there in defence of the Peloponnese, which was all the Greece that Sparta cared about. This meant the desertion of all the northern parts. Eventually she was persuaded to try resistance at the northern passes, but she did so half-heartedly. Tempe was found to be indefensible, for the invaders were pouring over another pass to the west of it. The first resistance was therefore made at Thermopylæ, where the mountains left only a narrow track along the shore.
The battle of Thermopylæ and the death of Leonidas with his three hundred Spartans are often represented as a forlorn hope and a gallant suicide. It was, on the contrary, a reasonable plan of defence, though intended only as a first line of resistance. Six thousand Greek hoplites marched with Leonidas, and they should have been sufficient to hold that narrow pass, and the mountain track, which alone could turn it, against a great force. Of course, the Persians were