When a Spartan warrior left for war, his mother would hand him his shield, with the words 'either with it or on it', i.e. that he should return either victorious or dead, either carrying his shield or being carried on it. They didn't go in for sentimentality, those Spartans. The word 'laconic' derives from Laconia, a polis of ancient Sparta. Spartans were expected to be people of few words.
Done as a menu background for '0 A.D' from Wildfire.