From the Wikipedia: A "Laconic phrase" is a very short or terse statement, named after Laconia, an area of modern and ancient Greece. Laconians focused less on the development of education, arts, and literature. Some view this as having contributed to the Laconian characteristically blunt speech.
The Spartans were especially famous for their dry wit, which we now know as "laconic humour" after the region and its people. This can be contrasted with the "Attic salt" or "Attic wit", the refined, poignant, delicate humour of Sparta's rival Athens. In modern parlance, "laconic" is used to describe speech and writing which uses few words and is terse and concise. One famous example comes from the time of the invasion of Philip II of Macedon. With key Greek city-states in submission, he turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." The Spartans sent back a one word reply: "If". Subsequently, both Philip and Alexander would avoid Sparta entirely.
I am reading lately a lot of Ancient History and I could not enjoy it more... As I'm taking three weeks of vacation and it seems I will have to cancel my trip to Denmark due to health problems on a close member of my family, I guess I'll end up August having read 3-4 more books on the subject.
I am focusing these days on the Greece 500-400BC period, a time where the Greco-Persian Wars and the Peloponesian Wars took place. I'm combining historical facts and fictional books. The last book I have read on the subject, Gates of Fire from Steven Pressfield is clearly a fictional one but very accurate with the facts, nonetheless. Pressfield writes about the famous last stand that 300 spartans and a thousand allies took against all the persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae.
As always, the book blows away the film, and so this case is no different (300, a 2007 film based on the comic and directed by Zack Snyder, is all about aesthetics and has a stupid script to say the least). Words are stronger than a thousand images, and the novel describes perfectly how terrible this battle probably was.