Mac Hendrix
10/12
B Period
Dr. Boesen

The Battle of Thermopylae Essay
Leonidas and his "300" chose to confront the Persian army at Thermopylae because they wanted to prove that they were the best polis. They opposed the Persians at Thermopylae because they wanted to remain the most honorable and most elite polis for hundreds of years. The Spartans chose to stay stand their ground at Thermopylae because they wanted to show that they were the best.
The Polis and the hoplite phalanx inspired Leonidas\' decision to stay at Thermopylae to fight the Persians because of honor. Although the warfare of Achilles is practically extinct, the honor is still very much alive. The Greeks had abandoned the individual time type strategy because the Greeks decided to use time as a polis, not an individual thing. now uses a hoplite phalanx, essentially a human roller who acted as one body, no individual fighting, known as passive courage. When Leonidas decided for his men to stay, he knew it was a suicide mission. He knew 300 of his best soldiers wouldn\'t last against the 18,000 Persians, but it was for the honor and glory it would bring to their polis, Sparta, because of the honor it would bring to Sparta long after their death. In Greek, they competed for everything, and when Leonidas died he wanted to know that Sparta would have great honor after this battle. Also, in the polis, everyone was made equal. You could be the richest of the rich or poorest of the poor, everyone (including the law) would treat you the same in the polis. It makes since for Greece to switch to a phalanx because of the polis equality. " This tendency to equate citizenry, city, and army and to regard them all in humans term, and so potentially subject to the same rules and emotions, explains the decision of Leonidas to hold his place at Thermopylae. They stood their ground at Thermopylae because of honor, teamwork, and equality.
The Persians made Leonidas and the Spartans so determined to oppose their invasion of Greece because they wanted to show that they were the best polis in Greece. When Leonidas told every other polis and non-Spartan to leave, he made the Spartans stay to defend their honor and time. A factor of this hatred for one another is that for how close they were in location, they were day and night in culture. Everything from politics, military, economy, social life, etc. was different. For example, the Persian government was solely a king, Xerxes, who made it required that they all have to kneel before him. In Persia, there was no concept or notion of actual freedom for the citizens. " The Persian king himself, in theory, had title to all the land in the empire and could either exercise rights of confiscation of any estate he wished or execute its owner by simple command."(Page 59) In Greece, the citizens selected almost all of the political leaders. The Persian army and the Greek army were exact opposites. The Persians would recruit anyone and everyone to join their army, while the Greeks would build their soldiers and use the best of the best. In a simple term, Persians choose quantity over quality, and the Greeks quality over quantity. Leonidas and the Spartans chose to stay and defend against the Persians because they are exact opposites and rivals, and they wanted to either show them that their views were the right views or die with dignity.
The Spartans chose to take their stand against the overwhelming amount of Persians is because of their elite mentality. They Spartans were insane, they only took the best babies possible in their own community. They took their stand to show how honorable they are, but they also took their stand because they did not fear death. In fact, you were killed if you feared death in the Spartan society. " In short, the Spartans-uniquely in all Greece- took the view that death in itself was nothing to be feared but rather something to be literally lived with and daily stared in the face. How you died mattered no more- and no less- here than it did elsewhere in Greece"(page 75). The Greeks encouraged death, as long