Thermopylae(redirected from Thermopalae)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
a mountain pass in Greece, on the border between Thessaly and central Greece, south of Lamia. In 480 B.C., during the Greco-Persian Wars, Thermopylae was the site of a major battle. Under the command of the king of Sparta, Leonidas, an allied Greek army of approximately 5,000 men blocked the pass and held off thousands of Persian troops, led by the King of Persia, Xerxes. With the help of a deserter, the Persians succeeded in reaching the rear of the Greek forces. Leonidas then dispatched troops to defend Athens, and he and 300 Spartan troops continued their stubborn defense to the last man. The Spartans later erected a monument at the site where the heroes died.