Thursday, 15 July 2010

300 (dir. Zack Snyder, 2006)

Edited to add, in response to some comments below: I don't have an inherent problem with historical inaccuracy in movies, but I note inaccuracies because I think people are interested in the real story (do let me know if this is not the case!). I do have a few problems with 300 specifically, but I do like it as a film and in general, I record inaccuracy purely for the sake of interest, not because I want to complain about the movie!

When Brother and I went to see 300 at the cinema a few years ago, we had a long, bitter argument in the car on the way back over the politics of it (this being back in 2006, obviously). Brother, who hates my tendency to over-analyse everything, insisted that it was just a big, silly, fun film and not to worry about it (I think – Brother now has no memory of this argument, but this is the sort of thing he often says!). Although I enjoyed the film, I thought the representation of the Greeks (for which, read Westerners) and the Persians (from modern Iran, of course) was so horribly blinkered as to be almost irresponsible. The Spartans, whose constitution was an unusual blend of monarchy and democracy and who enslaved the native inhabitants of the land they conquered so that they could form themselves into perfect soldiers while these people, the helots, did all the work of keeping them all alive, are portrayed as fighting for freedom and democracy. (G Kovacs pointed out in a recent conference paper that the word ‘democracy’ does not actually appear anywhere in the film, which is something, but it does appear in many reviews – the many references to freedom manage to leave the audience with the impression that democracy was included as well). The Persians, meanwhile, are depicted as religious fanatics with a god-king (that was ancient Egypt) who are literally monstrous. They’re covered in piercings, Xerxes is seven or eight foot tall and wears no clothes (but then, nor do the Spartans) they have bizarre rhino-monsters with them and they seem to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

The essential story the movie is based on does lend itself to some of this – the various Greek city-states were attacked by Xerxes, who wanted to conquer Greece and add it to the Persian Empire. Between Spartan victories on land and Athenian victories at sea, the Greeks managed to fight them off. And Athens, at this time, was the world’s first democracy – assuming you don’t worry about the slaves, resident foreigners, people who couldn’t prove the lineage of both parents and women, none of whom could vote. But this movie goes to such ridiculous extremes, totally ignoring the Spartan enslavement of the helots to claim them as champions of freedom and turning the Persians into religious fanatics, that it is clearly the product of a mid-noughties desire to make Persia look as bad as possible. Most tellingly of all, the famous ‘Go tell the Spartans...’ epitaph is made to refer to their deaths being caused by no one else being allowed to go to fight, whereas in Herodotus, the epitaph refers rather to the Spartans’ legendary refusal ever to give up or surrender.

Mind you, considering Xerxes speaks exactly like a Goa’uld, perhaps the god thing is less surprising and Leonidas should be on the look-out for spaceships... It should also be mentioned that he was a bit eccentric, and apparently he had the Hellespont, the sea between Europe and Asia, whipped because it wouldn’t obey him. So the movie isn’t being totally out of line – but I very much doubt he suffered from gigantism (which weakens the bones, not good in battle) or thought he was invulnerable.

The problem with discussing historical accuracy when it comes to Sparta is that ancient Sparta is something we actually know very little about. We are blinded by the ‘Spartan mirage’, a name for the problem of the nature of the information we have about ancient Sparta, which is nearly all from much, much later sources and none of it from Spartans. Ancient Sparta was a closed society, and no writings from Spartans themselves have survived. Xenophon, who was a mercenary, is probably the best source. We know the story of the 300 from Herodotus, the ‘father of history’, who is fascinating but who is not known for checking his sources (he was convinced there were giant gold digging ants in the Indian desert. Do not start telling me about camel spiders, I do not want to know, I was much happier before I’d ever heard of them!). Much of what we do know is probably closer to how the Spartans wanted to be viewed by others rather than how they really lived. In a way, this gives writers of historical fiction more licence to play, since we have so little knowledge of what Sparta was like that there’s a fair amount of room for invention. This movie, however, enjoyable as it is, goes to some ridiculous extremes and contradicts some of the more reliable stuff that we do know, or think we know, about Sparta.

The set up of the movie itself does not match the oracle and the pattern of events that Herodotus describes, so to save time – you can read Herodotus’ account here.

