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Ankanor
08-29-2005, 03:03 AM
I've been interested in the Thermopylae battle lately. Incredible deeds of courage. I can reccommend a book to you, "Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield. And a few quotes:
When the wife of King Leonidas asked what were his orders to her while he was away, he answered:
"Marry a good man and have children."

A Greek said the Persian Archers were so numerous that when shooting their arrows blotted out the sun. A Spartan, Dienekes answered:
"Good, then we'll have our battle in the shade."

The Persian King Xerxes demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons. King Leonidas(a man in his late 50s) replied:
Melon Labe.(Come and take them)

Luftwaffe_109
08-29-2005, 04:05 AM
Hi Ankanor.

Yep, its a fascinating battle, in fact the whole Greek-Persian wars are very interesting. If you want to find out more about the Spartans I recommend the Osprey book, The Spartan Army, Elite 066.


Here is a little excerpt from the book about the battle:

"THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE, 480 BCE

If the Persian Wars were the most glorious period in Spartan history, then the battle of Thermopylae was surely Sparta‚‚ā¨ôs finest hour. The Spartans used an apparently novel tactic: they pretended to run away, and then turned to defeat their disorganised enemy pursuers (Herodotos 7. 211). Such a tactic would only work when carried out by highly trained troops.

When news came that the paths through the Kallidromos Mountains were betrayed to the Persians, King Leonidas knew that his force was in danger of being cut off. Therefore he dismissed the Greek forces, keeping with him only his own force of 300 Spartans, the Theban contingent of 400 (effectively hostages) which he expected to go over to the Persians and the Thespian contingent of 700 men, who refused to leave Leonidas‚‚ā¨ô side, commanded by Demophilus, son of Diadromes.

The Greeks inflicted heavy casualties in the first phase of the final battle, killing two brothers of Xerxes. Leonidas too lost his life. His body was recovered after a desperate fight, and the Greeks withdrew to a small hill at the entrance to the pass to make a final stand. By this stage many had had their spears broken in their hands. Others had lost their swords and had to fight on with their hands and teeth. The Persians decided to kill them by missiles alone, so as not to lose further men. It is said that the Spartan Dienekes was the bravest man who took part in the battle. Before the battle someone had remarked that when the Persian shot their arrows, the sun was blotted out by their number. He replied that this was indeed good news, as they would now fight in the shade. After him, the bravest Spartans were the brothers Alpheos and Maron, sons of Orsiphantos, and the bravest Thespian was Dithyrambos, son of Harmatides. The following epitaph, which was put over the tomb of the Spartans, became legendary:

Oh stranger, tell the Lakedaimonians that here
we lie, obedient to their commands"

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a25/Dennis134/therm.jpg


The following is a brief description I wrote about the make-up of the Spartan Army:

The Lakedaimonian army when on campaign typically consisted of 5000 Spartiates (out of a total manpower pool of perhaps 8000 hoplites that Sparta could field), with each Spartan accompanied by several helot psiloi (which were very lightly armed infantry), as well as a levy of 5000 hoplites (which were heavy phalanx infantry) from the perioikoi (communities in Laconia subordinate to Sparta) accompanied by an equal amount of psiloi. The Spartan army was divided into five lochi, which were Aidolios, Sines, Sarinas, Ploas and Mesoates (each lochos presumably being drawn from one of the five administrative divisions of Sparta, the obai).


Best Regards

neural_dream
08-29-2005, 04:22 AM
Originally posted by Ankanor:
Melon Labe

Molon Lave. Pronounce it as if you read French. You know the accent going to the second o and the e respectively and the e being French, not English. When i was a kid the Persian Wars (like we call them in Greece) was my favorite theme in the drawing class.
Also, since there has never been a movie about the Spartans (luckily after having seen that latest barrage of ancient-greek-history-inspired hollywood) you might want to see the Discovery Channel documentary "Ancient Warriors" episode "Spartans". It's pretty good.

panther3485
08-29-2005, 10:11 AM
Hi there, neural_dream,

Quote: "Also, since there has never been a movie about the Spartans...."

Sorry, mate - can't let that go unchallenged!

