What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

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What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby Pat on Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:07 pm

From the 1911 forum:

“We are all familiar with the Greek expression "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" and even Greeks translate it into English as "Come and get them".

Today though, I learned the exact translation of that phrase, thanks to a post from a friend, who mentioned the explanation given by a Greek professor of classic literature and historian, Mr. Antonis Antonakos.

Now, I do not insinuate that this explanation is a new one, it has already been posted in several blogs and sites, but for me, it was a revelation, since I always wondered the same thing, where does the word "ΜΟΛΩΝ" comes from and why didn't Leonidas said "ΕΛΘΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", "ΕΛΘΩΝ" being the past tense participle of the verb "ΕΡΧΟΜΑΙ" (I come), which would also mean "Come and get them".

Here is the explanation.

In ancient Greek, there were many verbs one could use, to say "come". Each of these verbs has a slightly different meaning, they all mean the same thing, "come", but there are some "hidden" details in the use of each one of these verbs. The verb "ΈΡΧΟΜΑΙ" (read "erhomae") could have been used by King Leonidas, in the form of "ΕΛΘΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", which is translated to "Come and get them". However, Leonidas used another verb, the verb "ΒΛΩΣΚΩ" (read as "vlosko"), which has the simple past tense "ΈΜΟΛΟΝ" (read "emolon") and whose participle is "ΜΟΛΩΝ".

While Vlosko also means come, it was used by ancient Greeks, when one wanted to say that he is coming to a place or going to a place, after having found the courage to do so. So when Leonidas used the words "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", he was telling Xerxis (the Persian king), "find the courage first, and then come and get them". Leonidas wanted to let Xerxis know how determined the Spartians were, that's why he used that verb.

So the exact translation is:


If you have guts, come and get them.


I hope this explanation will be shared with more people, in order to exactly understand why King Leonidas used those words.‘’
"Happiness is...finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry." -Johnny Carson
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby Ghost on Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:14 pm

Part of me was hoping this would say it was translated incorrectly and people whom have tattooed it on themselves would find out it meant something different.

Thanks for the history lesson.
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby nhluke on Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:06 pm

I shared Ghost's previous and current line of thinking.
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby PileDriver on Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:36 am

Thirded :)
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby BigDog58 on Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:14 pm

I still like this one

Molon Labe.jpg
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby linksep on Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:06 pm

Everyone was wishing for this:
tattoo.jpg
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Re: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ really means

Postby JLieu on Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:50 pm

Neat summary and context.

Thanks for the info!
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