QI | How Many Spartans Died In The Battle Of Thermopylae?

  • Published on Dec 2, 2019
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    This clip is from QI Series L, Episode 11, 'Lumped Together' with Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Ronni Ancona, Jimmy Carr and David Mitchell.
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Comments • 550

  • Carl Bailey
    Carl Bailey 6 days ago

    Up to 11,000 Greeks, led by the Spartans onaccounta them being likely to toss a wobbler if'n they weren't allowed to feel important.

  • Carl Bailey
    Carl Bailey 6 days ago


  • The Derp
    The Derp 9 days ago +1

    2:09 Winning the battle of Thermopylae?! It was a loss for the greek coalition, which led to Athens being sacked.

  • David Martin
    David Martin 12 days ago

    Well wasn't there rumores that soldoers were incouraged to "sleep" with each other so to not be distracted during the battles?

  • CalLadyQED
    CalLadyQED 13 days ago

    David Mitchell is right, as usual

  • WhosYourDaddyNow
    WhosYourDaddyNow 21 day ago +3

    "Less things had happened back then" sounds like something Karl Pilkington would say...

  • christopher cook
    christopher cook Month ago

    The death toll was spartan in comparison with some battles.

  • JackDManheim
    JackDManheim Month ago

    Each Spartan had 3 squires (they were called something else, but the same concept applies).
    There were 1,200 men killed.

  • Tim Huguenin
    Tim Huguenin Month ago

    If you want to be possessive it’s just I T S but if it’s supposed to be a contraction then it’s I T apostrophe S, scallawag
    - Strong Bad

  • Troll
    Troll Month ago

    *How the Brits spend their free time*

  • Sister Mary Clements

    Fake his-story. Enjoy the fairytale.
    Tell-lie vision. It's a hell of a drug.

  • Pasha Pasovski
    Pasha Pasovski Month ago

    Goat herder was killed as well, he was Spartan !

    • Egregius
      Egregius Month ago

      Only in the film. He was a local after all, and the pass is not near Sparta.

  • Richard Hoffman
    Richard Hoffman Month ago


  • MGTOWGem
    MGTOWGem Month ago

    Spartans true warriors, a formidable force, 300 Spartans, would take a thousand imposters!}

  • Alan Carlón
    Alan Carlón Month ago


  • Alin Sarbulescu
    Alin Sarbulescu Month ago +1

    One Spartan was sent back with reinforcement request! So at least one survived out of the 300. LOL

  • Deathnotefan97
    Deathnotefan97 Month ago

    Didn't each spartan have 2 squires (or whatever the ancient Greek equivalent of a squire was)?

    Weren't they also Spartans?

    If so then the number who died is 901

    • Blackpearlmatt
      Blackpearlmatt Month ago +1

      Deathnotefan97 each Spartan did have several helots who would take care of their armour and other things but they weren’t considered Spartan, more slaves and so second class citizens so the number remains at 300 Spartans

  • MikeCharlieAlpha
    MikeCharlieAlpha Month ago

    Herodotus was an orientalist. You can’t trust orientalists.

  • Edie Wilde
    Edie Wilde Month ago +4

    They also *lost* the battle.

  • monkeynuts
    monkeynuts Month ago

    Aye 2 Spartans were sent with about a 1000 locals to defend the passage that the immortals used to flank the Spartans and the rest of the Greek forces

  • Daniel Zajíc
    Daniel Zajíc Month ago +1

    what do you mean by "Spartans take credit for winning"? When they lost.

  • John Ruddy
    John Ruddy Month ago

    @0:10 documentaries jimmy are usually full of bollocks

  • just another human
    just another human Month ago +9

    "How Many Spartans Died In The Battle Of Thermopylae?"
    300 britons, according to real history???

  • Роби Латковић

    Yes TheXvid I love history , but not shit like this

  • Jarrod Bright
    Jarrod Bright Month ago +4

    Everyone forgets the Helots... they were from Sparta too.

