"ΤΑΝ Η ΕΠΙ ΤΑΣ"
Meaning "either you will win the battle, or you will die and then be carried back home on your shield".
It was said by Spartan mothers to their sons before they went out to battle to remind them of their bravery and duty to Sparta and Greece. A hoplite could not escape the field of battle unless he tossed away the heavy and cumbersome shield. Therefore losing one's shield meant desertion"