07 December 2006

Think you're tough?

'Two Spartans survived [the Battle of Thermopylae]. One, who missed the encounter at Thermopylae because he was on a diplomatic mission, hanged himself in disgrace upon his return home. The other, who missed the battle because of an eye infection (not much of an excuse for a solider, never mind a Spartan), went on a suicide mission in the next major encounter with the Persians. When Spartans said that the only way to return from a battle was with your shield or on it, they meant it'

- Brendan Boyle reviews 'Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World' by Paul Cartledge, New York Sun, 4 December 2006

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