The story about the Spartans that America’s gun fringe loves the most probably didn’t even happen that way.
Myke Cole, Slate.com, Sept 7, 2021
Molon Labe—Ancient Greek for “come and take them,” or literally: “Come! Take!”—is a phrase frequently invoked by the right-wing fringe of the “2A” community of gun owners. Emblazoned on bumper stickers, hats, and pretty much anywhere else it fits, it’s a shout of defiance—and an implied threat of violence—against an imagined federal government hellbent on coming to take their guns.
The phrase is almost certainly apocryphal, but it’s supposedly the reply of the Spartan king Leonidas to the Persian king Xerxes’ demand that the Spartans surrender their arms, just prior to the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. That is to say, the words spoken just before Leonidas and all his troops were slaughtered, and Xerxes, who cut off the Spartan king’s head, stuck it on a pole, and—yes—took whatever unbroken weapons he and his men had left… [keep reading]