The Legacy of Thermopylae

dsc_1051__sized[1]2586901971_84e687e138[1]Spartan_helmet_2_British_Museum[1]History fascinates me. The people, the calculations, the chances taken. Those not taken. The courage, the fear. How fate intervenes. And most of all the impact on the future.

One of the best known battles in Western civilization is the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC between the Greeks and the invading Persians. It’s also a great example of how public relations works. We all know of the heroic Leonidas and his 300 Spartans. But how often do we acknowledge the 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans who fought to the death with them?

Thermopylae has always grabbed me by the throat and shaken me and yelled in my ear “Look! This is important!”

Or was it?

Historians have revisited and reevaluated the meaning of this battle countless times. The current thinking is very different from what I was taught about it in early high school. And that’s good. Constantly reevaluating is a sign of progress and an admission we don’t have all the answers.  Every time I am in Greece and near the area, I visit the site of the battle and look at the monuments. The first time was over 40 years ago, the last a few years back. It always makes me think. And reevaluate consequences.

But my role here is not education, dear reader, it is entertainment. Don’t worry, I do know my place.

All this preface to say that I feel I had my own mini Marty-Thermopylae. It began in London in the late 1960s. I believe it had a profound affect on the Marty of today.

Or did it?

Perhaps if I write these things down, which I never have before, I too, mini-Marty historian that I am, may not only remember, but reevaluate those consequences and the legacy. I know I don’t have all those answers.

It may prove to be interesting. Please stay tuned.