© Artistic Ave Productions
The city of Thermopylae is famous for many reasons, mainly the Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian wars. It’s name actually means “hot springs” or “hot gates,” because of the hot sulfur springs in the area. The city lies to the north and west of Athens, and it contains a coastal pass between the mountains and the Gulf of Malia that connects Thessaly and Lokris. Much of the information that we have concerning Thermopylae, and especially the Battle of Thermopylae, comes from the author Herodotus. His work called The Histories includes the research he conducted about the battle (mostly contained within Book 7), along with some of his own opinions about what happened.
The city of Thermopylae is connected to several mythological tales. According to some, Thermopylae was believed to be one of the entrances to Hades. In the story of Heracles, he received a cloak infused with hydra poison that he could not take off. It was supposedly the river at the base of Thermopylae where Heracles jumped in to remove the poison on his cloak, after which the river became hot and stayed that way ever since.
What You Can See There
After the famous Battle of Thermopylae, there were several monuments constructed to honor those who died. The epitaph of Simonides was constructed on top of the burial site of the Spartans, on the hill in which the Spartans and Thespians made their last stand. The Leonidas Monument is a bronze statue of the Spartan king, with a marble frieze underneath honoring the heroes that were distinguished in the battle and those who were recorded by Herodotus. Their names and the city-states that they were from are also recorded with them. There is a monument dedicated to the Thespians as well, which features the god Eros, whom the Thespians revered most. Underneath this statue is a stone plate that explains all of the symbolism of the figure.
There are other sights to see in Thermopylae besides these memorials. For example, the hot springs for which the city gets its name still reside at the foot of the hill by the city. Additionally, the pass through which the Spartans battled the Persians is still there, now with a main highway cutting through the center.
The Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most renowned battles in Greek history. Like the Battle of the Alamo, it became an example of heroic resistance against numbers far greater than their own. The battle has inspired a metaphor of the resilience of the Greeks, and it has become famous as a testament to Greek pride, despite the fact that the Spartans lost against the Persians. And even though they did lose the battle, they did a good job of fending off the Persians for as long as they did. This brief success was mainly due to two reasons: the first being the topography (the pass where they fought was only about 100 meters wide), and the second being the amount of military training that the Spartans had.
During this battle in the Persian War, Xerxes and his Persian forces faced off against Leonidas and his Spartan forces, with help from Thebes, Thespiae, and several other Greek city-states. They struggled to defend Attica and Boeotia while the Greeks at Artemisium defended against the Persian navy. They managed to hold their own against the Persian forces for three days, despite being extremely outnumbered, before they were overtaken; Leonidas ended up releasing the majority of his army to defend other parts of Greece, leaving only 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans to stay at the pass of Thermopylae. Every single one of these Greeks were killed, but the Persians in turn suffered tremendous casualties. After the battle, the Persians proceeded to move throughout Boeotia and sack the city of Athens, though many of its citizens were able to escape.
Clara Adams (born Clara Grabau; 1884 – 1971), known as the “first flighter” and the “maiden of maiden flights,” was an aviator who set a variety of flying records. She helped popularize air travel and is known for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger aboard the Graf Zeppelin.
Amelia Mary Earhart, born July 24, 1897; disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to women students. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.
The girl with the tattooed face, Olive Oatman, became something of a legend, but she started out as an ordinary girl.
Olive Oatman and her younger sister, Mary Ann, were kidnapped by Indians in 1851. They eventually ended up living with a tribe of the Mojave, where they were both tattooed with distinctive blue markings on their chins.
Mary Ann died during a famine (along with many of the Mojave). Olive survived, though, and eventually returned to live among her own people again. There she told her remarkable story that started when her parents, Royce and Mary Oatman, packed up their seven kids in 1850 and left their Illinois farm for Missouri, where they joined a wagon train headed to California. Olive was 14 and Mary Ann was 7.
When some of the travelers splintered off, the Oatmans found themselves traveling without the safety of the group. They continued on and were spending a night on the banks of the swollen Gila River, in what is now Arizona, when they were attacked by Indians. (Olive later identified them as Apaches, but some think they may have been a branch of the Yavapai.)
Royce and Mary Oatman were killed, along with four of their seven children. At the end of it all, only Olive, Mary Ann, and their brother Lorenzo, age 15, were still alive.
Lorenzo had been clubbed and left for dead, but he eventually came to and found his way to a settlement, where his wounds were treated. Then he retraced his steps and found and buried his family’s bodies. In 1954, a marker was erected at their burial site by the Arizona society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It reads, “In memory of the Oatman Family, Six members of this pioneer family massacred by Indians in March 1851.”
Lorenzo found no trace of Olive and Mary Ann, but he kept looking.
The girls had been taken by the Indians who killed their parents, and according to Olive, they were mistreated as slaves for about a year. Then they were traded to a group of Mojave, who treated the girls better. The Mojave chief and his wife may even have adopted the girls.
While living with the Mojave, Olive and her sister got the distinctive tattoo markings on their chins. Westerners who study the tribe say this is a fairly common tattoo among the Mojave that is done ritualistically to ensure a good afterlife. Olive said it was done to mark them as slaves.
It was probably the drought and famine of 1855 that took Mary Ann’s life. She was 12 that year, and Olive was 19. Around that time, the white communities in the region began to hear about a white woman living among the Mojave. One sent a messenger asking for Olive’s return, and intense negotiations took place. Olive was eventually sent to Fort Yuma, where she learned that her brother Lorenzo had been searching for her and Mary Ann.
Ancestry tells us where she went from there: In the 1860 U.S. Census, you see Olive living in the household of the Stratton family. In fact, the head of household, a pastor named Royal B. Stratton, wrote a book about Olive’s (and Mary Ann’s) experiences. Royalties from the biography he titled “Life Among the Indians,” which was a bestseller, paid for Olive’s and Lorenzo’s education at the University of the Pacific. Olive lectured and spoke on her “life among the Indians” extensively to promote the book.
In 1865, Olive married cattleman John B. Fairchild, listed in census records as a money broker and later a banker. In 1870, when Olive was 32 and John was 40, he owned real estate worth $2,500 and had a personal estate valued at $10,000, which was off the charts compared to others in their neighborhood (it’s amazing what you can learn from the census). In 1880, their daughter, Mary, was seven. In the 1900 census, still in Texas, their daughter is 26, and a 30-year-old cook lives with them, as well a 4-year-old boy with a different last name, perhaps the cook’s son.
Olive suffered from depression and once spent three months in a “medical spa.” She died from a heart attack in 1903, and her husband passed away in 1907; both are buried in Sherman, Texas. The town of Oatman, Arizona, was named for her family. So they — along with Olive’s amazing story — live on.
Regret was a famous American thoroughbred racehorse and the first of three fillies to ever win the Kentucky Derby .
- (April 2, 1912 – April 11, 1934)
Sire Broomstick Grandsire Ben Brush Dam Jersey Lightning Damsire Hamburg Sex Filly Foaled 1912 Country United States Colour Chestnut Breeder Harry Payne Whitney Owner Harry Payne Whitney. Racing silks: Light Blue, white sash, brown cap. Trainer James G. Rowe, Sr. Record 11: 9-1-0 Earnings $35,093
Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC
- The Day the Music Died
- On February 3, 1959, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson.