Thermopylae

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Thermopylae is a location in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs
Mineral spring
Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value...

. "Hot gates" is also "the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

".

Thermopylae is primarily known for the battle that took place there between the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 forces including the 300 Spartan
Spartan
A Spartan is a person from the Greek city Sparta or the ancient Greek city-state of the same name. In the latter context, the term "Spartan" in its most technical sense refers to a member of the Spartiate caste and under some usages also encompasses the class of mothakes, residents of Sparta who...

s and the Persian forces, spawning the famous epitaph beginning with "Go tell the Spartans". It is also the locality of the city Anthela
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important...

 (Ἀνθήλη), where the first Amphictyony is mentioned.

Geography



Thermopylae is located in eastern central Greece on the only land route large enough to bear any significant traffic between Lokris and Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

. Passage from north to south along the east coast of the Balkan peninsula requires use of the pass. Further west the way is blocked by mountains and the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

. For this reason the area has been the site of several battles.

The ancient name of the region was Malis
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important...

 after the Malians
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important...

  , a Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. The Malian Gulf
Malian Gulf
The Malian or Maliac Gulf is a gulf of the Aegean Sea in the region of Phthiotis in eastern Central Greece. The gulf is named after the ancient Malians who lived on its shores....

 is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis
Trachis
Trachis was a region in ancient Greece. Situated south of the river Spercheios, it was populated by the Malians.Its main town was also called Trachis until 426 BC, when it became Heraclea Trachinia. It is located to the west of Thermopylae. Trachis is located just west of the western-most tip of...

. In the town of Anthela
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important...

, the Malians had an important temple of Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

, an early centre of the Anthelan Amphictiony
Amphictyonic League
In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

.

The area is dominated by the coastal floodplain of the Spercheios River
Spercheios River
The Spercheios is a river in the Central Greece geographical region, of Greece. The river begins in Eurytania Prefecture in the Panaitoliko mountains and flows northeast from near Megalo Chorio and into Karpenisi and flows within GR-38 and through Agios Georgios Tymfistos south of the Tymfistos...

, surrounded by steeply sloping forested limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 mountains. The continuous deposition of sediment from the river and travertine
Travertine
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot...

 deposits from the hot springs has substantially altered the landscape during the past few thousand years. The land surface on which the famous Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August...

 was fought in 480 BC
480 BC
Year 480 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vibulanus and Cincinnatus...

 is now buried under 20 metres (65.6 ft) of soil. The shoreline has retreated greatly over the centuries because of the sedimentary deposition. The level of the Malian Gulf
Malian Gulf
The Malian or Maliac Gulf is a gulf of the Aegean Sea in the region of Phthiotis in eastern Central Greece. The gulf is named after the ancient Malians who lived on its shores....

 was significantly higher during prehistoric times and the Spercheios was significantly shorter. The shoreline retreated by up to 2 kilometers between 2500 BC and 480 BC but still left several extremely narrow passages between the sea and the mountains. The narrowest point on the plain, where the Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August...

 was probably fought, would have been less than 100 metres (328.1 ft) wide. Between 480 BC and the 21st century, the shoreline retreated by as much as 9 km (5.6 mi) in places, eliminating the narrowest points of the pass and considerably increasing the size of the plain around the outlet of the Spercheios.

A main highway now splits the pass, with a modern-day monument to King Leonidas I
Leonidas I
Leonidas I was a hero-king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendant of Heracles, possessing much of the latter's strength and bravery...

 of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 on the east side of the highway. It is directly across the road from the hill where Simonides of Ceos
Simonides of Ceos
Simonides of Ceos was a Greek lyric poet, born at Ioulis on Kea. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets, along with Bacchylides and Pindar...

's epitaph
Epitaph
An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial...

 is engraved in stone at the top. Thermopylae is part of the infamous "horseshoe of Maliakos
Malian Gulf
The Malian or Maliac Gulf is a gulf of the Aegean Sea in the region of Phthiotis in eastern Central Greece. The gulf is named after the ancient Malians who lived on its shores....

" also known as the "horseshoe of death": it is the narrowest part of the highway connecting the north and the south of Greece. It has many turns and has been the site of many vehicular accidents.

The hot springs from which the pass derives its name still exist close to the foot of the hill.

Etymology


Thermopylae means "hot gates" in Greek and the name is related with its hot sulphur springs
Mineral spring
Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value...

