Narrative Letter of a Spartan Warrior

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My family,

I am writing to you because I do not expect I will return home from this war. The Persians under the command of Xerxes have taken over Athens and burned the city to the ground. All of the Athenians have fled fearing for their lives. We have fought the Persians bravely and I know that Xerxes is getting impatient. He had thought at this point would have easily defeated us, and he did not expect our military knowledge and strength in such few numbers. He does not understand our training, not even the Athenians have had such intensive training as we have. At the age of seven I left my parents to begin my training. I have slept on beds of rushes and eaten black broth and any other food I could manage to steal. I fought against my peers everyday as we developed our techniques and all the pain that I felt I learned to endure without complaints. I have learned that no other civilizations raise their men the way ours are. They attend school; they learn reading, writing, mathematics, music and literature. We have no need to learn these things; we do not grow up to be doctors or artists or philosophers. We are warriors, and the best in the world. We are disliked because of our strength and capability, but we are also respected for the same reasons. Because of their lack of training they are weak, they cry out when they are injured and they surrender when they are outnumbered. I find this appalling! To us Spartans there is no surrender or retreat. In all my years in training I was told to come back with my shield or come back on it. I can see no other option but to fight or die, to consider any other possibility is a disgrace to myself and to my family. Tomorrow we will meet the Persians at the pass at Thermopylae. While we are strong, and smarter in military techniques, we have only 300 Spartans and no defense of the pass has ever succeeded. From the beginning our plan seemed to be perfect, and theoretically should have worked. Thermopylae should have been...
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