Like Gallipoli, the last stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae was a military defeat which nevertheless generated a great number of monuments, memorials and historical memories on the defeated side. Besides the well-known historical narrative of Herodotus, a wide variety of ancient evidence survives for both textual and physical commemoration of Thermopylae. Epitaphs marked polyandria or cenotaphs alike, and are often quoted in later compilations of poetry. Paintings, sculpture and grand monuments of the Persian Wars adorned urban spaces in Sparta and other cities, serving as a powerful reminder of past sacrifices, and including Thermopylae prominently. At the panhellenic shrines of Olympia and Delphi, other monuments of the Persian Wars swiftly became symbols of heroism, freedom and Hellenic identity. Some even survive to the present day, imitated by modern memorials and redeployed in new cities or distant lands. Texts and monuments of Thermopylae thus reveal how memories of this battle were constructed, reinterpreted and perpetuated through centuries of political and cultural change around the Mediterranean and far beyond it.
Non-members are welcome. A donation of $10 per person includes entry in the lucky door prize and afternoon tea. Afternoon tea will be held in E318, Forgan Smith Building.