Leonidas and the Brave 300
“This is Sparta”. This line was made famouse in now the Popular movie “300”. It is a story about king of Sparta Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers as they stood against the force of the Persians. But what is the real story about Leonidas and his 300 soldiers. Little is known about Leonidas other then stories about him that was written. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The History of Herodotus, Leonidas was in command of the now famous 300 Spartans who were sent, in advance of the main Spartan body of troops, to engage the Persian horde in order to arrest and defeat its intended invasion of Greece. The Spartan troops of only 300 men at arms were augmented by troops sent by several other city-states who seemed determined to engage the Persian forces, but Leonidas had picked up and accompanied the delegation of troops from Thebes, because the Thebans had already hinted that they might desert the Greek alliance and unite themselves with the Persians. In order to shore up the flagging hopes of their allies, therefore, the Spartan advance guard made camp in a narrow mountain pass at a place now made famous by the battle fought there — Thermopylae (the Hot Gates). The reason why Leonidas appeared with only a token force was that Sparta was at that time celebrating a religious festival; the reason why the other Greek forces were so scanty was that their cities were celebrating their Olympic games. Neither Sparta, famous for there fighting men, nor her allies thought that the battle of Thermopylae would be engaged as soon as it was, so the matter stood and there was nothing to be done about it: The Greek forces were hopelessly outnumbered, the Persian forces were upon them and in command of the pass through which they were penetrating the country, and there was Leonidas with his 300 Spartans camped in front of the enemy's first wave. Xerxes, the tyrannical ruler of the Persians and their huge conglomerate of allies, was —...
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