}The three-day battle for the pass at Thermopylthe Hot Gateswas a critical contest in Xerxess massive invasion of Greece. The bloody stand made there by Leonidas and his small Spartan army in 480 B.C. has been hailed ever since as an outstanding example of patriotism, courage, and sacrifice. The ambitions of King Xerxes were vast. Having amassed a Persian army that was the largest force of men and ships ever assembled, he set out to conquer Greece, at the same time sending an army of Carthaginians to overrun Sicily. Thus the two forces planned to open the gates to the wealth of the western Mediterranean and march upon most of the kwn world.Ernle Bradfords narrative embraces the entire era of the invasion, from the building of the incredible wooden bridge across the Hellespont to the final crushing defeat of the Persian rear guard at the battle of Plata. There, as before, the Spartans were the decisive force, turning out in massive numbers. It was at Thermopyl, however, that the fate of Xerxess forces was determined by a small band of Spartans. In Thermopyl, Ernle Bradford brings to life the personalities and fantastic battles of this epic period with unmatched skill and verve. }
Ernie Bradford served in the Royal Navy during World War II. His many books include The Great Siege, Ulysses Found, The Shield and the Sword, Paul the Traveler, and The Sultan's Admiral .