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Is Ukraine’s Zelensky an Unlikely Leonidas Facing Onslaught?

Volodymyr Zelensky
The courage of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is inviting comparisons to some of the greatest warriors in history, including Sparta’s King Leonidas. Credit: CC BY 4.0

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky rejects the notion that he is similar to King Leonidas of the Spartans, who faced down the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae in the year 480 BC.

“I don’t want Ukraine’s history to be a legend about 300 Spartans. I want peace,” he declared, intimating that he didn’t even want to lose the battle in order to eventually win the war — as the Spartans did. “We are on our land. We are ready for anything,” he stated with determination.

However, the Ukrainian leader’s meteoric rise to world prominence as the seemingly fearless leader of his people is quite reminiscent of the valiant battle of the Spartans at Thermopylae, who were vastly outnumbered but who fought with a bravery that has reverberated all around the world throughout the ages.

Zelensky a new Leonidas, showing incredible courage against overwhelming enemy

In a Facebook post and video he posted on Thursday, Zelensky stated “We are a people who have ruined our enemy’s plans in one week. Plans made dishonorably. Premeditatively. With hatred toward our country and our people, to all people who have two things: freedom and heart.

“But we stopped them and are beating them.”

The great Battle of Thermopylae and the valiant fight of 300 fearless Spartans under the command of warrior King Leonidas against 10,000 elite Persian soldiers is one of the most brilliant moments in ancient Greece’s history.

And in retrospect, it proved to be no less than a fight for the defense of Western Civilization itself. Although the battle itself was lost, the war was won.

Thermopylae (“Hot Gates” in English) was a mountain pass with great strategic importance for those traveling south from Thessaly into central Greece.

Zelensky: “Take them home”

This is where the 7,100 men of the allied Greek forces lay in wait for the invading forces.
The quarter-million strong Persian army, under King Xerxes, was advancing in central Greece with the aim of reaching Athens and taking over the city.Xerxes was certain that conquering Greece would be easy, given the sheer numbers of his vast army.

Yet Leonidas steadfastly refused to retreat. Allowing everyone else to leave, he kept his 300 Spartans with him, knowing they would fight against the Persians to the last man — and that’s exactly what they did.

The Battle of Thermopylae and the heroism of Leonidas and his brave hoplites have written one of the most brilliant pages of Greece’s long and rich history. Had the Spartans at Thermopylae fled in fear, it is likely that a Persian victory would have had the effect of promoting imperial hegemony over the concept of a free city state, coercion over free will, and authoritarianism over any remote notion of freedom.

Compared to the ancient Greek civilization of the time, the Persians, from a completely militaristic society, behaved like ruthless barbarians, according to historians.

Related: Russian oligarchs call for peace, offer to mediate

Zelensky blames Russian government, not Russian people, for war

Zelensky blames not the people of Russia but the leadership in the Kremlin for the unthinkable situation his country finds itself in today. In his most recent Facebook post, he stated “Our soldiers, our border guards, our territorial defense, even simple farmers are capturing Russian soldiers every day. and all of them are saying the same thing: they don’t know why they are here.

“Even though there are ten times more of them, the enemy’s morale is getting lower and lower. These are not warriors of a superpower. These are confused children who have been used. Take them home.”

However unthinkable it might be to think he and his people will lose this fight against a nuclear superpower, Zelensky said in a Facebook post early on Friday “We fight against a powerful enemy who surpasses us by number. Which surpasses us by technology.

“But what a thousand light years away from normal people with dignity.”



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