Chances are that you’ve seen the slogan, “Molon Labe” somewhere, whether it is on a hat, shirt, flag, or tattoo. You may have figured out that it somehow represents a pro-2nd Amendment crowd, but its true meaning is rooted deep in history and the story behind its use is truly one for the ages. Learn more about it below!
The Origin of the Molon Labe
Before we recount its origin, it’s important to know how to properly pronounce the phrase so you don’t embarrass yourself when discussing it. The most common American pronunciation phonetically is “mow-lahn lah-bay,” and the more classic Greek version is “mow-loan lah-vay.” Either of these is an acceptable way to read and say the phrase.
The direct translation of Molon Labe is “Come and take them.”
It’s starting to make sense as a rallying cry for gun enthusiasts, right?
So where did Molon Labe originate?
Let’s Go Back to Ancient Greece
In 480 BC, Persia was busy invading Greece at an alarming rate. The Persian king Xerxes reportedly had an army that numbered in the millions, and they were very successful in their quest. Sparta stepped up to try and stop the Persians.
King Leonidas of Sparta had a much, much smaller army at his disposal, but chose to confront the Persians at a narrow pass at Thermopylae. This is so his men did not have to face the full Persian army. In what came to be known as the Battle at Thermopylae, Sparta faced off with Persia. King Leonidas and his 300 men were sorely outnumbered but ready to fight nonetheless.
However, when Xerxes sent his ambassador demanding Sparta lay down their arms, King Leonidas simply said, “Molon Labe” – “Come and take them.”
It kind of goes without saying that Leonidas and his 300 men did not survive the battle. However, they are credited with taking down tens of thousands of Persian soldiers. The battle was so gory that Persia began to lose their interest in the war.
The Use of Molon Labe Today
King Leonidas refused to give up his weapons, even in the face of certain death. And anyone sporting Molon Labe gear shares the sentiment. A well-armed populace is the last line of defense against a tyrannical government.
History has proven time and again that disarming the public leads to their enslavement. Those with guns hold power over those without. Genocides and atrocities have repeatedly happened throughout the world, to those who cannot defend themselves.
Despite gun control being proposed and passed throughout America, 2nd Amendment supporters will stand up for our right to bear arms. Even as all-out bans on firearms loom and access to ammunition and accessories dwindle, gun owners will fight before they give up their arsenals.
Like Leonidas before us, we will not go quietly into the night. Legislators and elected politicians have chipped away at the 2nd Amendment bit-by-bit.
But when the day comes that we are asked to turn in our weapons, we will stand up and say, Molon Labe!