Monday, August 20, 2007

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ – What Does It Mean?

So I just finished watching the movie 300 on DVD. If you haven’t seen the movie – I highly recommend it. It’s a historical fantasy version of the Battle of Thermopylae in which a vastly outnumbered force of 300 Spartans and roughly 6000 other Greeks (who were largely dismissed by the second day) hold off a Persian army numbering at least 10 times that many (accounts vary from 60,000 to over 2 million). Xerxes the Great of Persia demanded the Spartans surrender their arms, to which King Leonidas of Sparta uttered the now famous retort “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ”. Literally translated, it means “come and take them”, but in many ways it is better translated as “over my dead body.”

The phrase has been adopted by many groups dedicated to the preservation of our Right to keep and bear arms. One important thing to note, however, is that in as spoken today “come and take them” implies that the outcome may not be certain. In other words, the speaker is daring the opposing force to come ATTEMPT to take them. In the Greek, however, the outcome is clear – the speaker will be defeated and only then can the weapons be taken. Is this an important nuance? I think so. In many ways the latter meaning harkens to Charlton Heston’s “my cold dead hands” proclamation or the New Hampshire motto “live free or die”.

The Founders of this great Republic were willing to fight and die to preserve rights and liberties they saw as being fundamental to the basic quality of life. Those 300 Spartans almost 2500 years ago knew they would die, but would rather die than betray their principles. They hoped through their deaths on the field of battle, their way of life would be preserved. How many Americans today share that spirit? How many times have you seen people willing to sacrifice their rights in order to “feel safe”?

The illusion of safety, and those who promise it through gun control is the greatest threat to our Second Amendment rights. To all those working toward that end, I say ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

Until next time!


Ivy said...

Sorry no one gave you an answer but just came across your site. It is in ancient Greek and it means Come and take it.

Fingolfen said...

Ivy - thanks for stopping by!!! I know the definition - it's more of the connotation behind the words that I was after.