Stabbed in the back

Battle of Thermopylae


It was a warm, beautiful morning at Thermopylae in September, 480 BC. Overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, the place derived its name (which literally meant hot gateways) from the hot sulfur springs which were located there.

Thermopylae was the location where King Leonidas of Sparta had decided to confront the might army of Xerxes I of Persia. Along with the naval battle at Artemisium, the battle of Thermopylae was designed to be the main defense against the Persian emperor overrunning all of Greece and annexing it to his already vast empire.

During the first two days of the battle, the Greeks led by the Spartan warriors managed to hold off the huge Persian army by blocking the only narrow mountain path through which it could pass. The valiant efforts of the Spartans led by Leonidas himself proved to be tremendous motivation for the Thespians, Thebans and armies from the other Greek kingdoms assembled there. Despite the fact that the Greek army was outnumbered by almost a hundred times, the fact that they chose Thermopylae as their battleground was proving to be a huge advantage for them.

In fact, the first two days of the battle went so well for the Greeks that they started seeing the rainbow of a tremendous Greek victory over the mighty Xerxes.

What they didn’t account for was the fact that they would be betrayed by one of their own comrades. Ephialtes of Trachis betrayed his countrymen in the anticipation that he would be rewarded well by the Persian emperor. He showed the Persian army a narrow path which allowed them to rally behind the Greek position and outflank them from both ends. This revelation would prove to be the undoing of Leonidas and the Spartans.

The valorous exploits of the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae ended up being a story that they would never narrate themselves to their children or grandchildren, but instead would become a legend for ages to come.

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The above post describes the Battle of Thermopylae, which entered popular imagination after it was fictionalized and depicted in the movie, 300 in 2006.


This post has been written for the Trifecta Week Ninety Five prompt where the post had to use the word Rainbow with the following definition : [from the impossibility of reaching the rainbow, at whose foot a pot of gold is said to be buried] :  an illusory goal or hope.

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12 thoughts on “Stabbed in the back

  1. I’ve been meaning to watch that movie 300! Haven’t gotten around to watching it even though I’ve got it on my hard disk 😛
    This is a well narrated incident… and to think this might not actually be what happened. That somehow is a writer’s biggest reward… when his stories go so well into the heads of people that they no longer can tell whether it is fact or fiction!

    • @Bhavya, welcome to the blog and thanks for the kind words 😀 Please do watch the movie 300, quite an awesome movie, especially if you like war movies and fantasy fiction genre of movies 🙂

  2. That’s a wonderful one, Jairam. I like what you write because there is a connect that I make with your writing. I love historical pieces (I have said that before, right?) and so I liked this one as much.

    Thanks 🙂

    • @Sini, thank you, well, the name was chosen in 2004 when I initially thought that I would end up boring people quite a lot with my blogs, and the name stuck, that’s all 😀

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