Gates of Fire


Steven Pressfield

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Gates of Fire: Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

These were Xeo’s last words. Gobartes records that Xeo’s “god has used him up and restored him at last” to his comrades. Outside Xerxes’ tent, Athens is descending into chaos. Orontes apprehends some street rabble and shows them Xeo’s scarlet garment, asking if they know what it is. One of them replies that it’s a Spartan wrap. They also know where the sanctuary of Persephone of the Veil is located. Orontes gives the street urchins three months’ pay with instructions to bear Xeo’s body there and wait with it until the priestesses return from their evacuation. He asks them if they love their country, and their defiant expressions make clear their response. Orontes tells them that his man has preserved it and thus deserves to be borne with honor.
The gods allow Xeo to die as soon as he’s finished telling the story of Paraleia’s valor, suggesting divine approval of her as well. Orontes quickly finds a way to protect and restore Xeo’s remains to Diomache, relying on the defiant patriotism of the Athenians. These young Athenians are reminiscent of Xeo in his own youth.
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