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Introduction Nearly 2500 years ago, a small army of warriors and their allies engaged in a battle against tyranny—freedom against slavery. Without this battle, it has been said, Western Civilization and Democracy would never have been born. Indeed, were it not for the Battle of Thermopylae in the year 480 B.C., America could never have existed. And, here is the story of Dienekes: Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows would blot out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh: 'Good. Then we will fight in the shade.' Herodotus, Histories, 7.226