Much of Faramir’s opening narration, on the other hand, is fairly accurate. According to our sources, the Spartans did indeed expose sickly children, send boys to learn to be soldiers at the age of seven and make them go through various initiation rituals including some interesting oddities like stealing cheese and choral singing. The images that go with the spoken narration, though, go rather excessively over the top (unsurprisingly for a movie which seems convinced that the Spartans wore nothing but tiny underpants and red cloaks). The opening inspection of the baby is very dramatic – the practice, as far as we know, was real but I don’t think the Spartans actually left piles of baby corpses lying around at the bottom of a cliff – they would have been exposed in an isolated area and probably eaten by wild beasts or adopted by helots (the people conquered and enslaved by the Spartans).Then we see the mother crying and having to be restrained as the boy is taken away - why is she making such a fuss when this happens to everybody? This is just what Spartans did. OK, she might cry a bit, but she shouldn’t have to be restrained. And no matter how tough the Spartans expected their kids to be, they wouldn’t chuck them out into the snow with nothing but a loincloth on either, that’s just silly.

Grown-up Leonidas, otherwise known as the Phantom of the Opera, makes a good impression, with an excellent pointy ancient beard, but he has been taking accent lessons from Sean Connery, well known Spanish Russian naval captain. THIS IS SPARTA! is still cool after multiple viewings, perhaps even more so when you realise it’s Drill Sergeant Guy disappearing down the well. Although I do feel the need to point out that this is what really happened to Xerxes’ scout, according to Herodotus:

‘when he had observed all exactly, he rode back unmolested, for no one attempted to pursue him and he found himself treated with much indifference.’ 7.208.

Gorgo is very cool, and, I understand from the conference paper, a creation entirely of the movie. Spartan women did have more freedom than Athenian women, because the Spartans had worked out that a healthy woman who was able to exercise in the open air was more likely to give birth to strong, healthy children, so unlike Athenian women, Spartan women were not kept inside the house and were encouraged to exercise. I’m not sure they had quite as much clout or freedom as Gorgo, but she’s a great character and it’s not totally out of the bounds of possibility. Her story is rather depressing and unpleasant, but does have the best pay-off in the movie, when she stabs Theron to death and reveals his treachery at the same time.

The reference to the Athenians as ‘philosophers and boy-lovers’ is a bit rich coming from a Spartan. It’s true enough of the Athenians – the well known concept of ‘Greek love’, the sometimes sexual, sometimes ‘Platonic’ relationship between an older man and a younger boy, was indeed a common practice in ancient Athens, but equally in Sparta, relationships between men were encouraged because it was thought they would fight better for a lover than for a friend. Mind you, the Spartans preferred their men full grown and manly, so I suppose they might make derogatory comments about the Athenians for preferring boys.

There are no words for the total wrongness of the ephors and the Oracle (presumably the Delphic Oracle, the best known and most important oracle in ancient Greece). I’ve already linked to Herodotus’ account above (Leonidas’ march with the 300 was, according to Herodotus, inspired by an oracle, but it was an oracle that said either Sparta would be destroyed or one of the kings had to die, and he figured it was the lesser of two evils). As for the Oracle and ephors in general, let’s be brief and just say that the ephors were perfectly normal men, were not priests, and were elected annually. Their job was to provide a check and balance to the two kings. The Delphic Oracle was indeed a woman, possibly under the influence of something, possibly not, whose words were interpreted by the priests, but she grew old in her job and she wore clothes while doing it.

Some choice quotes from this section of the movie include, ‘Trust the gods’, ‘I’d prefer you trusted your reason’; ‘Diseased old mystics, worthless remnants... of a senseless tradition’ and so on and so forth. You don’t like religion. We get it.

The whole business with the old guy and his son is also contrary to Herodotus’ account, as Herodotus notes that since Leonidas was convinced he was going to die, he brought only men with living sons to leave behind. ‘Come back with your shield or on it’ is, however, a genuine Spartan phrase according to the sources, so that bit’s nice. I also like ‘our arrows will blot out the sun’, ‘then we will fight in the shade’. Just ‘cause it’s cool.

