One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pass between the mountains and the sea in Greece, about 200 km (120 miles) north-west of Athens, originally narrow but now much widened by the recession of the sea. In 480 BC it was the scene of a defensive action by an outnumbered Greek force of 6,000 men against the invading Persians under Xerxes I. Among the defenders were 300 Spartans, all of whom, including their king Leonidas, were killed.
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