Lead: During three hot August days in 480 BCE, the Spartan king Leonidas and an elite force of his countrymen and their allies killed or held at bay thousands of Persian troops at the “Hot Gates,” Thermopylae.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The battle at the narrow pass, which for a brief time delayed the enormous armies of Xerxes, has been described as triumph of west over east, one of the singular moments in the developments of western civilization and signaled the superiority of Spartan, hence Greek, hence European, arms and character over the perfidious and uncivilized hoards of the east. Most of that is Greek war propaganda and survives largely because the account of the Greco-Persian Wars was written by a Greek, the eminent historian Herodotus.

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