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Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

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The national bestseller!At Thermopylae, a rocky mountain pass in northern Greece, the feared and admired Spartan soldiers stood three hundred strong. Theirs was a suicide mission, to hold the pass against the invading millions of the mighty Persian army.Day after bloody day they withstood the terrible onslaught, buying time for the Greeks to rally their forces. Born into a cult of spiritual courage, physical endurance, and unmatched battle skill, the Spartans would be remembered for the great…

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TIL Philip of Macedon sent a message to Sparta saying, “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city.” Sparta replied “If”. Neither Philip nor Alexander the Great ever attacked Sparta(r/todayilearned)

This was really less about the Spartans wanting to taunt Philip and more about their way of speaking in general. Laconic speech, at the time at least, was short and to the point, with no wasted effort but a lot of thought and deliberation concerning words to be used.

Plutarch lays down the finer points of Spartan (Read: Laconic) speech in his Life of Lycurgus, which is a historical narrative of the life of the man-god Lycurgus who founded the Spartan city-state.

“The boys were also taught to speak in a way which was brusque but elegant, and which contained a great deal of food for thought in a few words… a simple short sentence had to convey a great deal of subtle meaning. He turned out boys with the ability, trained by long periods of silence, of giving pointed, honed responses.”

So while this one instance is a good indicator of a decent, “fuck you” response, in reality there are a good number of equally as short and offensive statements made by Spartans throughout their reign as the most powerful of the Greek city states.

Unfortunately, this one was uttered after Sparta had already conceded its position in the region as the most powerful city state to Thebes, having lost the battle at Leuctra to them in 371 BCE.

Edit: For posterity, the reference that I’m using here is Greek Lives by Plutarch, as translated by Robin Waterfield. The Google Book preview has the entire “Life of Lycurgus” viewable online, but I am unsure of the other “Life of” stories.

Edit 2: If you’d like to read more on Sparta, Athens, the Greco-Persian War, etc. I’ve suggested these two books in addition to the one linked previously:

The Landmark Herodotus’ “The Histories” is another one I’d recommend. Herodotus is a bit more dry than Plutarch, but a big reason is he’s not giving personalized narratives concerning lives, and instead is giving in depth historical accounts of the Greco-Persian Wars.

And if you’d like to get really dry, pick up Raphael Sealey’s A History of the Greek City States 700-338 B.C. This one was the hardest for me to read, but really gives you the most historical depth in relation to what modern discoveries we’ve made concerning the works of the previously mentioned authors and other ancient scribes of the time.

Redditor /u/Differently also suggests Stephen Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire” and “Tides of War” if you’d like a less scholastic approach to the histories.

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todayilearned

Number Of Links

1

Sum Of Upvotes

1116

Amazon Price

$3.0

NSFW Product

SFW

Book Binding

Mass Market Paperback

Type Code

ABIS_BOOK

Book Author

Steven Pressfield

Book Edition

1st

Book Publisher

Bantam

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Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

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TIL Philip of Macedon sent a message to Sparta saying, “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your

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