The whole ridiculous tree of corpses thing is, I discovered at a conference paper a couple of weeks ago, added for the film to make the Persians guilty of war crimes, in order to justify the Spartans’ own unpleasant actions. Epialtes, or Ephialtes, according to Herodotus, was a Malian. Not deformed, not a Spartan, killed later for another reason. Leonidas’ description of how a phalanx works is accurate though, and it is certainly true that someone like the Ephialtes depicted here could not fight in one. Mind you, we don’t actually see much of the Spartans fighting in phalanx formation anyway.


300 isn't the first depiction of the Spartans to insist that they ran around in battle half-naked. This is 'Leonidas at Thermopylae', by Jacques-Louis David, 1814.

At one point Xerxes refers to ‘every Greek historian’ – there weren’t many at this point (none whose work has survived), Herodotus was the first whose work we have. He also keeps referring to the armies of all Asia, which is a gross exaggeration, the ancient Persians were well aware of the existence of India and probably of China too. The ‘Immortals’ were an elite fighting force in Persia, but I don’t think they filed their teeth to fangs, somehow.

The Persian army, in addition to rhino-beasts, also appears to include Oliphants! And then... It’s a goat. Playing an upturned violin. Love isn’t love without an upturned-violin-playing goat. And I think this may be where I give up on relating this movie to reality in any way.

(I presume that this character is supposed to be a man with a goat mask or something on his head. It’s still stupid).

I watched this movie with Brother, who noted that it seems especially fond of nipples (he made no further comment, I’m glad to say). He also pointed out the narration problem – how does Faramir know what happens after he’s left – is he psychic or is he hiding behind a rock somewhere?!

One final historical note – Xerxes apparently chopped the head off Leonidas’ body and crucified it (the body, not the head), so his dying in cruciform shape is, for once, justified, though I suspect that this is not what the filmmakers were thinking of.

I also love the credit sequence. Ever since I saw the 1950s Around the World in 80 Days as a child I’ve been a sucker for a good credit sequence.

In fact, contrary to appearances, I actually like the movie a lot. It’s good fun, the characters are engaging and it’s a big, silly romp. What’s not to love about a bunch of men running around in their underwear fighting rhino-monsters?! The only thing that concerns me about it is that I hope no one thinks this is an accurate reflection of ancient history – which, given the aforementioned rhino-monsters, seems unlikely, so I think we’re safe. I’m not sure how I feel about the fetishisation (hmm, is that a word?) of the Spartans, which seems to fetishize (that’s definitely not a word) war in general, and I don’t like the extreme depiction of the Persians or the constant digs at religion, but as long as you don’t take it seriously, this film is a decent evening’s entertainment, preferably watched with alcohol and friends so it can be laughed at properly.

All references to the conference paper on 300 refer to ‘Truth, Justice, and the Spartan Way: Affectations of Democracy in Frank Miller's 300’, a paper given by George A. Kovacs, Trent University (Canada) at the conference ‘Classics in the Modern World - a Democratic Turn?’, held at the Open University, 18-20 June 2010.

23 comments:

  1. I could never bring myself to actually watch this. I know too much about ancient Greece, Thermopylae, and Sparta not to go into a frothing rage at every scene. I think it was when I heard about the war rhinos that I decided I could never see it.

    I could probably comment at a length longer than your post, so I'll restrain myself as best I can. But I must defend Herodotos. He was often far more critical than he is given credit for. He frequently says, "I saw this for myself" or "This is what I was told". And he was perfectly willing to say when he thought what he had been told was utter bollocks. As for those gold-digging ants, they were in India or Pakistan, not the Gobi and he has been proven right, sort of. There are marmots that tunnel just under the surface and toss up gold deposits. Apparently, the Persian word for marmot meant something like "mountain ant" and Herodotos just screwed up his translation.

    Not much is known for sure about the agoge, the training of the young Spartans, but there are indications that they were sent off with little more than a cloak. They were supposed to steal what they needed and not get caught. But the royal houses were also exempt from it.

    Gorgo gets a lot of ink from Herodotos, actually. She is shown as very clever, even at a young age, and is generally approved of. I think she is the only Greek woman to be mentioned at all and certainly the only one to get a speaking role. She's also one of the very few to be mentioned favorably. The only other one I can think of is Artemisia.

    As for their fashion sense, obviously the guy who drew the graphic novel, the art director, and the costume designer all bought a little too heavily into the whole heroic nudity thing. But then so have a lot of others over the centuries.

