Molon labe

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Just happened across the Greek phrase "Μολων λαβε" (not sure how to get the accent marks to appear in HTML), often transliterated "molon labe." Apparently it was King Leonidas's response when the Persians demanded the Spartans' weapons: "Come and take them!"

Wikipedia adds:

It corresponds roughly to the modern equivalent English phrase "over my dead body," "bring it on" or, most closely, "come and get it."

I would not have expected an ancient Greek phrase to appear on a T-shirt at a Tea Party rally, but that's just where I saw this (in a photo). It turns out that American gun-rights advocates have adopted the phrase as a challenge to those they see as trying to take their guns away.

That Wikipedia page has a bunch of other interesting stuff about the use of the phrase at various historical moments.

And on a side note, it introduced me to an acronym I'd never encountered before: RKBA. From context, at first I thought it must stand for "Royal [something] [something] Association," but no: it's "Right to Keep and Bear Arms."

2 Comments

Have you seen those 2500-year-old bronze sling bullets that have "ΔΕΞΑ" ("take that!", or "catch!") cast into them?

Wow—no, I haven't. That's great—thanks for telling me!

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This page contains a single entry by Jed published on April 24, 2010 11:18 AM.

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