Friday, May 8, 2015

Come and take it

 Molon labe (come and take it)
In college football, the Michigan State
Spartans football team wore alternate 
jersey featuring the phrase (Molon labe) 
their 2011 rivalry game with 
the Michigan Wolverines.

               An Ancient Ultimatum

  We Greeks are patient to a fault,
     but to your ultimatums we say no, it must halt
     as we have shown in the centuries of our history..

     In the Second World War, four years before the American victory,

     we answered no, in the ultimatum of the Germans, and we fought.

Leonidas monument 
at Thermopylae
   We Greeks in such moments have only one thought,
     the "Molon labe” meaning "come and take them".
     The Molon labe of Spartans to barbarians, is our eternal gem....

     For the sacrifice of the brave three hundred
     and of their king Leonidas, humanity often wondered,
     why since the Greeks knew they would be killed, just hand it over?
     Leonidas like a king had the option not to fight the Persians moreover.

  We Greeks, if we were saying that the commands 
                                                                     [of our ancestors are voided,
     the sacrifice of seven hundred thousand Greeks could be avoided,
     during the Second World War, but this historic phrase
     for twenty five centuries in our hearts stays..

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

Νο: 39

* "Molon labe" is the motto of
United States Special Operations
Command Central (SOCCENT).



* The expression "Come and take it" 
was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.


* The words ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ as they are inscribed on the marble of the Leonidas Monument at Thermopylae

Molon labe (Greek: μολὼν λαβέ), meaning "come and take them", is a classical expression of defiance. When the Persian armies demanded that the Greeks surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas I responded with this phrase. It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase.

The phrase was reportedly the defiant response of King Leonidas I of Sparta to Xerxes I of Persia when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and surrender. This was at the onset of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). Instead, the Greeks held Thermopylae for three days. Although the Greek contingent was defeated, they inflicted serious damage on the Persian army. Most importantly, this delayed the Persians' progress to Athens, providing sufficient time for the city's evacuation to the island of Salamis. Though a tactical defeat, Thermopylae served as a strategic and moral victory, inspiring the Greek forces to crush the Persians at the Battle of Salamis later the same year and the Battle of Plataea one year later.

The source for this quotation is Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, 51.11. This work by Plutarch is included among the Moralia, a collection of works attributed to him but outside the collection of his most famous works, the Parallel Lives.


* Replica of the Gonzalez Flag at the Texas State Capitol
Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army's or nation's determination not to surrender. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The expression "Come and take it" was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.

In the struggle for the independence of Cyprus , Molon labe has been used once again in Greek history, on 3 March 1957 during a battle in Cyprus between members of the EOKA organization and the British Army. After someone had betrayed his location, the British forces surrounded the secret hideout of the second-in-command of EOKA, Grigoris Afxentiou, near the Machairas Monastery. Inside the hideout were Afxentiou and four of his followers. Realizing he was outnumbered, Afxentiou ordered them to surrender themselves whilst he barricaded himself for a fight to the death. The British asked Afxentiou to come out and surrender. He replied with the phrase Molon labe, imitating the ancient Spartans. Unable to get him out, and after sustaining casualties, the British set fire to the hideout, and he was burnt alive. The British buried his body in the yard of the central jail of Lefkosia, where it lies today.

In the United States of America, both the original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro Second Amendment activists as a defense of the right to keep and bear arms. It began to appear on web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the Second Amendment or firearms freedom context, the phrase expresses the notion that the person uttering the phrase is a strong believer in these ideals and will not surrender their firearms to anyone, especially to governmental authority. Challenge coins similar to those used by military service members have been created with the Molon Labe text and firearm images.


the tales of a greek Sailor

No comments:

Post a Comment