Thermopylae

Thermopylae
/theuhr mop"euh lee'/, n.
a pass in E Greece, between the cliffs of Mt. Oeta and the Gulf of Lamia: Persian defeat of the Spartans 480 B.C.

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▪ mountain pass, Greece
Modern Greek  Thermopílai,  

      narrow pass on the east coast of central Greece between the Kallídhromon massif and the Maliakós Gulf, about 85 miles (136 km) northwest of Athens. In antiquity its cliffs were by the sea, but silting has widened the distance to more than a mile. Its name, meaning “hot gates,” is derived from its hot sulfur springs.

      The pass, some 4 miles (6 km) in length, has figured in numerous invasions. There, in August 480 BC, during the second Persian invasion of Greece, a small Greek force under the Spartan king Leonidas defended Attica and Boeotia against the southward advance of Xerxes' Persian army while Greek fleets at nearby Cape Artemesium fought off the attacking Persian navy. Leonidas' troops held the pass for three days until the Persians, guided along another mountain pass by the Greek traitor Ephialtes, outflanked them. Sending the majority of his troops to safety, Leonidas remained to delay the Persians with 300 Spartans, their helots, and 1,100 Boeotians, all of whom died in battle. Although the Persians won at Thermopylae and conquered central Greece, they suffered considerable losses in the battle, and most of the Greek troops and ships were able to escape to the Isthmus of Corinth to rejoin the main Greek forces. This battle became celebrated in history and literature as an example of heroic resistance against great odds. A large marble and bronze monument commemorating the battle was erected in 1955. In 279 BC the Greeks delayed the invading Celts at Thermopylae, and in 191 BC the Seleucid king Antiochus III fortified the pass against the Romans under Acilius Glabrio.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Thermopylae — chromolithograph Die Thermopylae 186 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thermopylae — • A titular see and suffragan of Athens in Achaia Prima Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Thermopylae     Thermopylae     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • THERMOPYLAE — angustiae montis Oetae in Thessalia, in Phthiotide regione apud sinum Oetaeum, seu Maliacum, ubi ex Phthiotide in Phocidem transitus est, 25. tantum pedum spatiô, varie indigitatae. Scelos Io. Lydo: Terremotto Bonacciolo; Bocca di lupo Nardo,… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Thermopylae — from Gk. thermos hot (see THERMAL (Cf. thermal)) + pylai, plural of pyle gate (see PYLON (Cf. pylon)). In reference to nearby hot sulfur springs …   Etymology dictionary

  • Thermopylae — [thər mäp′ə lē΄] in ancient Greece, a mountain pass in Locris, near an inlet of the Aegean Sea: scene of a battle (480 B.C. ) in which the Persians under Xerxes destroyed a Spartan army under Leonidas …   English World dictionary

  • Thermopylae —    Narrow pass that provides access from northern Greece into central Greece and the Peloponnesos (qq.v.). It is best known for its famous defense against Xerxes in 480 B.C. In the Byzantine period, Justinian I (q.v.) provided it with a garrison… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Thermopylae — noun A narrow pass on the East central coast of Greece adjacent to the Maliakos Gulf, northwest of Athens. Its name is derived from its hot sulphur springs. It was the site of the Battle of Thermopylae, at which the Spartan King Leonidas stood… …   Wiktionary

  • Thermopylae — noun a famous battle in 480 BC; a Greek army under Leonidas was annihilated by the Persians who were trying to conquer Greece • Syn: ↑battle of Thermopylae • Regions: ↑Greece, ↑Hellenic Republic, ↑Ellas • Instance Hypernyms: ↑pitch …   Useful english dictionary

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