Molon Labe (ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ)

Molon Labe (ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ)

Molon Labe (ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ)

If there was but two word that evoke the Unconquered philosophy more as definitively as the phrase “Molôn Labe”.

“Molon Labe” the fearless laconic expression of defiance, spoken by King Leonidas I of Sparta in response to the tyrannical King Xerxes I of Persia where it is estimated that 300 Spartans soldiers alongside 7,000 Greek Hoplites stood against an estimated Persian force of 300,000 and certain death. The response was to Xerxes I demand to lay down their arms and surrender. What ensued was a 3 day battle; the Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC, and one of the biggest feats of bravery ever told.

When Xerxes wrote again, ‘Hand over your arms,’ he wrote in reply, ‘Come and take them’ (Molôn Labe)” - Plutarch the Lives of the Noble Greek and Romans (aka Parallel Lives)

The phrase (Pronounced as Molon La-avey) directly translates as “Come take”, with modern tongue preferring the phrase “Come and take them”. This taunt of fearlessness instigated the Persia forces to advance on King Leonidas and his Spartan soldiers. By using guile and tactful advantages the unwavering Spartans unleashed disproportionate damage to the Persians, however, tactically the Spartans where defeated.

Not yet the moral behind the phrase, this stand was considered as a strategic and moral victory. It sparked the beacon of change and call to arms that rallied as well as unifying the Greek states to go on to defeat the Persians a year later. The sacrifice also allowed for the remaining population of Sparta to flee to safety.

To comprehend the moral behind this phrase, its true metaphor that ‘meaning’ for man far outweighs any pursuit of happiness. To stand forth right in the face of adversity or ‘slay the dragon’ as put by Prof Jordan Peterson. Hold precedence over a greater cause than ones being. An extreme example none the less but a clear message of responsibility and unwavering courage. Do not what should be done but what needs to be done. A message that defies history as equally as it defies death. Molon Labe.

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