Molon labe – what does it mean?

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛABE. Molon Labe. You’ve no doubt seen it on t-shirts, bumper stickers, holsters. It’s become a popular phrase used by gun rights activists to show their defiance, and willingness to protect their second amendment rights no matter what.

But where does it come from?

Its origins lie in Ancient Greek, where the phrase means “Come and take them”. It was used by King Leonidas of the Spartans when the Greeks were commanded by the Persian King Xerxes to surrender their weapons. It took place at the Battle of Thermopylae (480BC), where despite being vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held Thermopylae for three days.

Although defeated, the battle is known as a strategic and moral victory, leading the Greeks to defeat the Persians in later battles.

It has since been used by generals and armies to show their resolve never to surrender, and was used as a slogan in the defense of Fort Morris during the Revolutionary War, and the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution. It is the motto of the Greek Army Corps, and the US Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).

It has also been taken up by second amendment advocates who use the phrase to emphasize their commitment to the ideals, implying they will never surrender their firearms, especially to the government.

So, whenever you see Molon Labe (pronounced Mow-lone Lah-vay), know that you have an ally in defending second amendment rights.