Science: Left at Thermopylae

Smarting under the defeat of Marathon, Persia's great Xerxes crossed the Hellespont on a bridge of boats in the summer of 480 B. c., and marched through Thessaly. Herodotus recorded that he had 1,800,000 men; modern historians say about 180,000. Leonidas, king of Sparta, met him with only 7,000 men at Thermopylae, a narrow strip of dry shore between the cliffs of Mount Oeta and the swampy border of the Maliac Gulf. Hearing that a big detachment of Persians had found a way around the pass, Leonidas sent 5,000 soldiers to head them off. Xerxes then effected a...

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