    • Jarrod Bright
      Jarrod Bright Month ago

      @Morteza Amirmojahedi I concur; they were not citizens of Sparta. I would ask you though, would you call Roman slaves Romans? Or a different nationality?
      Likewise, what nationality would you call Helots if not Spartans; Laconians? If you want to count only the Spartan citizenry then the more correct term would be Dorians to reflect their origins, but that is a term you never hear outside of an anthropology text, we call them Spartans... the same as we did the previous inhabitants of Laconia during the Mycanean hegemony

    • Morteza Amirmojahedi
      Morteza Amirmojahedi Month ago

      every spartan soldier was accompanied by two helots to carry out they weapons and do other services and they died too. but they were not citizens of sparta.

  • Arbiter Lite
    Arbiter Lite Month ago

    It was the Boeotian Thespians who fought with Sparta?

  • Cameron Murrell
    Cameron Murrell Month ago

    The Allied Greek forces at Thermopylae included an estimated 5,000 Athenian and other city state soldiers along with 300 Spartans. The Greeks never “won” at Thermopylae but they slowed the Persian forces a great deal and killed a large portion of Darius’ army. The Spartans ultimately provided a last stand at Thermopylae and allowed the remaining Greek forces to retreat further south and prepare future defensive positions.

  • zondaintheair
    zondaintheair Month ago +4

    In a hundred years time Government reports will tell the people how gallant and honest MPs behaved concerning Brexit.

    • Steve Collins
      Steve Collins Month ago

      History will eviscerate them for the traitorous treasonous people they are.

  • shelby R. Grant
    shelby R. Grant Month ago

    The Battle at Themopylae wasn’t even a speed bump for the Persians. They continued to roll in and stomped Greek ass

  • Ash Scott
    Ash Scott Month ago +1

    Well...not one single shred of physical evidence of the battle has ever been found, so...

    • V4 Enthusiast
      V4 Enthusiast Month ago +2

      Obviously the movie-depiction is unrealistic, but the battle has always been well known (up there with Cannae and Agincourt)

    • prekreich
      prekreich Month ago

      Physical evidence like what? Leonidas left bollock? It was more than 2000 years ago

  • Rana Abdullah
    Rana Abdullah Month ago


  • madquest8
    madquest8 Month ago

    Sandi... of No.73 fame....

  • GG
    GG Month ago

    They didn't win though. What is he talking about? They just stalled the Iranian troops for a few extra days. Iranian troops then moved on and burned Athens and went back. Lmao how is that a win?

    • GG
      GG Month ago

      @JiManiacer there was no Greece you dick weed. And who said the plan was to take Athens? Xerxes just sent a mercenary force to sack Athens for its support for Greek colonies in Asia Minor and they did just that. They sacked Athens. You're just making shit up on the fly.

    • JiManiacer
      JiManiacer Month ago +1

      They failed in their total plan which was conquest and subjugation of Greece. Thanks to delayed plans and the destruction the spartans and co caused the Persians.

  • Nova Sky
    Nova Sky Month ago +1

    So one Spartan called Apostropheus got left off the end of the shieldwall by mistake. This is Madness!

  • Blair Buskirk
    Blair Buskirk Month ago

    Not to mention the fact that every Lacaedonian( Spartan) hoplite also had two or three slave retainers to care for their armour and weapons as well as to provide support as slingers. Remember this was back when you had to carry everything you took to battle , usually on foot at that.

  • Stewart MacLean
    Stewart MacLean Month ago

    All of them

  • Ridhuan AB
    Ridhuan AB Month ago +1

    ".... Every last one of them..." - tom cruise

  • frank grochowski
    frank grochowski Month ago +3

    As this happened over two thousand years ago, I would say all of them.

  • Cole Scott
    Cole Scott Month ago

    Is it not true that the 300 Spartans were a bit exagerated? I thought the number was more 3000. Just 300 made a better legend of the battle?

