Gates of Fire - Book 4: Arete, Chapter 15 - 17 Summary & Analysis

Steven Pressfield
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Over the next five years, Sparta makes war with other Hellenic city-states that submit to Persian rule. Darius of Persia dies, and Xerxes takes the throne. King Demaratos of Sparta goes into exile and joins the Persian court as a sycophant. The Persian empire expands alarmingly fast as Greeks sell out their freedom. The Spartans know they must fight the Persians in a decisive battle but do not know where this should take place. The Spartan women push for the decision to be made.

The movement starts with refugees from other Greek city-states congregating in Sparta. The refugee women tell of Persian atrocities, and this infuriates the Spartan women. They hound the Spartan soldiers who have returned in shame from an aborted battle at Tempe. The Spartans decide to make their stand at the Hot Gates near Thermopylae.

At first, the...

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