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  2. Hey, I love Herodotus, I think he's fab. And yes, I am aware that he often qualifies his statements. But I can hardly ignore the fact that his information is far from reliable at the best of times. And there is definitely some fairly crazy stuff in there along with the much more reliable stuff.

    (Have corrected the desert - my sense of geography is appalling).

    And yes, not much is known about the agoge - I figured I'd covered that with the Spartan mirage in general. I refuse to believe that any culture was dumb enough to send small boys into a snowstorm wearing nothing but a loincloth, which is what happens in the movie.

    This Gorgo is a creation of the movie, since she was written to create a female character for a movie based on a comic based on another movie - but she is a good candidate for it, as you point out.

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  3. Does it even snow all that often in Sparta? Up in the mountains, sure, but down on the plain where the city is? Even if it does, I can't imagine that it's very much or sticks around. And we are talking about a culture that had a story, true or not, that made a positive role model of a boy who let himself be bitten to death by a fox, rather than admitting he had it hidden under his cloak.

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  4. Up in the mountains is where the kid is sent in the movie and yes, it snows there (I went to Delphi in February once and got snowed on, it was quite cool!). And the fox thing is a story, not reality - the movie was suggesting the loincloth/snow thing was reality.

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  5. I think you're being a bit unfair on the film and the way it presents the Spartans and Persians. Firstly, the film is a pretty faithful adaption of a graphic novel and in particular, makes great efforts to capture the style and look of the original comic. So criticisms such as the depiction of Xerxes, the costumes and so on should really be directed at Frank Miller (the writer of the comic) rather than the film.

    More importantly, I think it's wrong to criticise the film for its depiction of Spartans and Persians. My take on the film is that if the Greeks had been able to make films two thousand years ago, this is the sort of film they'd have made. I thought it was brilliant that the film updated the contrast between the Spartans and Persians to use modern representations and reflect modern biases (for example veiled women) of the difference between West and East, to demonstrate the Greeks' own biases and distinctions between Greeks and Barbarians. I noticed in the credits that the film makers' advisor was Professor Cartledge, who lectured on "The Greeks and Others" back when I was a Classics student (and he was just a Doctor). You say this is "horribly blinkered" but I think that's the whole purpose.

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  6. I have heard that this is a very faithful adaptation of the comic, and I do like the way they've reproduced the style of the graphic novel (especially those end credits!). But I haven't read the novel, I've only seen the movie, so I have to judge the movie on it's own merits - if the filmmakers have chosen to keep the various inaccuracies etc then I have to look at and review their choices.

    As for the biased depiction of the two armies - I guess it depends on your taste. If you like blinkered movies, then fine, but I prefer a little more balance in my war movies.

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  7. This is a great discussion of the historical untruths-- but I think in order to really understand what's happening, we need to look at the point of view of the entirety of the movie, and from that perspective, I think it is VERY accurately drawn.

    The entire movie is told from the point of view of Faramir to psyche up the army of Greeks who are now about to wage war against Persia. It isn't about history-- it's about boasting and exaggeration and pumping up the people who are about to go out and die for their own city-state. It's the old warrior drunk on too much wine talking about how he took out this giant four legged beast with a trunk that was so huge it blotted out the sun with only his dagger and a piece of string. You know what I'm saying?

    Faramir's character doesn't know all the details, and maybe the details he knows need to be blown a bit out of proportion to make the Spartan army at his back more excited and more ready to follow him (monstrous rhinos and ogres included) to their deaths, the rest he will absolutely make up without remorse. Of course the Persians are going to be demonized-- that's the oldest trick in the book to make people go out and kill one another. Turning the foreign invaders into something even MORE other and INHUMAN is essential. And while the Spartan's might have been soldiers, the other men in the army from the other cities are definitely more citizen army than drilled in the fine arts of war, so they probably need all the encouragement he can give so they don't drop to their knees and beg for mercy. And man, those men on that field REALLY are fighting for freedom-- their own. The armies are made up of citizens and those citizens definitely were the free-est men around. That the helots will never get a share of this is beside the point-- it isn't about them. It's about the men who are doing the actual fighting.

    Taken from this frame of reference, I think the movie tells the story perfectly as one giant Sparta-loving Boast from a Spartan to a Spartan led (I don't know how accurate that is, honestly, but it seems like it would have been smart to put them in command) army of allies. It does the job of amping up the soldiers and getting them fired up for the war they're about to fight, determined to strike down the scourge of the Persians after the sacrifice their king made to give them the opportunity.

