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In 480 BC, a huge Persian army, led by the inimitable King Xerxes, entered the mountain pass of Thermopylae as it marched on Greece, intending to conquer the land with little difficulty. But the Greeks?led by King Leonidas and a small army of Spartans?took the battle to the Persians at Thermopylae, and halted their advance?almost. It is one of history?s most acclaimed battles, one of civilization?s greatest last stands. And in Thermopylae, renowned classical historian Paul Cartledge looks anew this history-altering moment and, most impressively, shows how its repercussions have bearing on us even today. The invasion of Europe by Xerxes and his army redefined culture, kingdom, and class. The valiant efforts of a few thousand Greek warriors, facing a huge onrushing Persian army at the narrow pass at Thermopylae, changed the way generations to come would think about combat, courage, and death.