Molon Labe meaning: Marjorie Taylor Greene's mask message decoded

Iram Sharifah Khan February 4, 2021
Molon Labe meaning: Marjorie Taylor Greene's mask message decoded

“Molon labe” meaning explained: Earlier this week, Republican Congresswoman and QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly showed up to work sporting a face mask printed with the wordsmolon labe”. So what does the phrase mean and what’s the history behind it?

Molon Labe meaning explained

As you may have already guessed, Molon Labe is not an English expression.

Pronounced MOH-LON LA-VAY and historically known for its use by Spartan King Leonidas, it is a Greek phrase meaning “come and take it”. According to ancient historian Plutarch, just before the battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BCE, King Xerxes I of Persia asked Leonidas and the Spartans to lay down their weapons, to which Leonidas defiantly responded “MOLON LABE!”.

The phrase is famous for its laconic nature (that is, conveying as much meaning with as few words as possible) and for the spirit of Spartan defiance it was seen to embody.

In the present, however, the expression has been coopted for military tattoo designs and gun rights activists .

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s mask

Republican Congresswoman and QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, is no stranger to making a statement with her face masks. In the past, she’s worn masks with messages such as “free speech“, “censored” and, most recently, “molon labe”.

Twitter reacts to this use of Molon Labe

The latest mask message from Rep. Taylor Greene met with near-universal disapproval from Twitter users. Many of them felt it was an inappropriate statement in the wake of the recent Capitol siege that led to the loss of five lives.

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Iram is a London-based freelance journalist with a BA in Journalism and Media from Birkbeck University. She studied several modules, including Journalism in British Life, Interview skills and Feature Writing, Introduction to Journalism Practice and Manga and Anime. Iram went from university to work with GRV Media at The Focus Writers’ Academy and enjoys learning Japanese, taking singing lessons, playing video games and watching Korean dramas in her spare time.