What Is the Meaning of “molon Labe”?

“Molon labe” is a classical Greek expression of defiance meaning “come and take them.” The phrase was the response of King Leonidas of Sparta to King Xerxes of Persia at the Battle of Thermopylae when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks lay down their weapons and surrender.

Both politicians and generals in the modern age have used the phrase to express a nation’s or an army’s determination not to surrender. The phrase is even on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps and is the U.S. Special Operations Command Central?s motto. In addition, pro-gun activists in the United States widely use the phrase as a proclamation of the natural right to bear arms.