Thursday, April 28, 2011
X is for Xerxes
Then, at the Battle of Thermopylae, a small band of Spartans (less than 7000 strong) resisted the much larger Persian forces. For three days they held off the Persian army on the road leading to Athens. Ultimately the Spartans were defeated, but not before they threw a largish monkey wrench into Xerxes's machinations.
The Persians finally broke the Spartan stronghold after a Grecian by the name of Ephialtes betrayed his country and told the Persians of another pass around the mountains. However, the delay caused by the Spartans allowed Athens to be evacuated.
It's been said that Xerxes, so infuriated to arrive in Athens only to find it deserted, had the city burned. That's a matter of controversy, and it's possible that the Greeks burned it after evacuation as part of a scorched-earth operation. It makes no difference, as either way, Xerxes didn't get what he wanted.
While the Spartans may have been defeated, in my book they won. They could have stood on that road and said, "Oh shit! Look at all those Persians! No way..." and laid down their weapons. But they didn't. They stood and fought for what they believed in. Against all odds they fought. They were the underdogs and they knew it, but, regardless, they fought.
So often in life we view the seemingly insurmountable and we give up without a fight. We see the big dogs coming for us, and rather than standing our ground, we walk away.
We have more power than we think.
Most of our power is in our ability to simply stand and say, "I'm here and you will see me."
Battles aren't won by getting what we want. Battles are won in being who we are.