All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!



I have no idea why this popped into my head today.

Xerxes I otherwise know as Xerxes the Great is remembered by history for some great accomplishments, mostly because of various building projects.  Xerxes inherited the Persian Empire built by his father Darius.  Darius had conquered large tracts of land and most of the eastern Mediterranean world was under his influence if not his direct control.  He completed his fathers building projects, maintained an impressive road system and was known for his grandeur.

Xerxes ruled over large tracts of land.  He had many impressive construction projects.  He was famous for crushing revolts in Egypt and Babylon.  Xerxes was an able executive, builder, and warrior.  He was far more successful as a king than any number of men who have held that honor.  Depending on how you rank such men, he is definitely in the top 20 of such rulers in oriental history.

However 2,500 years after Xerxes lived, reigned and died, the world remembers and honors one of his enemies the son of Anaxandridas.  This other man was a king too.  He ruled a small city state that was unnoticeable in terms of land mass and population, compared to Xerxes.

The son of Anaxandridas had no major accomplishments as a builder, administrator or conquer.  This king wasn't even his father's or his countrymen's first choice as king.  As a boy he was sent off to public school just like the other boys in his town.  He wasn't groomed to be a ruler or regent.  He is best known and probably only remembered because he defied and was defeated by Xerxes.  Two words that he uttered are remembered by mortals, "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ".

Leonidas was the looser and Xerxes the winner.  Despite what you may have heard it wasn't just 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.  Originally there were between 7,000 to 9,000 in the combined Greek army.  Leonidas and the Greeks stood off the Persians for week. Probably because Leonidas knew the defense of Thermopylae was hopeless, and wanting to preserve the bulk of the men, and maybe he believed the rest of the army was coming behind him, he ordered a retreat.  Being a man of honor he commanded the rear guard.  Also not generally known is the fact that two other groups were present for the last stand.  There were about 900 helots (a group of people enslaved by the Spartans) and about 700 Thebans.

The Thebans surrendered at the start of the battle.  Nothing is known of how the slaves conducted themselves.  They are assumed to have been killed early on.  The battle accomplished nothing for Greece militarily.  Yet Leonidas and his little band of 300 are held in honor.


  1. Susan9:13 PM

    Did the Thespians all faint at the same time? Was there a run on smelling salts?

    Sorry to be such a smartarse. But when you see the name Thespian, you just know there has to be a joke about lilylivered actors in there somewhere.

    IIRC, in the late 1700's or early to mid 1800s, there was a political race won by a fellow who called his opponent a Thespian.
    Said in the same tone you would use if you were accusing him of biting heads off of chickens or something.

    It worked because the folks, not knowing what a Thespian was, voted against the opponent, and the name caller won.

  2. Mea Culpa

    I knew I had made the mistake and was going to fix it before publishing. I forgot.

  3. The battle itself was not what helped Greece. It was the delay to the army of Xerxes that allowed the Greeks the time to get past their holidays and gather together, and they were able to defeat his fleet, which is how they were being supplied.

    And its a story of immense bravery, as Leonidas was taking just 300 men, when he was expecting to bring his whole army.

    Last thought... it preserved the timeline that we have. How would things be different today if the Western worldview did not come from the Greeks?

  4. Good points.

    For Leonidas he obtained the Spartan Ideal. He is only second to Alexander the Great in terms of military recognition. Not bad for a man who lost.