    • Edward Coyle
      Edward Coyle Month ago +1

      300 was the kings personal guard. His secret service if you will.
      Spartans were not allowed to fight during the holiday that Xerxes chose to invade on.
      The priests told Leonidas that he could not go to war during the festival as the gods forbid it. He told them he was not going to war, he was "going for a walk" ...and taking his 300 with him.
      The definition of badass should have Leonidas's picture.

  • azaroma
    azaroma Month ago

    That was so many fun!

  • lecu1967
    lecu1967 Month ago

    Fry let slip that the battle was a victory for the greeks

  • LuxBelle
    LuxBelle Month ago

    They didn't win the Persians in the battle of thermopylae. They won later though.

    • Thrilalia
      Thrilalia Month ago +1

      In their mind they did. The point of Thermopylae wasn't to repel the Persians, but to stall them long enough for cities north of the Isthmus of Corinth to fall back into the Penepolonese, which they were successful at.

  • sam rotter
    sam rotter Month ago

    How many bipolar people just fucking play games cos there poo is different

  • Tonezone
    Tonezone Month ago

    The better question is
    *How many didn’t?*

  • Fred Landry
    Fred Landry Month ago

    There were thousands of other Greeks.

  • Domasiukas
    Domasiukas Month ago +4

    This show would be gold if I understood their accent better.

  • S R
    S R Month ago

    I don’t know but a Spartan died in Deptford yesterday smh RIP Bis😔

  • badfoody
    badfoody Month ago +10

    300 Spartans, 600 Helot Squires and a thousand Thebans stayed
    Lol I said Thespians earlier. Edited it out

    • Egregius
      Egregius Month ago

      From wikipedia: "Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, fighting to the death. Others also reportedly remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans; most of these Thebans reportedly surrendered. "

    • Darke Zheng
      Darke Zheng Month ago

      Also, 400 Thebans.

    • Jimbo Slice
      Jimbo Slice Month ago +4

      I know you're referring to "citizens of the ancient city of Thespis," but I prefer the mental image of 300 bloody Spartan warriors, their 600 personal battle attendants swapping out swords as they get broken on Persian skulls, and a thousand really dramatic college students doing improv skits in the background

  • raju naidu
    raju naidu Month ago

    They were also 7000 Greeks in a flank

  • Bob Smith
    Bob Smith Month ago +1

    Well ... other than the ALL of Them mentioned in the other comments - who knows how many were still left? How many were wounded and sent back earlier? Did they count that guy that betrayed them? Where did Leonidas fit in? Was he #301 or #300? Almost no military unit is at TO & E strength? Did they fill out Leonidas's guard completely? Was 300 ever an exact number to begin with? Does someone have the names of everyone there?
    Yes, there were several thousand Greeks there besides Leonidas and his Personal Guard but that number varies - I've heard like 7,000 but then what are you counting? There were Greeks guarding that pass the Persians used to flank them - who fell back to protect their own city and left the back door open for the Greeks in the pass to be out flanked. Are they being counted?
    I'd really not think it credible to think that anyone is going to have a precise number for something like that.

    • Bob Smith
      Bob Smith Month ago

      @Rebecca Hawkins OK Moron.

