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The Battle of “Thermopylae” in Herodotus and in C. P. Cavafy

An Illustrated Presentation by Dr. Lena Hatzichronoglou

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The heroism of the 300 Spartans and their king Leonidas, who fought against countless Persians at the Greek location of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., was recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus, and, ever since, it has become a legend of inspiration.  It is a story of patriotism, of betrayal, of the spirit’s victory over fear, of freedom, of heart, of high ideals. It has changed the course of history of the entire West, and has become the symbol of achievement, audacity, civility, as well as of the human triumph over any kind of tyranny or darkness.

In this illustrated presentation we will look closely at the history behind this event, and we will examine the reason why this story continues to be inspiring and pertinent in the world of today. We will see how the twentieth century Greek poet C. P. Cavafy uses Thermopylae as an illuminating metaphor for our own humanity; and we will understand why the movie “300,” which was inspired by this story, keeps exciting young people in the “here” and “now.”

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