The movie was called 'The 300 Spartans'. It was released in 1962 and starred (among others) Richard Egan as King Leonidas and David Farrar as King Xerxes.

Though a typical Hollywood style production in most ways, it did make some effort to be reasonably historical and I remember enjoying it a lot. In fact, as a kid, it helped to stimulate my interest in Ancient Greek history and it's an interest I've maintained ever since.

The movie does capture some of the 'classic' quotes, including the moment when somebody on the Persian side says "Our arrows will blot out the Sun!" and one of the Spartans says, "Then we shall fight in the shade!".

The movie also portrays, if I remember correctly, when some 'ratfink' character shows the Persians another path through the mountains, producing the situation where the Spartans are cut off.

And I clearly remember the final dramatic scene where the last few remaining Spartans, protecting the body of Leonidas, are cut down by Persian arrows.

In case you haven't guessed by now, the movie has become a nostalgic favourite of mine, even though it could perhaps be classified as a 'B' grader.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055719/

Best regards,
panther3485

neural_dream
08-29-2005, 12:10 PM
thx Panther i didn't know that. I may try find this movie. The name of the character is Efialtis, which means Nightmare (in modern Greek too).

Ankanor
08-30-2005, 01:54 AM
thanks for the correction, neural_dream http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
And if I'm not mistaken, the 300 Spartans can be found on DVD. As for the name of the traitor, I wouldn't be surprised if that the original meaning had nothing to do with "nightmare" but after the betrayal his name received its "modern" meaning.
The discovery Channel Spartans episode was really nice http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

F19_Orheim
08-30-2005, 02:54 AM
there can only be ONE Thermopyle and HE can be found in "the Gap series", http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gifa 5 book serie in the sci fi genre written by Stephen Donaldson, who also wrote the Fantasy series "Thomas Covenant - the unbeliever".

Both these are very highly recommended.. I am not normally a sci fi fan, but the Gap series was... AMAZING! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Luftwaffe_109
08-30-2005, 02:58 AM
Originally posted by neural_dream:
The name of the character is Efialtis, which means Nightmare (in modern Greek too).
Yep, the name of the person who guided Hydarnes' Persian force along the mountain pass towards the east gate was Ephialtes, son of Eurydemos, a local man from Trachis.


Originally posted by panther3485:
The movie was called 'The 300 Spartans'. It was released in 1962 and starred (among others) Richard Egan as King Leonidas and David Farrar as King Xerxes.
About the 300 Spartans, it is curious to note that the total number of Spartan dead was actually 298.

Aristodemos (who would later bravely throw away his life at the Battle of Plataia in order to try and clear his name of cowardness for not dying at Thermopylae) and Eurytos both contracted acute eye infections before the battle and were ordered to leave the 300 and go to Alpenos to recuperate by King Leonidas. Eurytos later disobeyed Leonidas and returned to the battle despite being blinded by the infection and died fighting, however Aristodemos had obeyed his king's orders and not returned.

One other Spartan, called Pantites, also survived because he had been sent to Thessaly as a messenger before the battle started. For him, the shame of being branded a coward by his fellow Spartans was too great and he hanged himself.

Best Regards

SeaFireLIV
08-30-2005, 03:49 AM
Ah, I`m always interested in this ancient stuff. I just love the (harsh, but real) ethos of those days!

Luftwaffe_109
08-30-2005, 03:58 AM
Hello SeaFireLIV.

What has always puzzled me is that they called Aristodemos a ‚‚ā¨ňútrembler‚‚ā¨ô for obeying his King (unlike Eurytos who had disobeyed Leonidas and returned to the battle, despite not being able to see out of his eyes, and thus was called a hero) and yet they refused to honour Aristodemos after his death at Plataia because supposedly his breaking ranks with the rest of the Spartans and charging headlong into the enemy had failed to meet the Spartan high standards of discipline and obedience.

