15 January 2008


Molon Labe, inscribed on a monument in Greece to the Battle of Thermopylae.

Of a similar notion, here (flying below the state flag) was the flag the Texans flew at the Battle of Gonzales, when the Mexican Army was trying to reclaim a cannon from the Texans:


9 comments:

matthewallenscott said...

So, a battle was fought over a weapon that would be used to kill more people in future battles?

Did we ever fight Mexico for any legitimate reasons?

I do recognize the Texan swagger, though...

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Ahh, but keep in mind, WE (meaning the United States) were not fighting Mexico at that point.

Texas, an independent country, was fighting Mexico for its independence.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Also, on a somewhat technical note, the cannon itself never saw any future battles. From wikipedia:

"The cannon was taken back to Gonzales, mounted to a four-wheel carriage and christened the "Flyin' Artillery". The plan was to take the cannon to San Antonio, but the carriage broke on the way. The carriage and cannon were burned and buried in a creek bed, where it remained undisturbed for a century. In 1936, a flood unearthed the cannon, and it passed through several owners over the next few decades. In 1980, the cannon was authenticated by scientific tests and comparison with the original blacksmith's records. The cannon now resides in the Gonzales Memorial Museum."

Percussivity said...

Would not "Venga Tomarlo" have been a more effective taunt to Mexican soldiers??

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Excellent point, and by the same token, one would think the Greeks might have bothered to translate Molon Labe into ancient Parsi for the sake of their opponents.

But I think the broader purpose for such defiant slogans is not to demoralize or challenge the enemy, but to hearten and embolden one's own soldiers. Seeing such bold defiance to the enemy would generally have positive effects on the soldier's morale and courage.

Also at the site is a more ancient elegy to the fallen Spartans composed by simonides or something like that, which can be translated as "Go tell the Spartans, thou who passest by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie."

Full disclosure: I have not seen "300", I do not care to see "300", and my knowledge/interest in the battle of thermopylae far predates said movie and is entirely unrelated to it. Just wanted to get that out in the open.

Matt said...

Haha, love the '300' disclaimer.

And yeah, I had no clue Texas had ever been independent until I went there for training a couple months ago. They're still rather proud of their accomplishment.

But still...did we ever fight Mexico for anything but a few more acres to call the US/Texas?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Manifest Destiny, baby. Much more than a paltry few acres, the Meximerican War as I've now renamed it basically resulted in us getting all the way to the coast, and includes California. So Texas, the Southwest, California, probably a quarter of the current US in total.

I make no attempt to justify or make moral arguments on which side was in the right or wrong because I'm very, very uneducated on that war. Wars are enormously complex when you get into morality. Reading Conan Doyle's book on the 2nd Boer War, which was a contemporary account written from a British perspective, gives interesting insight on the complexities of why that war came to be, and it is never so simple as history 100 years later tries to make it (the British wanted control, imperialism, etc...the equivalent of saying the civil war was fought over slavery). In fact the core cause of the Boer War (the Uitlanders, or British and non-boer immigrants, seeking voting rights) makes for interesting comparisons to how immigration is handled in modern cultures (America and illegal immigration, Europe and heavy immigration without cultural amalgamation).

Way, way off topic, I know.

The Angry Coder said...

Funny thing about the Texas was for independence... Mexico was struggling to populate it's northern provinces so they put a shout out to all the gringos who may want to venture over. Well, they white man heard and came. They came in droves. They immigrated the Mexicans right out of their own lands! Mexico decided enough was enough (white people, that is) so they started to get tough with these undocumented immigrants. The white folk got mad back and, short story, kicked the butts of the Mexican army. Well that quite embarassing for Mexico. Texas thus became it's on country and, before too long, was admitted to the Union. This gave the US a good chance to seek a squabble with Mexico over the boundary of Texas and, as you pointed out, take the rest of northern lands. All in all, I'd have so say our current affairs are ironic.

I hear ya on thermopylae. Although I am also a huge fan of the movie 300. It's obviously highly stylized, but there is still some incredible historical detail in the movie. All of the traditionally accepted historical quotes from that war are present in the movie, the fighting style of the Greeks is dead on, the overall timeline and geography are very accurate. What is not accurate is the obviously hyperbolic good vs. evil presentation (this same Xerxes would later marry queen Esther) and the laughable idea that the Spartans were obsessed with ideas of freedom, when it was largely their slave culture that perpetuated their demise.

The Angry Coder said...

Man, I am sooo sorry for all the typos in that previous post. Please, uhm... please don't tell my wife! :X