    Not to mention the fact that since it is a comic book adaptation, and not an adaptation from the historical record directly, it is all pretty much par for the course in regard to gross exaggeration of the facts and costuming (at least there were no overly polished and armored gods floating about). Comic books don't slave themselves to history-- and if you need another example of that, you can look no further than Marvel's Thor. But what comic books DO do, is relate MYTH-- and that's what the story of the 300 is, in this instance-- not history, but legend and myth. Grown from the tiniest mustard seed of truth into something larger than life!

    And that is my defense of 300. :)

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  8. The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
    Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
    And he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no returning.
    The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.

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  9. That's a really nice way to view it actually - you're right, if you view the whole thing as Faramir telling a good story to psych everyone up, it works perfectly! (And the land forces were indeed led by the Spartans).

    As I've said a few times, I don't actually have a problem with historical inaccuracy where it's artistically warranted, especially not in ancient history, and I geuninely do like 300. I go through historical inaccuracies on the blog because I think people like to know the historical evidence while still enjoying the movie, but I'm not suggesting the movie should necessarily be done differently. In 300's case, I have a little bit more of a problem with it than usual because of the political implications - I don't like ancient history being co-opted for modern political reasons (and going on about how awful religion is is never going to get me on side!). But movies that stuck slavishly to historical record with no movement for the sake of story would be pretty dull - and we'd be denied the awesome rhino-beast!

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  10. I like the poem, what is it? (It's something really famous that I ought to know, isn't it?!)

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  11. I know! and I totally respect what you're doing on this blog-- It just seemed like an area of the movie you didn't address in the review, and I wanted to give you some excuses for further enjoyment of the blatant lack of historical accuracy :) It was something I had to argue with my husband about a little bit too-- but the way they framed the movie REALLY makes it so much easier to swallow all the exaggerations and even, for me, to ignore the political agenda, since it only makes sense that a Spartan story-teller-leader would have that agenda himself.

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  12. Yeah, I really love your reading of it - it makes so much sense! I just wanted to get the explanation out of the way before I got too many upset commenters telling me to lighten up! :) (I get some nasty comments on some posts, which I delete as they come in, so it was a pre-emptive strike ;) )

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  13. Very much agree with most of this. One small point: it is almost the case that we have no Spartan writings, but we do have the not insubstantial fragments of Tyrtaios (7th C BCE).

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  14. I really like Amalia's take on this. It makes the whole thing a lot more palatable. Cartledge's presence as an advisor doesn't mean much, really. Film advisors are usually hired to give some authenticity to a project and then utterly ignored.

    A quick Google search says the poem is by Housman, "The Oracles". He seems to be one of those poets I think I'd actually enjoy if I could bring myself to pay any attention to him.

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  15. For me, the historical accuracy was.. well, I ignored it and pretended it was entirely fictitious so I could just focus on the drama and visual effects. I can't believe people write nasty comments on your blog.. that's so ridiculous! Also sorry - it's Housman. I was just reading it the other day and made a note because I like oracles (which is what the rest of the poem is about).

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  16. I'm with DemetriosX on this. I actually read the Graphic novel before the movie was released and I enjoyed it.

    Still...I can't actually bring myself to watch it. My best friend has a copy of the film on DVD and he thinks it's a great film (He doesn't care much for Classical history though).

    My Dad actually borrowed me his copy of the film several years ago and it still sits on my shelf gathering dust. I can't really pinpoint why I refuse to watch it though. It's rather puzzling as I've been interested in this episode of Classical Greek history for years.

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  17. Re Houeman - cool, must read more of him!

    Re Tyrtaios - good point. I'm afraid I tend to ignore fragments a lot, as I tend to focus a lot on context in determining meaning so fragements have to be left out for the most part, but I am in awe of everyone who is willing to sit down with them and work through them and get some sense out of them!

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  18. You mentioned in an earlier post about the differences between homoerotic and female enjoyment of the male body beautiful, and specifically tied that in passing to 300. I had hoped you'd say more about it.

