The legendary battle of the Spartans #4
The Persians could not develop their numerical superiority at the Thermopylae narrow pass. The Spartans fought in shifts, hurled the barrier at the enemy in protection of their shield wall and fended off attack after attack.
Raging with anger, Xerxes sent his elite infantry into the field, the 10,000 immortals. Suddenly the Spartan king Leonidas inflicts the unimaginable, the retreat. The Persians streamed into the pass and into the trap. At the given signal the Spartans turned back. Against the barrier of the Spartan phalanx, the 10,000 immortal were powerless.
For two days the mighty Persian was kept in chess, then luck turned. A traitor showed the Persians a path through the mountain. Part of Xerxes army took it away and showed up behind the Spartans. For Leonidas the siege was hopeless, he ordered his Greek allies to retreat. With his 300 Spartans, he wanted to withstand the entire Persian army, and to hold it up as long as possible. Full of admiration 700 warriors of the city state Thespiae stayed behind to fight on the side of the Spartans.
In the course of the battle beside Aristodemos, there was Auretas, the commander of the Thespiae, who were also recognized as a Spartan. Leonidas had ordered them to rest, but now the Persians came threateningly close. Auretas sent for his armor and put it on. Aristodemos was stung by courage and he stayed behind.
The Spartans now met the enemy outside the pass and many of the opponents were slain, then they were thrown into the sea and drowned there, far more simply trampled down without regard to who it was. Because the Greeks knew that they would die by the hand of the enemy who came around the mountain. They fought with all their might against the Persians who were rushing in wildly.
In the middle of the battle king Leonidas fell. Now fierce fights broke out for his corpse. After their spears had burst and their rows broken, the remaining Spartans retreated to a last resistance on a hill. There they defended themselves with their swords, if they still had any, and with their fists and teeth until the Persians overpowered them with their shots. So the Spartans and Thespiae held out until the last breath.
Except for two, all Spartans were slain. Later a simple monument was erected at the pass. It bore the handwriting:
Wanderer, come you to Sparta, announce there you have seen us lying here, as the law ordered.
A warrior did not lie there, Aristodemos.
For a Spartan this was the worst fate.