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In 479 B.C., the Persian army invaded Greece from Macedonia, three hundred Spartans, led by their king Leonidas, and a few thousand allies held off the enormous Persian army of Xerxes at the pass of Thermopylae, dying to a man.
“Thus nobly did the whole body of Lacedaemonians and Thespians behave, but nevertheless one man is said to have distinguished himself above all the rest, to wit, Dieneces the Spartan. A speech which he made before the Greeks engaged the Medes, remains on record. One of the Trachinians told him, ‘Such is the number of barbarians, that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be dardened by the multitude.’ Dieneces, not at all frightened at these words, but making light of the Median numbers, answered, ‘Our Trachininan friend brings us excellent tidings. If the Medes darken the sun, we shall have our fight in the shade’. . . The slain were buried where they fell; and in their honor . . . an inscription was set up, which said:
Here did four thousand men from Pelops’ land
Against three hundred myriads bravely stand.

This was in honor of all. Another was for the Spartans alone:
Go, stranger, and to Lacedaemon tell
That here, obeying her behests, we fell.

Herodotus, The Persian Wars, VII, 226-228