The History Channel – Sunday 25 May, 9.30pm
At the height of the Greek/Persian War, Xerxes, King of Persia, led the largest army ever assembled intent on conquering all of Greece. King Leonidas of Sparta accompanied by 300 Spartan warriors and a few thousand other Greek troops waited in the pass at Thermopylae to delay the might of the Persian Army, estimated at over a million men. Impossible odds – yet the Spartans and their allies held the narrow pass for seven days in August 480 BC inflicting shocking casualties on the Persians and fighting until every last defender was slain. After Custer, Thermopylae is the most famous last stand in history. It is still used today by military academies around the world as an example of how a group of well trained and well led soldiers can have an impact out of all proportion to their numbers.