Leonidas: The King of Sparta10-06-2013 18:11Leonidas, king of Sparta is best remembered for leading a force of 300 and his self sacrifice at the Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 B.C. in order to delay the marching of Persians to the southern mainland of Greece as it is described by Greek historian
Leonidas was born in Sparta in 510 B.C. and was the second son of King Anaxandridas. Because Leonidas was not the immediate heir to the throne, he was not exempt from attending the agoge, the public school that the sons of all Spartans had to complete in order to qualify for citizenship, being one of the few Spartan kings to have ever undergone the notoriously harsh Spartan training. Since Cleomenes, the heir of the throne was sent to exile, Leonidas became King of Sparta in 490 BC the same year when Athens sought assistance against the Persian invasion that ended with the Battle of Marathon.
In late summer of 480 B.C. while Sparta and its allies celebrated Carneian and Olympic festivals, the Spartans sent Leonidas as the leader of the resist against Persian invasion in central Greece. Leonidas went out to meet Xerxes' army at Thermopylae with a small force of 300 men, a relatively small force compared with the two millions of the Persian army. According to Herodotus, the Spartans sent the men with Leonidas on ahead so that the rest of the allies would see them and march with no fear of defeat.
Thermopylae is a narrow seaside mountain pass that connects Thessaly and northeast-central Greece, just under 6,5 kilometers long and less than 15 meters wide at its narrowest point with the river Spercheios flowing on the north of the pass. The name of Thermopylae meaning hot gates refers to the local sulphur springs.
On the Greek side, the object of the Battle of Thermopylae was to stop the enemy at the narrow points north of the Greek heartland. Unfortunately, it was the effort was undermined by the leaders of Sparta, who declined to send the main army so Leonidas was left to hold Thermopylae with his small force. Leonidas is ascribed with the saying “come and get it” as an answer to Xerxes’ demand of surrender.
The Persians and the Medes unable to use their superior numbers in the narrow passage fell back repeatedly with heavy losses. Even Xerxes’ elite legion of
Immortals failed to push through. But, after two days, with the help of a traitorous local Greek named Ephialtes, the Persians found a mountain footpath that brought their troops down behind the Greek lines.
At that point, Leonidas sent away all Greek troops and remained in the pass with his 300 Spartans, 900 Helots, and 700 Thespians who refused to leave. They fought until they were all killed. Their epitaph is summarized in the inscription: “Go tell the Spartans, O passerby, That here we lie, complying with their orders”.
Although in military terms Thermopylae was a failure the battle became very significant in emotional and patriotic terms. The bravery and patriotism of these men still goes on inspiring till now as it has been depicted in the action film “300” starring Gerard Butler. At the place of the battlefield there is now a bronze statue of King Leonidas.
Touristorama has been travelling all around Greece and its islands for over a decade. This year, during our trip to Naxos, the biggest of the Cyclades complex, we discovered an interesting spot, perfect for your night out on the island… which is what we do best: finding the best places and then propose you should visit them! Prime is a Scandinavian Bar, located on a privileged position in Chora of Naxos, opposite the port. It’s been operating for 21 years and enjoys a great fame to both foreign and local tourists.
It opened in 2004 and soon became one of the favourite dining spots in Santorini. It is called Metaxy mas which means.. between us, but it is not a secret any more that this restaurant has a rich menu with almost 40 different dishes and appetizers based on traditional Greek cuisine.
Explore the fascinating volcanic island of Santorini the way you want it yourself! Enjoy a unique accommodation experience, with huge doses of privacy and luxury by choosing to stay in Incognito Villa.
Like a relay race of three generations; a journey with happy days, sad days, joys, sorrows, wars, Occupation, poverty, hunger, deaths, volcanic eruptions, catastrophic earthquakes, flee for a better life, return, better days, feasts, tourism explosion, financial crises and so on… Everything has been indelibly inscribed on the walls of this small building, Aktaion. I feel grateful that life has given me the opportunity to hold the reins of Aktaion all the way to its centennial.
We have been choosing Parea Tavern for our meals and dinners for 14 years! Every time someone from Touristorama travels to the island of Santorini, he enjoys authentic Greek cuisine at the terrace of this restaurant in the heart of Fira. And we are not the only ones. Thousands of tourists include it among their favorites on the volcanic island.
The Marmita Restaurant is now a part of the history of Santorini, since it has been operating in Megalochori since 2004. From 2013 it s been running under the observation of new owner Giannis Manikas and the sense of renewal is obvious.
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