by John Hawkins | October 13, 2006 5:10 am
Question: “What do you think is a great idea for a movie?” — D-Vega
The Persian empire was marching against Greece, the cradle of Democracy, with a massive army. Although the Greek kingdoms usually spent most of their time squabbling with each other, they united to fight for their freedom against the Persians.
In an effort to hold off the Persians in order to give the Greek populace more time to prepare for war, a few thousand Greeks headed to the pass at Thermopylae, where the Persians would have to meet them head on and couldn’t overwhelm them with their superior numbers. The Greek force was anchored by the most dangerous warriors walking the earth at the time, the Spartans, and one of their two kings, Leonidas.
Even though they were outnumbered by somewhere between 35 to 1 to 400 to 1 (depending on what troop size estimates you believe), the Greeks fought the Persian Army to a standstill until a local betrayed them and pointed out a pass that allowed their enemies to get at their backs.
Leonidas had time to escape, but he knew that if his men ran away, it would be viewed as a dispiriting loss for the Greeks. So, he sent most of the other Greeks away and the Spartans, along with a few stalwart allies, fought to the death.
Their courage inspired the other Greeks and discouraged the Persians, who had been taught the hard way that the Greeks, man for man, were far better warriors. It turns out that the Greeks were far superior to them in warfare at sea as well because soon after, an outnumbered Greek force crushed the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis, while united Greek armies annihilated the Persian forces on land.
That was very significant because had the Persians conquered Greece and destroyed those nascent democracies before they were able to prove the merits of that form of government, it’s entirely possible that human history would have been far different — and it’s likely that it would have been far, far worse.
So, all of us living in free nations owe a debt of gratitude to those brave Spartans who fought to the death to protect their homes, their families, and the freedom of their people. Even though Sparta was not a democracy per se, the Spartans played a significant role in making sure that Democracy was preserved for all of us.
300, which is adapted from a graphic novel by Frank Miller (and yes, he does take some artistic license with some of the details) is the story of those brave Spartans and I, for one, absolutely cannot wait to see the movie. Here are a couple of trailers for the film you may want to check out:
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