments around the battlefield.The statue depicts King Leonidas I with a spear and shield.

A stone was placed on top of the Spartans’ burial mound to engrave an inscription on a well-known epigram.The last of them died on the hill.The original stone did not survive, but the epitaph was engraved on a new stone in 1955.The text is from Herodotus.

The ancient reading peithomenoi nommois takes the place of “laws” or “orders” for words.The Ancient Greek term for “orders” is not personal but refers to official and binding phrases.[140]

Elegiac couplet is the form of ancient Greek poetry used for epitaphs.There are some English words in the table.Laconian brevity allows for different interpretations of the meaning of a poem.The usual English translations are far from the only interpretation possible, and indicate a lot about the romantic tendencies of the translators.

It was well known in ancient Greece that all the Spartans who had been sent to Thermopylae had died there, and the epitaph exploits the idea that there was no one left to tell Sparta about their actions.The Spartans at Thermopylae asked the reader to make a personal journey to Sparta to break the news that they had died.The stranger is told that the Spartans died fulfilling their orders.

The title of the short story was “Stranger, Bear Word to the Spartans We…”, which was written by Bll.There is a variant of the epigram on the Polish Cemetery.

His name is “Faithful and True” and he leads the armies of Heaven.

Vassos Falireas created a monument in honor of the Spartan king at the site.There is a statue of Leonidas.There is a sign under the statue that says “Come and take them!”As an answer to Xerxes’ demand that the Greeks give up their weapons.The battle scenes are depicted in the metope.The river Eurotas is represented by the left and right marble statues of the monument.161

The Greek government dedicated a second monument in 1997 to the 700 Thespians who fought with the Spartans.The ancient Thespians accorded particular religious veneration to the god Eros, who is depicted in a bronze statue in the monument.”In memory of the seven hundred Thespians” is the sign under the statue.

Many apocryphal incidents and conversations have been provided by Herodotus’ colorful account of the battle.These accounts are important to the legend of the battle because they show the laconic speech (and wit) of Spartans to good effect.

When Leonidas left, his wife asked what she should do if he didn’t return, to which he replied, “Marry a good man and have good children.”[161]

The Persians sent a scout to reconnoitre after arriving at Thermopylae.He was allowed to come up to the camp by the Greeks.The scout’s reports about the size of the Greek force and the fact that the Spartans were combing their long hair were laughable.When the Spartans were about to risk their lives, it was their custom to adorn their hair, and Xerxes was told they were preparing for battle.The Great King was warned by Demaratus that they intended to dispute the pass.The king refused to believe him when he tried to warn Xerxes.There is no other nation in the world that will lift a hand for the Spartans if Xerxes ever succeeded in defeating them.[161]

The reception of a Persian envoy was described by Herodotus.The ambassador said that Xerxes would give him the kingship of Greece if he joined him.”For me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race, if you had any knowledge of the noble things of life,” he said.The ambassador asked him to give up his arms.”Come and get them” was the famous answer given by Leonidas.[ 165]

The laconic bravery helped to keep the spirits high.”So much the better, then we shall fight our battle in the shade,” Dienekes was quoted as saying by Herodotus.[166]

After the battle, Xerxes was curious as to what the Greeks had been trying to do and had some deserters questioned in his presence.The other men were participating in the Olympics.The answer was “an olive-wreath” when Xerxes asked what the prize was for the winner.Tigranes, a Persian general, asked Mardonius what kind of men he had pitted against us.They contend for honour, not for wealth.”Ye Gods, Mardonius, what men have you brought us to fight against?”Men don’t fight for gold, but for glory.[171]

The Battle of Thermopylae is a cultural icon of western civilization.The battle is relived in many works of popular culture, such as in films and literature, based on the events of the battle.The title track of a popular power-metal band’s album was used in video games.The theory and practice of warfare is discussed in many articles and books.

Prior to the battle, the Hellenes remembered the Ionians as conquerors of the Spartans in the Peloponnesus.After the battle, Spartan culture became an inspiration and object of emulation.

There are two coins to mark 2500 years since the battle.The anniversary will take place in 2021, but the dates of 2020 and 480 BC are on the coins.