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  19. Tyrtaios is interesting and can offer a few hints, perhaps, but he doesn't necessarily offer that much information about classical Sparta. Firstly, he was an Athenian who was brought to Sparta in answer to an oracle, so his views were, like Xenophon's, more those of an outsider. More importantly, he is from a time when Sparta was just on the cusp of becoming what we think of Sparta. Before the ephors, roughly contemporaneous with the Great Rhetra, Messenia not yet fully subjugated. We can see darkly what Sparta might become, but not really understand what they were after 150 years of their new way of life.

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  20. Wasn't Alcman also Spartan (or at least operated in Sparta)? Admittedly, that's also too early, At least Tyrtaeus is 'quintessentially' Spartan in his values ('How good it is for a man to die fighting, falling in the first battle line!, etc.') but, agreed, he was really at a point when Sparta's future was by no means certain..

    What irks me about the Thermopylae legend is that I'm pretty sure the Spartans were against defending Boezia/Attica, and like the rest of the Peloponnesians just wanted to fall back to the Isthmus of Corinth, and they basically had to be pressed into it by the Athenians, who had the moral high ground after repelling the first invasion at Marathon. The Athenians weren't there, because they were fighting at Artemisium the same day.. and besides, the 300 Spartans probably had about 10,000 helots with them.. that's why I'm happy to watch it as a myth, but as soon as people start talking about its truth-value, for me everything just unravels...

    That said, I often wonder if Classics is one big hoax..

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  21. I think the first thing we have to know about classics is that we know nothing ;)

    I had forgotten to mention the gaze issue, sorry, got tied up in everything else. I think the gaze in 300 is distinctly homoerotic - all that male bonding, all the posturing with big weapons... while the only female character in the film is raped. The female gaze would have more women around for the men to relate to - in a nice way - the men would be more tender and less aggressive, at least towards women, something they don't get the chance to do except in the early sex scene between Leonidas and Gorgo (which has far too many nipples in it to be interested in the female gaze). Or am I just ebing sexist myself?

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  22. @respondebat illa:

    Don't forget the 1000 Thespians. They were the ones who actually made first contact with the Persian force coming over the "secret" pass. They thought the troops were coming for them, so the retreated to a hilltop to make a stand, only to have the main force move past them.

    And wasn't there a Theban force that was basically press-ganged into going along and then not allowed to leave with the rest of the non-Spartan forces?

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  23. I would like to ask those who cant bring themselves to watch this.... Think of this film not in terms of Herodotus or Thucydides, but the grand dramatic traditions of Homer

    Classic Scholars that you are, you will be aware of the ἀριστεία, or Aristeia - for those reading that don't know what this is > it is a dramatic convention that portrays the hero at his most finest. Such sequences are present in The Iliad and Odyssey, and copied by Virgil in The Aeneid.

    This movie contains a magnificent Aristeia sequence - the best one I have ever seen committed to film, IMHO. This isn't because it is realistic or authentic - the Aristeia is not about that... it truly shows a legendary hero at his most glorious.

    The way it is shot is simply beautiful, the bit where Leonidas throws the Javelin was inspired by the Artemision bronze...it's simply wonderful!

    When I watched this at the movies and saw this part I was so excited. I remember saying to my partner.... WOW....THAT'S AN ARISTEIA!! She looked at me strangely and went back to looking at the pecs! hehe

    Even if you cant bring yourself to watch the whole film, watch the clip (URL below) and behold how Mr Snyder honours this most thrilling of Homeric traditions

    (One minute youtube clip of the 300 Aristeia sequence.)

    http://2.ly/cat2

    This film made a lot of kids, Greek and otherwise go and look up the Spartans and Thermopylae. It resulted in wonderful documentaries that were made by The History Channel and a 3-parter by Bettany Hughes.

    A colleague of mine is Greek. Her 9yo son is named Leon, after Leonidas. He only more deeply became interested in this part of his heritage after watching that movie and wanting to find out more about "the true story" I since gave him a copy of the History Channel documentary, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

    Like it or not, Zack Snyder did more to inspire learning on this topic than any delicate classicist that cannot separate art from history. Do a google trends search for 'Thermopylae' or '300 Spartans' matched against the release of this movie - The results are staggering. Compare this to a trend search for 'Thucydides', which registers slightly, or 'Herodotus', which does not register at all.

    Making youngsters interested in History is definitely worthy of praise.

    H

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