A ceremony marking the last stand of the 300 Spartans and their Greek allies against the Persian hordes of King Xerxes at the Pass of Thermopylae, a gallant battle that helped save Western Civilization, was marked on Aug. 8.
Some 2,493 years ago, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history’s most famous battles.
A small force led by legendary King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the only road through which the massive army of Xerxes I of Persia (Xerxes the Great) could pass. After three days of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a mountain path that led behind the Greek lines.
Dismissing the rest of the army, King Leonidas stayed behind with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespian volunteers. Despite the fact the the Persians succeeded in taking the pass, thus they sustained heavy losses, extremely disproportionate to those of the Greeks.
The fierce resistance of the Spartan-led army offered Athens the invaluable time to prepare for a decisive naval battle that would come to determine the outcome of the war.
The subsequent Greek victory at the Battle of Salamis left much of the Persian Empire’s navy destroyed and Xerxes was forced to retreat to Asia, leaving his army in Greece under Mardonius, who was to meet the Greeks in battle one last time.
The Spartans assembled at full strength and led a pan-Greek army that defeated the Persians decisively at the Battle of Plataea, ending the Greco-Persian War and with it the expansion of the Persian Empire into Europe.
The video below is a tribute made by American historians and experts over the 300 of Leonidas.