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Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

480 BC: At a bleak pass in a far-flung corner of eastern Greece, three hundred Spartan warriors faced the army of King Xerxes of Persia, a massive force rumoured to be over a million strong.

Their orders were simple: to delay the enemy for as long as possible in order to buy time for the main Greek armies to mobilize. For six days the Spartans held the invaders at bay. In the final hours - their shields broken, swords and spears shattered - they fought with their bare hands before being overwhelmed . . .

It was battle that would become synonymous with extraordinary courage, heroism and self-sacrifice.

It was a battle called Thermopylae.


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