H/T KT Ordinance
In 480 BC, during the Greek-Persian war, Spartans under King Leonidas of Sparta
held the pass in the Greek mountains at Thermopylae against a million-man
Persion army by blocking the pass with 100 men abreast.
When a Spartan fell, another would step forward to take his place. The Persions had to fight one-on-one with only 100 men forward as well. The Spartans were on their home soil and fought like tigers. The Persions became very disallusioned as the replacements had to climb over mounds of their own dead to get to the battle line.
One day King Xerxes of Persia sent King Leonidas a message: “Surrender tomorrow or we bring our archers forward and the arrows will fly so thick as to cover the sun!”
Leonidas sent word back: “So much the better. We would rather fight in the shade.”
Then, a traitor told King Xerxes of Persia about a small pass that would allow the Persians to bypass the Spartan line and get around behind them. Eventually Xerxes moved part of his army in a secret flanking movement and managed to hit the Spartans on two sides, front and rear. All died fighting, but the end result is that they killed 20,000 Persians and bought precious time for Athens to prepare and to build its navy, which sailed and defeated the Persian fleet, cutting Xerxes off from his lines
of communication and supplies, which eventually cost him the invasion (much like
Napoleon on his march to Moscow).
Today, a stone marker rests in the pass that was placed there shortly after the battle:
Go tell the Spartans,Passerby. that here, obedient to their laws, We lie.