I've been seeing these two words more and more often. What do they mean, I asked myself? I set out to find an answer, as much for me as for you. Here's what I found:
Molon Labe (Mo-lone Lah-veh) is Greek for "Come and Take". Simple enough. End of story.... or maybe not.
Way back in 480 BCE the Greeks were about to be invaded by the Persians. Many thought that this was pretty much a "Done Deal" since the Greeks were oh, so outnumbered by the Persians.
Thermopylae was a convenient and much used pass at the base of the mountains that was bordered by the Aegean Sea. Uphill from the pass was a steep cliff. Downhill was a steep cliff plunging into the sea. In between was a narrow strip of land that barely allowed access as a road. A very tight fit and easy to defend.
The 300 Spartans took a position at the entrance to the pass and waited for the Persians to arrive.
A bit here about the 300: Men in Sparta were trained from childhood to be strong, tough warriors. They were able to get by and even thrive with very little but a shield and a sword. These guys were the S.E.A.L.S. or Delta Force or Spetsnaz of their time. Nobody messed with them! They were fearless and dedicated to their home and their King.
So, the 300 waited at Thermopylae for the Persian army to arrive and arrive they did! The 300 Spartans were facing an army of 600,000 warriors led by King Xerxes (Zerk-seas). Because of the geography, the 300 were able to hold off the army of 600,000 for a full 3 days. How?
Because the pass at Thermopylae was so narrow, the Persians could only front so many men to face the 300. They kept attacking and they kept dying. Day after day the 300 held their position. Xerxes saw what was happening and decided to send his "Immortals" to the front.
The Immortals were the Persian shock troops of the time. No army had ever stood up to the Immortals. The 300 did not budge. The Immortals were pushed back but not without cost. Some of the 300 were killed but the cost to the Persians was very high.
When Xerxes saw that his 600,000 man army was stalled by a mere 300 warriors he made them a deal: "Throw down your swords and return to your homes and you will be allowed to live". After considering the offer, King Leonidas replied, "Molon Labe!". Come and take! (If you want our weapons, come and take them from us!)
The battle raged on and in the end the 300 Spartans were defeated and to a man, killed, but they held out long enough to allow the citizens of Athens to evacuate to a safer place and avoid death at the hands of the Persians.
To this day there is a plaque at the site of the Battle of Thermopylae. It reads:
" Go tell the Spartans, Travelers passing by, That here, Obedient to their laws, We lie!"
(The photos above are from the film, "300" starring Gerard Butler as Leonidas. It's a spectacular bit of cinema if you ever get a chance to see it, do so.)
The 300 lost the battle but what an inspiring story of courage and dedication!
So? What does all this have to do with seeing MOLON LABE printed here and there?
Molon Labe has sort of become the de-facto motto of the pro-gun movement.
Our government wants to disarm it's citizens. Citizens who own firearms legally protected by our constitution. Law abiding citizens who have exercised their Constitutional Rights to do so. These are the folks the government gun grabbers fear.
The next time you see these words somewhere, you'll know (if you didn't already) what they mean and what they stand for. Use these words in your correspondence, in your e-mails, on your web sites, forums and blogs! Let your friends and associates know where you stand.
As the Geezer I'm getting crotchety in my old age but I still have rights and I intend to exercise them for as long as I can - Molon Labe!
Thanks for reading this! Pass it on!