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At the height of the Greek/Persian War, Xerxes, King of Persia, led the largest army ever assembled into Greece with the intention of conquering the whole country. In response, King Leonidas of Sparta rallied just 300 Spartan warriors to join a few thousand other Greek troops. This force lay in wait in the pass at Thermopylae to delay the might of the Persian Army, estimated at over a million men.
They seemed impossible odds - yet the Spartans and their allies held the narrow pass for seven days in August 480 BC, inflicting shocking casualties on the Persians and fighting until every last defender was slain.
After Custer, Thermopylae is the most famous last stand in history. It is still used today by military academies around the world as an example of how a group of well trained and well led soldiers can have an impact out of all proportion to their numbers.
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