. This is also the place of cavernous entrances to Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

. The first mentioned Amphictyony centered on the cult of Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 at the city Anthela in the locality of Thermopylae.The delegates to the Amphictiony were entitled Pylagorai (gate-assemblers), perhaps a reference to the local gates of Hades, since Demeter was a chthonic goddess in many of her older local cults.

In a Greek myth is mentioned that Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 had jumped into the river in an attempt to wash off the Hydra
Lernaean Hydra
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even...

 poison infused in the cloak that he could not take off. The river was said to have become hot and stayed that way ever since.

Battles




Greco-Persian Wars



Thermopylae is primarily known for the battle that took place there in 480
480
Year 480 was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Basilius without colleague...

 BC
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

, in which an outnumbered Greek force probably of seven thousand (including the famous 300 Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns, 500 warriors from Tegea
Tegea
Tegea was a settlement in ancient Greece, and it is also a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tripoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Its seat was the village Stadio....

, 500 from Mantinea, 120 from Arcadian Orchomenos, 1000 from the rest of Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

, 200 from Phlius
Phlius
Phlius was a Greek city in the northwestern Argolid, in the Peloponnese, said to be named after the Greek hero, Phlias. Although geographically close to Argos, the city became a Spartan ally and a member of the Peloponnesian League....

, 80 from Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, 700 Corinthians, 400 Thebans, 1000 Phocians and the Opuntian Locrians
Locris
Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.-Locrian tribe:...

 ) held off a substantially larger force of Persians estimated in the range 70,000-300,000 under Xerxes
Xerxes I of Persia
Xerxes I of Persia , Ḫšayāršā, ), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire.-Youth and rise to power:...

. Probably three thousand Greeks remained in the pass when most of the army retreated.

For three days they held out between two narrow cliff faces to prevent the use of Xerxes' vast cavalry and infantry force, before being outflanked on the third day via a hidden goat path named the Anopaea Pass. According to the Greek legend, a traitor named Ephialtes of Trachis showed the path to the invaders.The following epigram by Simonides
Simonides
* Simonides of Ceos, , a lyric poet* Semonides of Amorgos, an iambic poet* Flavius Simonides Agrippa, son of Roman Jewish Historian Josephus* Constantine Simonides, 19th-century forger of 'ancient' manuscripts...

 was written on the monument: " Oh stranger, tell to the Lacedaemonians (Spartan
Spartan
A Spartan is a person from the Greek city Sparta or the ancient Greek city-state of the same name. In the latter context, the term "Spartan" in its most technical sense refers to a member of the Spartiate caste and under some usages also encompasses the class of mothakes, residents of Sparta who...

s), that we lie here , obedient to their words. "

Third Sacred War



In 353 BC/352
352
Year 352 was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Decentius and Paulus...

 BC during the Third Sacred War, fought mainly between the forces of the Delphic Amphictyonic League, principally represented by Thebes, and latterly by Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

, and the Phocians. The war was caused by a large fine imposed on the Phocians in 357
357
Year 357 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Constantius and Iulianus...

 BC for cultivating sacred land. The Spartans, who were also fined in that war, actually never fought in it as they were later pardoned.

Gallic invasion of the Balkans



In 279
279
Year 279 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Probus and Paternus...

 BC a Gallic
Gauls
The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

 army led by Brennus
Brennus (3rd century BC)
Brennus was one of the leaders of the army of Gallic invasion of the Balkans, defeated the assembled Greeks at Thermopylae, and is popularly reputed to have sacked and looted Delphi, although the ancient sources do not support this.In 280 BC a great army, comprising about 85,000 warriors, coming...

 initially engaged the Aetolians who were forced into tactic retreat and which was finally routed by the Thessalians and Malians by the river Spercheios.

Roman-Seleucid Wars



In 191
191
Year 191 was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Apronianus and Bradua...

 BC Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great Seleucid Greek king who became the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire as a youth of about eighteen in 223 BC. Antiochus was an ambitious ruler who ruled over Greater Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC...

 of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 attempted in vain to hold the pass against the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio.

Balkan invasion by the Heruli



In 267
267
Year 267 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Paternus and Arcesilaus...

, the Germanic tribe of Heruli
Heruli
The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe who are famous for their naval exploits. Migrating from Northern Europe to the Black Sea in the third century They were part of the...

 defeated the Roman force that tried to stop them.

Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars



In 997
997
Year 997 was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :* First documented reference to the City of Gdańsk....

