Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country, Mourn for the loss of a king, descendant of great Heracles. The stranger is also asked to stress that the Spartans died 'fulfilling their orders'. The headless male figure symbolizes the anonymous sacrifice of the 700 Thespians to their country. 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Finally, it moved to attack Athens, landing at the bay of Marathon, where it was met by a heavily outnumbered Athenian army.  Thermopylae is famous because of the heroism of the doomed rearguard, who, despite facing certain death, remained at the pass. Relevance. The naked body symbolizes Eros, the most important god of the ancient Thespians, a god of creation, beauty and life. The Battle of Thermopylae (/θərˈmɒpɪliː/ thər-MOP-i-lee; Greek: Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Máchē tōn Thermopylōn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas I of Sparta, and the Achaemenid Empire of Xerxes I. 7. First, he ordered 5,000 archers to shoot a barrage of arrows, but they were ineffective; they shot from at least 100 yards away, according to modern day scholars, and the Greeks' wooden shields (sometimes covered with a very thin layer of bronze) and bronze helmets deflected the arrows.  As at Thermopylae, making this an effective strategy required the Greek navy to stage a simultaneous blockade, barring the passage of the Persian navy across the Saronic Gulf, so that troops could not be landed directly on the Peloponnese. Moreover, by defending two constricted passages (Thermopylae and Artemisium), the Greeks' inferior numbers became less of a factor. The Battle of Thermopylae During the 5 th century BC, the Persians were out to conquer the world, including the powerful city-states of Greece.  However, not wishing to be delayed, the Persians merely shot a volley of arrows at them, before bypassing them to continue with their encirclement of the main Greek force. Although coming from a mountainous country, the Persians were not prepared for the real nature of the country they had invaded. It has been reported that others also remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans.  Curtius describes the subsequent battle fought by the surrounded, unarmed Persians as "memorable".  Also present were the 400 Thebans and probably the helots who had accompanied the Spartans.  It has also been suggested that Leonidas, recalling the words of the Oracle, was committed to sacrificing his life in order to save Sparta. , The Athenians had also been preparing for war with the Persians since the mid-480s BC, and in 482 BC the decision was taken, under the guidance of the Athenian politician Themistocles, to build a massive fleet of triremes that would be essential for the Greeks to fight the Persians.  Ephialtes was motivated by the desire for a reward. , Herodotus tells us that Leonidas, in line with the prophecy, was convinced he was going to certain death since his forces were not adequate for a victory, and so he selected only Spartans with living sons. The remaining soldiers fought to the death. It has also been proposed that the failure to retreat from Thermopylae gave rise to the notion that Spartans never retreated. A Thessalian delegation suggested that the Greeks could muster in the narrow Vale of Tempe, on the borders of Thessaly, and thereby block Xerxes' advance. ... Xerxes had every reason to congratulate himself", while Lazenby describes the Greek defeat as "disastrous"..  Leonidas chose to camp at, and defend, the "middle gate", the narrowest part of the pass of Thermopylae, where the Phocians had built a defensive wall some time before. As discussed in Immediate Consequences , the rear-guard and battle in general were very successful in temporarily delaying the progress of the invasion across Central Greece. The Athenian Acropolis was destroyed by the Persians, but the Athenian response was to build the beautiful buildings whose ruins we can still see today. This was remarkable for the disjointed and chaotic Greek world, especially since many of the city-states in attendance were still technically at war with each other. Themistocles was in command of the Greek Navy at Artemisium when he received news that the Persians had taken the pass at Thermopylae. The broken wing symbolizes the voluntary sacrifice and death. This offended the proud Greeks greatly; the Athenians went so far as to toss the Persian heralds into a pit, while the Spartans followed suit and tossed them into a well. Uncertain as the naval battle at Artemisium and set out to conquer all Greece! Are several monuments around the battlefield was nothing that Xerxes had crossed the Hellespont overran Boeotia and then began advance! ] also present were the 400 Thebans and probably the helots who had accompanied the,. Long-Term planning, stockpiling, and the throne of Persia passed to his son Xerxes I by and! 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