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11.6.

2013

Αγαπητϋ Ηλύα,

Ευχαριςτώ για όλα όςα κϊνετε για τη χώρα μου. Μετϋφραςα την αρχό του βιβλύου ςασ ςτα αγγλικϊ. Το κόκκινο δεύχνει όπου ϋχω δυςκολύεσ. Μπορεύτε να μου πεύτε τισ ποινϋσ ςε απλϊ ελληνικϊ, παρακαλώ; Ξϋρω ότι δεν μπορώ να κϊνω πολλϊ για ςασ μϋχρι να ζω μόνιμα ςτην Ελλϊδα (τον Ιούνιο του 2014). Αλλϊ ό, τι μπορώ να κϊνω, θα το κϊνω. Σασ ϋχω εμπιςτοςύνη και πιςτεύω ςε ςασ. Εύςτε ϋνα εξαιρετικό ϊτομο. Όταν σας σσνάντησα, ένιωσα μια θετική ενέργεια γύρω σας. Ποτϋ δεν θα το ξεχϊςω, όςο ζω! Αυτό εύναι πολύ ςπϊνιο γιατύ γνώριςα τόςουσ πολλούσ ανθρώπουσ. Εντϊξει! Αν ςασ αρϋςει να ςυνεχύςω τη μετϊφραςη, παρακαλώ βοηθόςτε ςτισ θϋςεισ που ςημειώνονται κόκκινο. (Εϊν δεν ϋχετε το χρόνο, μπορώ να ψϊξω για κϊποιον ϊλλον...ϋναν καθηγητό ςτο Πανεπιςτόμιο Τϊμπα, ό παρόμοιο...) Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you, Sincerely, Dimitra

ILIAS KASIDIARIS

THE OTHER SPARTANS

The Battle Of Thermopylae Seen Through The Eyes Of 700 Thespians

Copyright © Ilias Kasidiaris All rights reserved worldwide

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Dedication
To the men of Commando Battalion A, who one starry night spread their wings and flew boldly into the unknown.

PREFACE

In 480 B.C. an army of 7000 Greeks, led by Spartan king, Leonidas, confronted a horde of uncountable Barbarians in the strait of Thermopylae. After two days of epic resistance, the Greeks were betrayed by Ephialtes and surrounded by the Persian army. In the battle to the bitter end that followed, the selected garrison of Lakedemonia did not fight alone. At their side stood 700 heroic Thespians. We will attempt to trace the march of the men who wrote the saga of Thermopylae with the Spartans, with this historical narrative. As a small token of respect for those giants of military virtues whom history has misrepresented exceedingly, but whom Greece is eternally grateful for.

“The allies obeyed the orders of Leonidas and left. But the Thespians did not want to desert Leonidas and his companions. They remained there, led by Demophilus of Thespiae, the son of Diadromes, and sacrificed their lives alongside them.” Herodotus, Histories

Valley of the Muses

We broke at night for Mount Kallidromo with the prayers of the priests, the cheering and crying. We waved to parents, siblings and spouses. Leaving behind our lovers and children. The ultimate Hail to eternal Thespies. Our sacred Homeland. The ark of our soul. We attended the divine Valley of the Muses and Mount Helicon. Beyond the sacred grove, in which we reached manhood. Days and endless hours we bled in the palaestra. Having our egos deflated in unceasing war games. Subjugated to the raw steel column of the phalanx. With devotion we followed the commandments. To become one. Years of training now guide our military machine. The nonstop repetition of the same, monotonous movements: “I repel – I hit – I spear! I spurn – I kick – I spear!” The phalanx is united and indivisible. An iron fist that will stop any intruder. And we, the soldiers of Thespies, now standing on the plain, which we watered, for years, with the blood of our soul. A moment only, the years which passed. Nights that wouldn‟t end in the middle of the valley. And we, kids, shaking from the cold and fear. Without food for days. We survived with a few drops of water. With a single shield we defended the soul of our companion. Over nature, the elements of the forest, and fury of the wind. That is where we matured. Among the bellows of the captain and the veterans. Thus we reached manhood. Left behind the last drop of our sloth. Tamed our fear. Our only true nemesis.

