NEW SWAG: “Molon labe!” … Missale Romanum

Knowing that we would have to keep up morale, the other day I put together a design for some new Z-Swag.  HERE

My first copies arrived today. They are nice, so I’m making the shop public

There are shirts and mugs (righty and lefty) and some other doohickeys.

Here are the 11 oz (with black edge) and the big 20oz.

For those of you who do not know what those superimposed scribbles are, they are an older form of the ancient Greek for “μολὼν λαβέ” or “molon labe”, the legendary words said to have been uttered by the Spartan leader Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. According to Plutarch, the Persian invader Xerxes demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons. Leonidas replied “Come and take them!”

Well, that’s sort of what he said. To be really geeky about it a Spartan at that time would have said it differently than 1st c. AD Boetian (near Delphi) Plutarch. In any event, the concise phrase consists of an aorist active participle (molon), which is “having come” and an imperative (labe), literally, “Having come, take!” The aorist participle establishes the condition that must pertain for the action. The action, the imperative, “take!” is second person, so it is directed personally at Xerxes, not at the army.

In any event, “Molon labe!” is now a classic expression of determination and defiance. Alas, its use is a little melancholy, in that the Spartans, through they held out for days, were eventually defeated and slain. They were able, however, delay the Persians for long enough time for the Athenians to escape to Salamis, where the great naval battle – one of the most important in history – would take place led a massive rout of Xerxes fleet by Themistocles. Hence, while Thermopylae was a defeat for the Spartans, it was a strategic, long-term victory and it served to fire up the morale of the Greeks against the aggressors.

At Thermopylae there is a monument to Leonidas, inscribed with those famous words, in the form I used on the swag.

Finally, please consider becoming a Custos TradionisHERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The Cobbler says:

    The legend goes that a traitor revealed to the Persians a secret bypass around Thermopylae such that they were able to attack the Spartans from behind as well as in front. Many believe it is an open question whether the Persians would have been able to defeat the Spartans otherwise, the passage at Thermopylae being so narrow as to limit the attackers who could engage the defenders despite the raw numbers being vastly disproportionate.

    There’s also a Sabaton song about this battle, although it might be a bit much for the ecclesiastical occasion.

  2. eamonob says:

    These are great! I’ll probably get one of each.

  3. IaninEngland says:

    Just a thought:
    It occurs to me that “molon labe” (“Come and get them”) juxtaposed with the page from the Canon also provides a different, gentler context: “Come, take [and eat]”.

  4. grateful says:

    Could “Fr.Z’s Stuff” up in the headings:

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