Sacrifice and such

yes but surrender was no option for spartans.
their whole society was based on war. they were the best warriors in that region.
they lived a very simple (spartanic, thats where the word comes from) life.
they only lived to fight.
They were told by their mothers to come back home with or on their shields. not without them. (what is the first thing you would throw away when you run?).
a spartan warrior that surrenderd wasnt allowed to come home again, he was no spartan anymore.
so at the thermopyles they had no other option than to stay and fight.
the sad thing is, i remembered that from a movie, "the 300 spartans" was a good movie which culminated in the aforementioned battle.
they were offered surrender, but declined, as they had truly been indoctrinated to "never give up" and im not just talking military terms here, from an early age, these ppl were taught that they had to fight in order to survive, if they couldn't fight, they weren't fit to live.
If you don't count equipment, these guys could take any person in the military today. They started training as soon as they were born. No SOF personnel trains as hard now as they did then. Respect.