Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sparta & Thermopylae

Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, situated in the southern part of Peloponnese. From 650 BC it rose to become a dominant military power in the region and was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. All male citizens of Sparta were full-time soldiers.

The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between several Greek city-states and the Persian Empire that started in 499 BC and lasted until 448 BC.

Leonidas I, was the king of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendent of Heracles, possessing much of the Greek Hero’s strength and bravery. King Leonidas died at the Battle of Thermopylae in August 480 BC. The Battle of Thermopylae was a battle that took place over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece. This occurred at the pass of Thermopylae, which was a narrow coastal passage that existed in antiquity, and named after it’s natural hot water springs.

The tomb of Leonidas lies today in the northern part of the modern town of Sparta, while the “Leonidas Monument”, a bronze statue of Leonidas can be found at the site of the Battle. A sign under the statue, reads “Come and Get Them” which Spartans said when the Persians asked them to put down their weapons.

The film 300, inspired by the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Variety was based on the story of King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae.

(Excerpt: Wikipedia; “King Leonidas I”, “Battle of Thermopylae”, “Sparta”)

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