meaning “come and take them“, is a classical expression of defiance. The origin of the phrase is intricately tied to the Battle of Thermopylae. There, the Persian king Xerxes wanted to invade Greece. Standing in his way was King Leonidas and 300 Spartans (and a number of Thespians and Thebans, though history often forgets them). Xerxes offered the Greeks their freedom and survival from the onslaught of his army which reportedly numbered in the millions. When Xerxes ambassador told Leonidas this, the Spartan king is claimed to have answered, “Molon labe.” When all was said and done, Leonidas was dead, as were his 300 Spartans, but tens of thousands of Xerxes troops were also slain. It was said to have been so bad that the Persians started to lose all taste for war.1
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