There just was no pleasing the Spartans, was there? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

panther3485
08-30-2005, 07:32 AM
Hi Luftwaffe_109,

"quote:
Originally posted by panther3485:
The movie was called 'The 300 Spartans'. It was released in 1962 and starred (among others) Richard Egan as King Leonidas and David Farrar as King Xerxes.
_____________________________________________
About the 300 Spartans, it is curious to note that the total number of Spartan dead was actually 298. Etc..etc... "
______________________________________________

Wow! I'm suitably impressed. Don't you think it's just great, that these sorts of details are available from such an ancient battle? Too bad we can't always establish things with this sort accuracy and certainty, from many other battles that are much more recent.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

HI there, neural_dream and Ankanor,

By the way, I'm on the lookout for that movie on DVD myself. I had it on VHS about 20 years ago (recorded it off TV) but the tape has long since ceased to exist.

Best regards to all,
panther3485

Deedsundone
08-30-2005, 09:03 AM
Thermopylae....sound like something from that "Carrier" game to atari/amiga.
Lovely game BTW...Modern version demanded!

neural_dream
08-30-2005, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by SeaFireLIV:
Ah, I`m always interested in this ancient stuff. I just love the (harsh, but real) ethos of those days!
Me too. I'll get completely OT with this one, but aren't you just moved when you hear the Olympic anthem once every 4 years? In written form and in English it's not as awe-inspiring but still ..

Immortal spirit of antiquity,
Father of the true, beautiful and good,
Descend, appear, shed over us thy light
Upon this ground and under this sky
Which has first witnessed the unperishable fame.
Give life and animation to those noble games!
Throw wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors
In the race and in the strife!
Create in our breasts, hearts of steel!
In thy light, plains, mountains and seas
Shine in a roseate hue and form a vast temple
To which all nations throng to adore thee,
Oh immortal spirit of antiquity!

I'd love to write the original too, but noone would understand :P and probably there wouldn't be compatible fonts. (hm, maybe i can give a url though with a pronunciation guide http://users.otenet.gr/~bm-celusy/olympic.html)

That's not what the Spartans would recite before a battle, but you can imagine something similar, talking probably about their families and the gods.


There just was no pleasing the Spartans, was there? Wink2
lol, no. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

SeaFireLIV
08-30-2005, 09:13 AM
made a copy of that text. good stuff.

Luftwaffe_109
08-30-2005, 06:07 PM
Hello panther3485.

Originally posted by panther3485:
Wow! I'm suitably impressed. Don't you think it's just great, that these sorts of details are available from such an ancient battle?
Yep, definitely, we are fortunate to have such a relatively detailed knowledge of Greece and Rome in antiquity, and indeed are quite indebted to the Greek and Roman historians (not to mention those from all over the ancient world!) who painstakingly recorded these details.


Hello neural_dream.

Originally posted by neural_dream:
That's not what the Spartans would recite before a battle, but you can imagine something similar, talking probably about their families and the gods.

The following is an extract of a poem (by Tyrtaios) that King Leonidas is said to have particularly approved of as suitable for firing up the spirits of the younger Spartan men so that they would be brave and daring in battle.


No man has high regard in war unless he is
able to stomach the sight of blood and death, and
fight the enemy at close quarters.

This is excellence, the best prize that men who
are young and bold can win.

It does all the people of the state good whenever
a man stands firm in the front ranks, holding his
ground and steadfastly refusing to even think of
shameful flight, risking his life with stout heart
and shouting encouragement to those around him.

Such a man has high regard in war.

He speedily forces back the ranks of the enemy's
spears and his eagerness turns the battle‚‚ā¨ôs tide.

He who loses his life, falling in the front ranks,
brings glory to his father, his comrades and his
city, his chest, his armour and his bossed shield
pierced many times by blows to the front.

Young and old mourn him alike and the whole
state is saddened by his loss.

His tomb and his children get pointed out as do
his children‚‚ā¨ôs children and all his line.

Never do the name and glory of all his bravery die
out, but he is immortal even as he lies in his
grave, whichever man the war god Ares slays as he
fights for his homeland and his children, standing
firmly and bravely.


You can certainly see why Leonidas liked it.

LEXX_Luthor
08-30-2005, 07:24 PM
Yikes, we have not changed a bit in 2 weeks, let alone 2 thousand years. Nothing New under the FB Sun. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

SeaFireLIV
08-30-2005, 07:44 PM
Thanks.