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HISTORY or HOLLYWOOD: 300

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  • HISTORY or HOLLYWOOD: 300



    1. When the Persian emissary talks to Leonidas, Leonidas takes counsel from his wife. The Persian asks “why are Spartan women able to rule men?” and Gorgo responds “because we are the only ones who give birth to men”.

    2. Leonidas sneeringly describes the Athenians as “philosophers and boy-lovers”.

    3. The Persian emissary’s demand for “earth and water” results in him being kicked into a well.

    4. Leonidas killed a wolf as the final stage of the agoge training.

    5. The Ephors were disease-ridden priestly perverts who were in the pockets of the Persians and tried to prevent Leonidas actions by using the Carneia as an excuse.

    6. The oracle used the Corneia as the reason for not going to war.

    7. Leonidas left with only 300 men and they had to have a son to qualify.

    8. A unit of Arcadians joined along the way.

    9. Ephialtes was a spurned, disabled Spartan who told Xerxes about the path.

    10. For the first two days, the Spartans slaughtered everything Xerxes threw at them.

    11. The Spartans would leave the phalanx to fight melee style.

    12. Gorgo played politics to get the support of the Council.

    13. Xerxes and Leonidas negotiated and Leonidas attempted to kill Xerxes.

    14. The battle ended with the Persians using the path to surround the Spartans and arrows were used to finish off the 300.

    15. Delios was sent back to preserve the story.

    ANSWERS


    1. When the Persian emissary talks to Leonidas, Leonidas takes counsel from his wife. The Persian asks “why are Spartan women able to rule men?” and Gorgo responds “because we are the only ones who give birth to men”. HISTYWOOD Gorgo did say that, but it was in response to a comment made by an Athenian woman. Spartan women did have considerable influence.


    2. Leonidas sneeringly describes the Athenians as “philosophers and boy-lovers”. HOLLYWOOD Certainly the Spartans considered the Athenians to be cultured wimps, but it would have been hypocritical to sneer at their pederasty considering the Spartans had a similar “mentoring” system for their young men.


    3. The Persian emissary’s demand for “earth and water” results in him being kicked into a well. HISTYWOOD The Spartans did throw Persian emissaries into a well, but the incident occurred ten years earlier and under a different king. Also, as tough as the Spartans were with their kids, I still doubt they had a huge well that was flush to the ground!


    4. Leonidas killed a wolf as the final stage of the agoge training. HISTYWOOD Because he was not the heir to the throne, Leonidas did go through the agoge, but the culminating rite of passage would have been to hunt down and kill a helot. (Interestingly, Xerxes had a similar experience to the movie Leonidas involving a lion and a locked room.)


    5. The Ephors were disease-ridden priestly perverts who were in the pockets of the Persians and tried to prevent Leonidas actions by using the Carneia as an excuse. HOLLYWOOD The 5 Ephors technically had supreme power, but they were not priests. They were elected annually and served only one year. They did not live on a mountain and did not have a beautiful oracle. They did not stand in Leonidas' way. There is no evidence that there was any fifth column (represented by the fictional Theron) in Sparta. It is unclear why he was able to take only 300 warriors with him. It was most likely an advanced force to show the rest of Greece that the Spartans were not submitting. The Carneia may have been a factor (as it was in keeping them from the Battle of Marathon.)


    6. The oracle used the Carneia as the reason for not going to war. HOLLYWOOD The Oracle of Delphi weighed in on the discussion by predicting that if Sparta was willing to sacrifice one of its kings (they had two), it would avoid Persian destruction. This is the most likely explanation for why Leonidas insisted on fighting to the death.


    7. Leonidas left with only 300 men and they had to have a son to qualify. HISTYWOOD Leonidas did leave with 300 elites who had to have sons, but they were accompanied by about 1,000 helots and 1,000 perioeci (foreigners) as auxiliaries.


    8. A unit of Arcadians joined along the way. HISTORY More important than the Arcadians were the 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans. The total Greek force was 4,000-7,000.


    9. Ephialtes was a spurned, disabled Spartan who told Xerxes about the path. HOLLYWOOD Ephialtes was the traitor, but he was not a Spartan. He was a local famer who did it for the money.


    10. For the first two days, the Spartans slaughtered everything Xerxes threw at them. HISTYWOOD The slaughter was accurate, but the Persians did not use cavalry, rhinos, monsters, or elephants. Or grenades. The Immortals were simply his best soldiers who got the name from the fact that the unit was always kept at 10,000.


    11. The Spartans would leave the phalanx to fight melee style. HOLLYWOOD The Spartans would never have left the phalanx. The movie neglects to depict their famous use of feigned retreat in the battle.


    12. Gorgo played politics to get the support of the Council. HOLLYWOOD The Theron character is totally fictitious. There is no evidence sending reinforcements was debated.


    13. Xerxes and Leonidas negotiated and Leonidas attempted to kill Xerxes. HOLLYWOOD They never met. Xerxes watched the battle from a throne on a hill. By the way, he was not considered to be a god.


    14. The battle ended with the Persians using the path to surround the Spartans and arrows were used to finish off the 300. HISTORY The movie neglects to mention that the 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans stayed and died, too. That is one of the most egregious omissions of the movie, but is consistent with history’s neglect of these valorous warriors. Leonidas was probably killed in the middle of the fight, leading to a scrum over his body.


    15. Delios was sent back to preserve the story. HOLLYWOOD Only one Spartan survived. A “coward” (or "trembler" as the Spartans called them) named Aristodemus bowed out of the final battle due to an eye injury. He may have carried the story back to Sparta where he would not have gotten a very receptive audience. He died making a suicide attack at the Battle of Plataea.

    For the full review, go to:

    http://warmoviebuff.blogspot.com/201...-300-2007.html

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