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Greeks should remember the lessons of history

Published 15/07/2015

The current fiasco regarding the Greek Government and the European banking establishment seems eerily similar to the Battle of Thermopylae 2,500 years ago, a battle that looms large in the Greek national identity, as well as in pop culture in general.

In this battle, using their tried and tested wall of spears formation which they called a "phalanx", the Greeks successfully stalled the advance on Athens of a foreign army that was many times their number.

Even though it was only a blocking action while on a strategic retreat, the battle was very soon talked up as a great victory by a small Greek army over the nearly-innumerable foreign hordes seeking to force their will on the Greek people.

This battle seems to be dictating the Greek response in 2015 to the European banks seeking to get their money back. Athens seems convinced that, if it just forms a political phalanx, then it can defeat the banks. But this is to miss the reality of the battle.

Phalanxes lack mobility and manoeuverability and are wide open to attack if the enemy is creative. Plus, the Greeks at Thermopylae were eventually surrounded and destroyed by their enemies.

And, to top it off, Athens itself was seized and burned, with many Greeks going over to the enemy.

Just a bit of insight for Athens.

COLIN SMITH

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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