300 - Thermopylae and Rise of an Empire - Preface

300 - Thermopylae and Rise of an Empire - Preview Image

This statue of Leonidas is located in the city of Sparta.  Photo by Praxinoa, online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.  License:  CC BY-SA 3.0 


[The Spartans]
are the equal of any men
when they fight as individuals;
fighting together
as a collective,
they surpass all other men.

Demaratus (former Spartan king) to Xerxes
Reported by Herodotus in Histories 7.104

Xerxes, also called the Great King, was on the move. The Persian leader - who considered himself a god - had amassed a huge army. Herodotus says it numbered 1,700,000 men from forty subject countries. Their destination? Greece.

Inheriting a substantial empire from his father - Darius I - Xerxes already had nearly everything a king could want. The ruins, for example, of his palace at Persepolis - in today’s Iran - are magnificent. But the battle, against Greece, would be personal.

This fight was about revenge.


ISSUES AND QUESTIONS TO PONDER:   When Demaratus said that Spartan warriors, fighting together, surpassed "all other men," he was making a point about collaboration.  Do you think that collaborating with others, as a team, always leads to better results?  Why, or why not?  


Original Release Date:  February, 2007
Updated March, 2014

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 3706

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