About Molwn Labe
In 480 B.C. the forces of the Persian Empire under King Xerxes, numbering, according to Herodotus, two million men, bridged the Hellespont and marched in their myriads to invade and enslave Greece.
King Leonidas of Sparta and another Greek city-state agreed to help stop the invading Persians, and marched with 300 hand-picked troops to Thermopylae on the north coast of Greece. Thermopylae was the best of three possible defensive areas in which Xerxes' invading army had to advance. This mountain gap along the coast was about 60 feet wide, and was the best location for a blocking action. The confines between mountains and sea were so narrow that the Persian multitudes and their cavalry would be at least partially neutralized. Since the 300 knew they were going to die fighting against overwhelming force the first requirement was that each man had to have a son left behind.
When Leonidas was preparing to make his stand, a Persian envoy arrived. The envoy explained to Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the huge Persian army and demanded that the Spartans lay down their arms. Leonidas told Xerxes "MOLWN LABE", or "Come And Get Them."
"Our archers are so numerous," said the envoy, "that the flight of their arrows darkens the sun."
"So much the better," replied Dienekes, a Spartan warrior, "for we shall fight them in the shade."
After days of fighting and having killed countless numbers of Xerxes' elite troops, they were finally overrun after being betrayed by a traitor who showed the enemy another pass behind the defenders. King Leonidas, his Spartans and their Thespian allies died to the last man. Xerxes marched on and destroyed Athens. The standard of valor set by this sacrifice inspired the Greeks to rally and, in that fall and spring, defeat the Persians at Salamis and Plataea and preserve the beginnings of Western democracy and freedom from perishing in the cradle.
Two memorials remain today at Thermopylae. Upon the modern one, called the Leonidas Monument in honor of the Spartan king who fell there, is engraved his response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms. Leonidas' reply was two words:
" 'Come and get them.' "
The second monument is a plaque dedicated to those heroes at the site. It reads: "Go tell the Spartans, travelers passing by, that here, obedient to their laws we lie." The point of this true story is when anybody demands you to give up your guns, tell them "MOLWN LABE". You may fall in the first fight, but many more will step into your place and a determined and organized people can do anything.
Molwn Labe! (mo-lone lah-veh)
They mean, “Come and get them!” They live on today as the most notable quote in military history. And so began the classic example of courage and valor in its dismissal of overwhelming superiority of numbers, wherein the heart and spirit of brave men overcame insuperable odds.
We have adopted this defiant utterance as a battle cry in our war against oppression because it says so clearly and simply towards those who would take our arms.
It signifies our determination to not strike the first blow, but also to not stand mute and allow our loved ones, and all that we believe in and stand for, to be trampled by men who would deprive us of our God-given – or natural, if you will – rights to suit their own ends.
Last updated, April 07, 2010
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