day of the battle the Persian attack was cruel as they were
coming towards the Greek troops. Despite the non stop attacks
Persians couldnít break the Greek resistance. Xerxes himself
couldnít believe in his very own eyes of how few Greeks could
not be defeated by his army. He orders then Idarnis to attack
with the special forces of that time the so called Immortals
(they were called Immortals because every warrior who has been
killed in the battle field was instantly substituted by another).
Unfortunately for Xerxes neither the Immortals could defeat the
The second day of the battle, at dawn, new Persian messengers
were sent to the Greek army camp. When Xerxes messengers reached
the camp they saw few Greeks washing their hair, others
sharpening their swords and others swimming nearby. The Spartans
noticed them without reacting to their presence. The messengers
tried to persuade them to make peace with Xerxes but in vain.
They tried afterwards to scare them by telling them that they
were so few but Spartans said that when they fight they donít
usually count. They also said to them that Persian arrows are so
many that can cover the sun. Listening to these words, a Spartan
soldier named Dienikes answers coldly: ďIt is better, we will
under the shadowĒ. As Xerxes learns what has happened to the
Greek army camp he orders to attack them again without any
success. However, the same night Efialtes (his name means
nightmare) reveals to the Persians a secret passage on the
mountain Kallidromo, which it leads straight behind the Spartan
Leonidas, meanwhile, was informed for the treason. He orders
then his allies to abandon the battle field as soon as possible
because now death was both certain and inevitable. For him of
course and for all the Spartans abandoning a battle was out of
the question. The Spartan law was clear enough. No Spartan is
allowed to return home alive if he is not the winner of the
battle. Leonidas though, made an exception and allowed a blind
soldier named Evritos to return home but Evritos refused to
betray the laws of his homeland. Along with the Spartans
remained at the battle field Dimofilos and his 700 Thespieis.
During the night, as Diodoros Sikeliotis mentions, all Greeks
ate their last supper and afterwards they attacked at the
Persian army camp following Leonidasís orders. Leonidasís demand
was to penetrate in the Persian army and kill Xerxes himself.
The Persian army was in panic because they thought that they
were attacked by all Greek army and they even believed that
Idarnis and his 20.000 Immortals were killed. The Greeks managed
to reach Xerxes tent but unfortunately he had escaped. That
night Leonidas was killed and the remaining alive 200 Spartans
tried to protect his body.
mentions, many battles were given for Leonidasís body. Spartans
made the Persians retreat four times! At dawn however, the
20.000 Immortals, who had followed Efialtes to the secret
passage, arrived at the battle field and Spartans were forced to
go to a small hill named Kolonos. There, the Spartans made a
circle around their kingís body in order to protect him from the
enemyís brutality. Diodoros Sikeliotis clarifies that the
Persians, being afraid of Spartans bravery, started to throw
their arrows from a long distance till all Spartans were killed.
The battle in Hot Gates came finally to an end with the heroic
resistance of 300 Spartans and 700 Thespieis who preferred to
die for freedom. Their sacrifice was and still is a symbol of
humanís capacity against all those who disrespect the human
values and desire strongly to subjugate both spirit and body.
At the monthly
magazine ďElliniki AgogiĒ an article of the architect and writer
Charis Skarlakides was published. The architect proposes the
construction of a monument which will represent the last scene of
the battle. Its exact position will be behind from the already
existing Leonidasís statue.
Skarlakides, the shape both of the monument and the ramp will be
spiral just like the golden trace ÷, which is the only one that
preserves the same shape no matter how it grows.
Ground plan of the monument from which the spiral construction can be seen
Inside the monument
will be placed the statues of the Spartans and at the centre
Leonidasís body and nearby a torch always in flame in order to honor
those who gave their lives so as next generations can enjoy freedom.
The order that has been suggested by him is Dorian like the
circular monuments of 4th century B.C., in Epidavrus and in Delphi.
In the internal part of the monument will be presented the last 200 Spartans
who protect with their shields Leonidas's body
The architect suggests also the construction of a
second monument dedicated to Thespieis, the built of a theatre, a museum and
also a center for further information upon strategic, armament and battle
tactics in ancient Greece.
We support every private initiative and we only hope that the Hellenic state
will do everything in order to build such monument. It is very important for all
of us to remember and to honor as well those who fought against all conquerors
and they managed to win at the end for democracy, civilization and freedom.
After all, we do have the right to remember the glorious actions of our
By Julia Piperidou
1) Magazine "Elliniki Agogi" Number of issue
63/116, April-May 2007
2) Encyclopedia "Paideia"