"nor for the epitaph at Thermopylae"
Memorial to the Spartans at Thermopylae
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMemorial to the Spartans at Thermopylae - Credit: Rafal Slubowski, N. Pantelis, Wikimedia Commons

A reference to an elegiac couplet by the Greek poet Simonides (556-468BC), part of a eulogy he wrote to the 300 Spartans who died fighting the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC).

The couplet is the epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on the grave of the Spartans at the site of the battle.

There are numerous translations of the couplet from the original Greek, one of which reads:

 

Go tell the Spartans, passerby,

That here, by Spartan law, we lie.

 

The Battle of Thermopylae was the subject of a 1962 film, entitled The 300 Spartans.