Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

For other examples, visit HERE:



μολὼν λαβέ
Molṑn labé


Come take [them]!


This phrase is the legendary response from King Leonidas, of Sparta, to King Xerxes of Persia when the latter demanded the former and his soldiers lay down their arms. From wiki:

Plutarch cites the phrase in his Apophthegmata Laconica (“Sayings of Spartans”). The exchange between Leonidas and Xerxes occurs in writing, on the eve of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC):

πάλιν δὲ τοῦ Ξέρξου γράψαντος ‘πέμψον τὰ ὅπλα,’ ἀντέγραψε ‘μολὼν λαβέ.’

When Xerxes wrote again, ‘Hand over your arms,’ he wrote in reply, ‘Come and take them.’ (trans. Frank Cole Babbitt, 1931)