previous next

Greek Courage at Thermopylae

The Spartans showed their courage when three hundred of their men, along with a few other allied Greek contingents, held off Xerxes' huge army for several days at the narrow pass called Thermopylae1 (“Warm Gates”) in central Greece. The characteristic Spartan refusal to be intimidated was summed up in the reputed comment of a Spartan hoplite. A companion remarked that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows darkened the sky in battle. “That's good news,” said the Spartan, “we will get to fight in the shade.”2 The pass was so narrow that the Persians could not employ their superior numbers to overwhelm the Greek defenders3, who were better warriors one-on-one. Only when a local Greek, hoping for a reward from the Persian king, showed the Persian troops a secret route around the pass were they able to massacre its Greek defenders by attacking them from the front and the rear simultaneously.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: