In order to slow the progression of the Persian invasion, the Spartan general Leonidas with a small number of soldiers confronted the Persian army in a narrow pass between land and sea leading to central Greece. He thus allowed the bulk of the Greek army to flee towards the Isthmus of Corinth, while his men and himself perished in battle.
Bouchard, Elsa. "Battle of Thermopylae". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 March 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=11192, accessed 19 April 2014.]