The Greek phrase Molōn labe! (Μολὼν λαβέ; approximate Classical Greek pronunciation [molɔ̀ːn labé], Modern Greek [moˈlon laˈve]), meaning "Come and take them!" is a classical expression of defiance reported by King Leonidas in response to the Persian army's demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. It corresponds roughly to the modern equivalent English phrase "over my dead body," "bring it on" or, most closely, "come and get it." It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase.
Molon labe has been repeated by many later generals and politicians in order to express an army's or nation's determination to not surrender. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The expression "Come and take it" was a slogan in the Texas Revolution. Molon labe has been used once again in Greek history, during the 3rd of March 1957 battle between EOKA guerilla fighters in Cyprus, and the British Army. On March 3, 1957, after someone had betrayed his location, the British forces surrounded secret hideout of the Second in Command in the hieararchy of EOKA Grigoris Afxentiou outside his secret hideout near the Machairas Monastery. At the time, inside the hideout was Afxentiou and 4 fellow guerilla fighters. Realising he was outnumbered, Afxentiou ordered his teammates to surrender whilst he barricaded himself for a fight to the death. The British have asked Afxentiou to come surrender as well and he replied with the phrase Molon labe, imitating the ancient Greek Spartans. Unable to drive him out and after sustaining casualties, the British forces resolved to pouring petrol inside his hideout, burning him alive. In fear of popular uprising, the British buried his scorched body at the Imprisoned Graves, in the yard of the Central Jail of Lefkosia, where it lies until today. In the Anglosphere, both the original Greek phrase and its English translation are often heard from pro-gun activists as a defence of the right to keep and bear arms. It began to appear on pro-RKBA web sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the wake of firearm seizures during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent defiance by the New Orleans government of Federal court orders to return seized weapons, the phrase has again gained popularity among Second Amendment supporters.