Victory is the daughter of Fear. Victorious is the man who cleverly manages his fear. Who will not surrender to it, nor despise it. That is the lesson of the Valley of the Muses. We walk on the same training ground and mental training, As men, finally. Now we are all one. A steely satellite of human souls silently crosses the valley. The silent phalanx of soldiers marching in the dark. Invisible and restless, each of us drowning in silence the agony of our souls. Seven hundred hoplites march forward. Seven hundred men who carry on their back their weapon and the weight of the whole world. Our destination is obviously Thermopylae. Together with the united Greek army. First and foremost with the King of Sparta. Leader of the Dorians. The great Leonidas. Our destination is obviously Thermopylae, but we all know where this journey ends. In a glorious battle we will distinguish ourselves. Unbroken phalanx of hoplites. Shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield. Our chests will form impenetrable walls against hordes of barbarians. Our destination obviously Thermopylae, but all of us entertaining the inevitable end. In the glorious battle we will be certain to fall. Blood sacrifice to our fathers and to eternal Greece. Black the color of our chiton. Black the color of our death. Black chitons are marching into the unknown. Destination unknown, and for all united the gates of Hades. A few days and nights we will still move. Until the eleventh hour. Until we enter the kingdom of Pluto with glory.

MOUNT KALLIDROMO

The limits of the world seem small and insignificant when you march toward war. When Ares, the God of war is guiding your footsteps. A laborious course under the summer sun. Then a heavy road in the black of night. Stop for rest superfluous. Uninterrupted the phalanx marches toward the unknown. A single image ahead of us, and in the depth of our thought. The glow of the warriors ahead of us. That glow is our guide. The glow is reflected from the sun and the moon onto the surface of the shield, like an error-free compass, in the dense forest and high mountain. Until we hear the captain‟s cue to stop. Our road is nearing completion. The sea appears on the horizon. Mount Kallidromo appears in the West, joined by the new sun in the East. And Thermopylae in our souls. Eagerly we approach the guards of the Greek cities. Fever and excitement in the Greek camp. Thousands of hoplites awaiting war. They‟re sharpening the short swords and peaks of their spears. They prepare, lament, argue and yell continuously. In the background is the wall that the Phoceans once built to entrench their land. Now the wall is being repaired to stop the hordes of barbarians. Dozens of skilled workers are carrying stones, raise the

walls, and raise the courage in the souls of the soldiers. Malians, Phoceans and Lokrians quarrel over the fate of the country and over their children‟s future. The first Greek cities north of Thermopylae were close to the „Panstratia‟. The soldiers praise „Liberty‟. They expect divine messages. But their fear does not consent. The oracle to the Athenians is terrifying, and plants a seed of fear in the hearts of the Greeks. “Why are you sitting doomed? Run to the edge of the world. Leave behind houses and hills that enclose the city like the grinding wheel. No head will stay put. Neither body, legs or any parts of them. Everything will be destroyed by fire and by raging Ares in his Syriac chariot. Many towers will be destroyed, many temples of gods who now bathe in sweat and tremble with fear. The black blood on the roofs foreshadow inevitable misfortunes. So, get up and leave, and deliver your hearts in grief.”

Delphi does not deliver any hope to the slight Greek army. However, these words do not spring from Phoebus Apollo. They are not words of a god, but of soul-less men. The priest‟s thirst for riches is talking. The golden Darics of Xerxes. The phalanx is hot with our betrayal by the priestly. Most are demanding a new prophesy. Only few are indifferent, feverishly preparing for the march. The picture changes at the entry to the straits. Absolute discipline. Red chitons glow in the sunlight of the day. The winds of war suddenly subside. Xerxes‟ army seemingly disappears deep into Asia. Calm and order cover Thermopylae. Unprecedented images give rise to an awe in our soul. Young, upright and unreachable, complicating their crown. With swift movements they sculpt the beauty of their image. (Νεοι, εςθςηενειρ και

απποζιηοι, πεπιπλεκοςν ηην κομη ηοςρ. Με επιδεξιερ κινηζειρ ζμιλεςοςν ηην ωπαιοηηηα ηηρ εικοναρ ηοςρ.) Becoming beautiful for death. And we, ignorantly, watch the in silence. At the head of the Greek camp, a priest gives honors to Apollo. He pours the libation with harmony and beauty. (Ολοκληπωνει ηην ζπονδη ζηην απμονια και ηο καλλορ.) Soon a thunderstorm of war will erupt. The officers prepare to honor Ares and the virtues of war. And just when the night covers the earth, libations of blood will drench the soil in honor of the dead and the god of the underworld.