“Molon Labe”: The meaning of an iconic phrase popular with 2nd Amendment protectors
We’ve all seen the cool posters, t-shirts, and web banners with the slogan “Molon Labe” on them. And many have done like I have and Google/Bing-ed the phrase to see what it meant. For those who have not, here you go!
Molon labe (pronounced moˈlon laˈve]), is an Ancient Greek phrase translated to mean “come and take”. It is a classical expression of defiance reportedly spoken by King Leonidas I in response to the Persian army’s demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. Many may remember the scene referenced in the following video from the movie “300”.
Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army’s or nation’s determination not to surrender. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The expression “Come and take it” was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.
In America, both the original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro-Second Amendment activists and Tea Party members as a defense of the right to keep and bear arms. It began to appear on web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The phrase again gained popularity among supporters of the Second Amendment, as it has the connotation of a strong belief in the ideals of personal freedom and in the individual right to self-protection. In the Second Amendment or firearms freedom context, the phrase expresses the notion that the person uttering the phrase is a strong believer in these ideals and will not surrender their firearms to anyone, including governmental authority. (Info courtesy of Wikipedia.)