300 and the battle of Thermopylae
The Greeks continued their expansion in the Mediterranean, both east and west, led it to create colonies on the coast of Asia Minor. These colonies were in territories controlled by the Persian Empire, which always granted a high degree of autonomy, but Hellenes always wanted absolute freedom; they revolted against the imperial power and gained some initialvictories, but knew his inferiority to the colossus Asian, so asked for help from the mainland Greeks. Even though the Spartans refused at first, they ended up supporting the Athenians, giving the beginning to the battle of Thermopolis (Llywelyn, 1987).
Snyder (2006) exemplifies accurately the way of life of the Spartans in his movie 300. Sparta was a warrior society where children were takenaway from their mothers to start their preparation to become soldiers; women carried an important paper within the society and had to be fit for their husbands Spielbogel (2012). King Leonidas was one of the kings of Sparta when the Persians asked for submission and it was him who rejected such proposition which led to the battle of Thermopolis Herodotus (1890). Herodotus (1890) “Xerxes send heraldsto the Greeks, demanding earth and water, as symbols of submission”. This scene is precisely play in the movie 300 when an imperial messenger demands Leonidas to surrender offering earth and water to Xerxes; Leonidas rejects the offer killing the herald Spielbogel (2012).Not all Greek villages (including Sparta) joined this war at first, however, the situation changed when Xerxes stood his armybefore their Hellas. The battle was in 480 BCE at a place called Valley of Thermopylae, a narrow gap next to the golf of Malis (Llywelyn, 1987). In 300 we can observe the battle being fought at a narrow cliff called Thermopylae which is a valid fact.
King Leonidas is the Capitan in the Greek side. The movie 300 portrays to some extend accurately Leonidas character. However, Herodotus (1890)described Leonidas as a 40-50 year old men who was at some point insecure about the outcome of the battle. Snyder (2006) shows us a Leonidas big, strong and with a muscular anatomy. This was highly probable since Spartans spent their whole life training and thus exercising. Furthermore, Snyder (2006) exposes a Brave Leonidas, which is also valid since in Spartan society there had no room forweakness.
Xerxes ordered Greeks to “give up their arms” to which king Leonidas replied “Come and get them”, at the same time a Persian herald threatened "…the number of the Persians was so great that when they shot their arrows into the air they hid the sun like a cloud" an Spartan replied back “So much the better for then we shall fight in the shade." Herodotus (1890). Persians suffered their firstbattle in the sea against a strong storm and Greek army that waited for them (Llywelyn, 1987). In earth 3000 Greeks were to fought against over 200,000 Persians. Xerxes strongest army consisted of archers and the “Immortals” which was a special team of actual soldiers. The Immortals were not monsters as shown in the movie 300 by Snyder; however they were certainly considered the best on Xerxesarmy. At the same time, the Persian imperator Xerxes is mistakenly portray in the movie making him look as an homosexual giant type of man Snyder (2006).
Spartans used the classic phalanx, in a single line with a uniform depth of 8 to 12 men. When fighting with their allies, the Spartans were usually given the honorary flank, which was the right side. If, as often happened, the Spartans were ableto win on their side, and then turned left to overwhelm the enemy formation from the flank. Spartans were also know for their distinctive muscular armor, bronze shield which was extremely heavy, a spear called Dory, a short sword called a xiphos, and a helmet that limited their hearing and sight (ancientmilitary, 2011). In the movie 300 king Leonidas asks an individual who seems half men half...
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