What triumphs skill, courage, loyalty and honour? Surely not treason by savage betrayal for pittance.
The battle at Thermopylae between the forces led by King Leonidas of Sparta and King Xerxes of Persia ended in favour of the Persians due to one man’s greed. Ephailtes had the blood of 300 Spartans on his hands.
The landscape around Thermopylae where the Spartans fell was very different from what it is today. They did not have as much land from the mountains to the shoreline, in fact, the breadth of it was just 15-men (standing shoulder to shoulder) long. This pass was a strategic battle front for the Spartans where they could exercise control over the advance of stupendously huge Persian armies so Spartans could fight them 15 men at a time. Imagine the stamina required to fight a 10000-men contingent with only spears, short swords and shields!
Xerxes lost rather badly the first two days of battle since he chose to rely on abundance and brawn. Neither of his two contingents stood a chance against a well-oiled battle machine like the Spartans. In a moment of desperation, Xerxes used wealth to lure a snake that helped him slither his way into the Spartan stronghold to essentially stab Leonidas in the back.
It all went downhill from there. The Spartans, the last 300, had retreated into a small circle to make their final stand. Seeing that the Spartans were cornered, the Persian army fell back to avoid hand-to-hand combat, and had their archers shower arrows at them instead. This meant that the Spartans never got to fight to their deaths but were instead mercilessly stabbed to death by curtains of arrows.  Their adamance for honour, righteousness and dignity meant lives were sacrificed for what their leaders thought was right. Death before dishonour. I guess that is how legends are born.
There is a wall at Thermopylae built to commemorate the bravery, dedication and patriotism of the fallen Spartans. Across the road from this wall is an excavation site. When the archaeologists dug up the place after WWII, they found a lot of Persian arrowheads.


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