On the last day of the battle of Thermopylae, after the Spartan and Thespian defenders had been betrayed, the Persian king Xerxes gave them one last chance to surrender and escape with their lives. He sent an embassy to the Spartan king Leonidas, demanding that he lay down his arms.

According to Herotodus, Leonidas' response was 'Molon Labe', meaning roughly "Come and get them".

Today, these two words form the inscription on the Leonidas Monument, a modern memorial to the dead of Thermopylae erected on the battlefield by the Greek Government to accompany the ancient tombstone bearing the famous epitaph composed by the poet Simonides

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