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Thread: What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" means

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  1. #1
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    What "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" means

    We are all familiar with the Greek expression "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ" and even Greeks translate it into English as "Come and get them".

    Today though, I learned the exact translation of that phrase, thanks to a post from a friend, who mentioned the explanation given by a Greek professor of classic literature and historian, Mr. Antonis Antonakos.

    Now, I do not insinuate that this explanation is a new one, it has already been posted in several blogs and sites, but for me, it was a revelation, since I always wondered the same thing, where does the word "ΜΟΛΩΝ" comes from and why didn't Leonidas said "ΕΛΘΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", "ΕΛΘΩΝ" being the past tense participle of the verb "ΕΡΧΟΜΑΙ" (I come), which would also mean "Come and get them".

    Here is the explanation.

    In ancient Greek, there were many verbs one could use, to say "come". Each of these verbs has a slightly different meaning, they all mean the same thing, "come", but there are some "hidden" details in the use of each one of these verbs. The verb "ΈΡΧΟΜΑΙ" (read "erhomae") could have been used by King Leonidas, in the form of "ΕΛΘΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", which is translated to "Come and get them". However, Leonidas used another verb, the verb "ΒΛΩΣΚΩ" (read as "vlosko"), which has the simple past tense "ΈΜΟΛΟΝ" (read "emolon") and whose participle is "ΜΟΛΩΝ".

    While Vlosko also means come, it was used by ancient Greeks, when one wanted to say that he is coming to a place or going to a place, after having found the courage to do so. So when Leonidas used the words "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ", he was telling Xerxis (the Persian king), "find the courage first, and then come and get them". Leonidas wanted to let Xerxis know how determined the Spartians were, that's why he used that verb.

    So the exact translation is:


    If you have guts, come and get them.


    I hope this explanation will be shared with more people, in order to exactly understand why King Leonidas used those words.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org
    Likes (8) :
    BHP9 (9th May 2018), carsten1911 (19th July 2018), langshan (4th June 2018), Mark75H (9th May 2018), MountieFan16 (3rd June 2018), Pyrenean (9th May 2018), Rick McC. (3rd June 2018), Warbirdnut (17th May 2018)

    Last edited by John; 9th May 2018 at 19:42.


  2. #2
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    I like that translation better anyway. Thanks for the clarification and I will pass it along.

  3. #3
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    Well I'm Greek and I didn't know that, either.
    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter

  4. #4
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    Cool! Thanks, John.

  5. #5
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    What I had been taught was it translates as "having come, take."
    Harrison/Baer - Dan Wesson Valor- 10mm TRP Longslide w/Trijicon RMR

  6. #6
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    Cool

    John:

    Not being Greek (that I know about ), I'll stick with ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ....

    But it is interesting.... Thanks!

    Regards,
    Stu.
    (Why write a quick note when you can write a novel?)
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
    יזכר לא עד פעם

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    So the exact translation is:


    If you have guts, come and get them.
    Having looked into this a bit further, it looks like 'guts' in this example could possibly be replaced by another body part, the overall meaning remaining about the same.
    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter
    Likes (1) :
    garrettwc (3rd June 2018)


  8. #8
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    "If you have huevos, come and take them!
    Last edited by Dr. ACP; 3rd June 2018 at 08:18. Reason: Removing italics.


  9. #9
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    I am far from being any type of professor of the languages, but I am fairly certain that the Greek guy didn't spout the word "huevos". LOL

  10. #10
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    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    http://www.m1911.org

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