This is a story I wrote for History in like… June. Anyhoo. You might get a kick out of it.
Sometimes, I wish I weren’t a Spartan. For example, when the war with Persia started, and our heralds waltzed in and declared Sparta would not permit the invasion of Ionian Greece. That gesture was the equivalent of poking a bear with a stick. Thanks, Spartan heritage! Really smart! I applaud our general lack of brains.
Life in Athens would be so much easier. Constant debating, democracy, all that corruption—well, now that I think about it, the only plus side would have been I wouldn’t have been drafted at two.
Hello. I’m Leonadas, hero of the battle of Thermopoylae. By the way, if you’re reading this, you’re probably dead. I know I am! Enjoying Elysium?
The Athenians would know more about the first part of the battle than I do, but I’ll give you a general outline, just to set the stage for my part. First of all, overland, the Persians were getting the worst luck in battle. We held the pass, middle gate, the entrance to Old Greece for all you modern day uninformed—what’s the word in English; insults in Greek were so much easier! After that, we took to the sea. Xerxes captured three of our ships before he landed. I have to give the guy credit; he is persistent.
Poseidon summoned a storm, and four hundred of the Persian ships were destroyed. The Athenians were basically like: Yay us! Thanks Poseidon! Great doing business with you buddy! Here’re a couple sacrifices for luck!
The Athenians took ship at Artemesium, (no, I have literally no idea what you modern people renamed it.) Fifteen of the Persian ships mistook our navy for theirs, and we captured them. Meanwhile, the main Persian force landed at Aphetae, and traveled to Trachis, while we occupied Pylae pass.
Unfortunately for us, the Olympic Games were going on at the time, so the advanced guards went off in advance (hmm, I wonder why.) I was with them, and I remember to this day how the Persians advanced on us. The sun glittered off their helmets and spears, and the colorful banners fluttered gaily in the wind. After much debate, we held to our positions though we knew the main army would not reach us in time.
Xerxes believed we would retreat (insufferably presumptuous I say,) and waited four days for us to do so. On the fifth day, he fell into a great rage like; how dare they not run! I rule Persia! I only floss once every seventeen years! Fear my power and my plaque!
(Okay, maybe not exactly like that.) He sent the Medes, believing they could defeat us. Sorry old chap, we’re not that frail. I fought alongside my comrades all day. They sent their finest troops, and attacked again and again. We held our lines, though we were few. At last, a filthy traitor betrayed us to the Persians, showing a way to our position.
The rest of the Greeks fled. That was probably smart, but a Spartan never deserts a post. I united the Spartans under my command. A man brought us news that there were Persians enough to hide the sun.
Diences turned to me with a laugh. “This is pleasant news that the stranger from Trachis brings us: if the Persians hide the sun, we shall have our battle in the shade!”
I clapped him on the shoulder.
For hours we fought, each man sustaining great injuries. I still remember my spirit lingering on the field until each of my comrades died. We gave the rest of Greece time to regroup. How dearly did we pay the price. Sparta—the only welfare state to have citizens who never got lazy.
Like it? Hate it? Think the Spartans didn’t use that much irony and sarcasm?
Tell me in the comments!
God bless you!