    • Rebecca Hawkins
      Rebecca Hawkins Month ago

      Ok boomer

    • Bob Smith
      Bob Smith Month ago

      @Rebecca Hawkins
      Yes. I'd say that you're right about the Períoikoi
      not being considered Spartans - as the question was phrased.
      There do seem to have been 900 Helots though ...
      they wouldn't have been considered Spartans but ... I was curious about them ... and yes - they all stayed and died.
      I was aware that the number was accepted to be 300 but not that Xenophon was the source for that. I've read the Anabasis -
      but that's about it. I don't remember there being a reference to Thermopylae there - so - which was the document he referred to them in?
      A Levels ... I'm only vaguely aware of how the educational system in the UK works - so - that's like an Advanced Level for what we could consider a Secondary Education (or High School) here in the States. Not University Level - right? So you'd be like 17 give or take a year when you achieved that? And you'd be in University now?
      I got a Masters Degree in History in 1980 - but there were no jobs in the field then - so I made a career in technology but am retired now.
      One of the problems I have with the things I've read - is that a lot of it was 30 or 40 years ago ... and I just don't remember some of it all that well. So - when I get into discussions like this - I have to re-read some things and ... am really only going to take so much time doing that - though I am happy for the additional information I get that way.
      As to the Spartan wounded - they had fought the battle for several days before they were cut off. While - yes - the guy with the eye infection was sent back and the other guy killed himself - was that it? Were all the rest of the casualties they took Walking Wounded? It wouldn't make a lot of sense to me to keep people who could no longer stand up laying around just behind the lines when they could be evacuated to the rear where they could get better medical attention. I mean - they sent the guy with the eye infection back - was he really the worst injured? How would we know? Would Herodotus
      really have gone accurately into that level of detail? And - how would we know if he was right or wrong - without another source? Does Herodotus mention the exact number that were still at Thermopylae at the end and the exact number that had died before that? He could have - I just don't know and don't have access to his work on that battle.
      Again - my entire point with all of this - is that these guys are setting themselves up as some kind of smart people who can ask tricky questions - but - by trying to be really precise about something we don't have a lot of information on and what we do have being over a thousand years old ... I'd not do that. Now - IF - he had phrased it differently - i.e. "According to Herodotus ... " then that would have been fine - but that isn't what he did. He asked how many Spartan's died - as if HE really knew - when I would submit - that he can't be that sure about it with that degree of precision. Saying it was 299 because there were 301 in the first place counting Leonidas and 2 of them were missing - is assuming his facts are more accurate than he has a right to.

    • Rebecca Hawkins
      Rebecca Hawkins Month ago

      As for the other issues I don't know everything I only do ancient history as an A Level. It's possibly that the perioikoi looked after the helots or perhaps the ephors. The question is on the spartiates and that would consist just of the King's bodyguard which was 300 in number.

    • Rebecca Hawkins
      Rebecca Hawkins Month ago

      Our source for the 300 men bodyguard would be Xenophon. The Spartans would not simply leave injured they would fight and die that's why it was so shameful for the one guy that did leave with an eye infection.

  • johnny cash
    johnny cash Month ago

    That bellend with the stupid laugh gets on my tits.

  • ProtMythic
    ProtMythic Month ago +1

    there were about 10,000+ slaves

  • The Sydney Stone Company

    Not as upset. haha

  • YouveBeenGreeked
    YouveBeenGreeked Month ago

    *I approve.* 👍🏼 Λ

  • R Greenup
    R Greenup Month ago

    In general this show is about as funny as watching an ice block melt.

    • R Greenup
      R Greenup Month ago

      @john bloggs No I'm not, there is good British humour and there is bad. This falls well and truly into the bad. It's so try hard without any substance.

    • john bloggs
      john bloggs Month ago

      R Greenup you must be American 😂😂😂

  • n n
    n n Month ago +39

    Don't know how Fry can have a whole segment about this without mentioning the 700 or so Thespians. Now gods, stand up for actors!

  • Snowy
    Snowy Month ago

    Four naans?

  • Edward Coyle
    Edward Coyle Month ago +1

    As I have been informed, and according to Herodotus, after the persians timidly attacked Greek lines boarding on disobedience of the order to attack, Leonidas ordered a single Spartan to attack the Persian lines. He did so with vigour and was then ordered to return to formation when proven that Spartans will follow orders.

  • Edward Coyle
    Edward Coyle Month ago +29

    2 Spartans had an eye infection.
    1 was excused the other just fought blind.

  • Aiki Hanley
    Aiki Hanley Month ago