, the Bulgarian Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Samuel invaded Greece and advanced as far as the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

. On his return, he was met by a Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 army under Nikephoros Ouranos
Nikephoros Ouranos
Nikephoros Ouranos was a high-ranking Byzantine official and general during the reign of Emperor Basil II. One of the emperor's closest associates, he was active in Europe in the wars against the Bulgarians, scoring a major victory at Spercheios, and against the Arabs in Syria, where he held...

 at Spercheios. As the river was flooded, both sides encamped on opposite sides without action. Confident that the Byzantines could not cross the river, the Bulgarians relaxed their guard, and were taken by surprise when Byzantine scouts discovered a ford further upriver.

Greek War of Independence



In 1821, a force of Greek fighters led by Athanasios Diakos
Athanasios Diakos
Athanasios Diakos , a Greek military commander during the Greek War of Independence and a national hero, was born Athanasios Nikolaos Massavetas in the village of Ano Mousounitsa, Phocis.-Early life:...

 made a stand near the pass to stop a force of 8,000 Turks from marching down from Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 to put down revolts in Roumeli and the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

. Diakos, after making a last stand at the bridge of Alamana
Spercheios River
The Spercheios is a river in the Central Greece geographical region, of Greece. The river begins in Eurytania Prefecture in the Panaitoliko mountains and flows northeast from near Megalo Chorio and into Karpenisi and flows within GR-38 and through Agios Georgios Tymfistos south of the Tymfistos...

 with 48 of his men, was captured and killed.

World War II



In 1941 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the ANZAC forces delayed the invading German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 forces in the area enough to allow the evacuation of the British expeditionary force to Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

. This conflict also became known as the Battle of Thermopylae. Such was the fame of Thermopylae that the sabotage
Operation Harling
Operation Harling was a World War II mission by the British Special Operations Executive , in cooperation with the Greek Resistance groups ELAS and EDES, which destroyed the heavily guarded Gorgopotamos viaduct in Central Greece on 25 November 1942...

 of the Gorgopotamos bridge in 1942 was referred in German documents of the era as "the recent sabotage near Thermopylae".

The Anthelan Amphictiony


An ancient Amphictyony, probably the earliest centred on the cult of Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 at Anthele
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them. In the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. Their main town was Trachis. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important...

 (Ἀνθήλη), which lay on the coast of Malis south of Thessaly. This was the locality of Thermopylae. Those living around the temple were named Amphictyones ("dwellers-round").
The twelve delegates to the Amphictiony met in spring and autumn, and were entitled Pylagorai ("gate-assemblers"). The immediate dwellers-round, presumably the first members were the small states Aeniania, Malis and Doris
Doris
- Geography :* Doris , region of Asia Minor inhabited by Dorians* Doris , region in central Greece in which the Dorians had their traditional homeland* Doris, Iowa, USA- People :* Doris, mother of Antipater...

.Certainly Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 did have a share, including the states of the Boeotian
Boeotian
Boeotian may refer to:* The people from Boeotia, a region of central ancient Greece* One of several sub-dialects of the Aeolic Greek dialect of the Greek language, spoken by the Boeotians....

 tribes who lived around Thessaly (perioikoi, "living around"). Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

 and Phokis the remotest may have joined during or after the "First Sacred War", which led to the defeat of the old priesthood and to a new control of the prosperity of the oracle at Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

.

As a result of the war the Anthelan body was known thenceforth as the Delphic Amphictyony
Amphictyonic League
In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

 and became the official overseer and military defender of the Delphic cult. The name Hellenes, which was originally the name of a Boeotian tribe in Thessalic
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 Phthia
Phthia
Phthia , Phthíē ) in ancient Greece was the southernmost region of ancient Thessaly, on both sides of Othrys Mountain. It was the homeland of the Myrmidones tribe, who took part in the Trojan War under Achilles....

, (Achaea Phthiotis) may be related to the members of the league and may have been broadened to refer to all Greeks when the myth of their patriarch Hellen
Hellen
Hellen , the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".Each of his sons founded a primary tribe of...

 was invented.

See also

  • Battle of Thermopylae
    Battle of Thermopylae
    The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August...

  • Battle of Thermopylae in popular culture
    Battle of Thermopylae in popular culture
    The Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, has long been the topic of cultural inspiration, as it is perhaps the most famous military last stand of all time. This "against all odds" story is passed to us from the writings of the Greek Herodotus, who was not present at the battle himself...

  • Amphictyonic League
    Amphictyonic League
    In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...


External links