The movie is based upon a graphic novel by Frank Miller (of comic book fame). They are both based upon one of the most famous battles in the Persian Wars (492 – 449 BC), The Battle of Thermopylae. The Battle of Thermopylae goes down in history for being one of the most heroic feats of bravery in any war. The Spartan King Leonidas led 300 Spartan warriors in a fight to block the Persian Army from passing into Greece through a two-meter wide pass through the mountains of Thermopylae.
The Persian army that vastly outnumbered the Spartans beat back for two days and during those defeats, they suffered heavy losses that outweighed the Spartans 20 to 1. All was lost on the third day after a traitor revealed to the Persian King Xerxes that there was a hidden path that would lead his army behind the Spartan lines. We will never know if King Leonidas would have been able to defeat the Persian forces because he and all his men were slaughtered that third day.
I wonder what kind of man was this King to have loved his country and it’s people so much that he fought and died with them. It’s almost a romantic notion that a leader could lay down his life in such a valiant and futile attempt at saving his country. Our modern-day leaders fight wars half a world away from the battles they send their soldiers into. Think about how differently wars would be perceived if our President leads the battle from within the war zone.
How united do you think we would be as a people to follow a leader that was that brave enough to put his own life on the line? How sad would the fate be of a nation the had killed out a leader in a battle? The will of the American people to fight would be awe-inspiring. However, I am afraid that when the next onslaught on the world happens there will be no leaders like Leonidas to fend it off. The Greeks later united after the Battle of Thermopylae and lead by Spartan generals defeated the Persian army.
It is believed that King Xerxes lost the will to conquer the Greeks after his forces killed Leonidas and he had his body brutally crucified. He was shamed by his treatment of a man so brave and it haunted him so badly that he returned the body of Leonidas 40 years later. I wonder, are the days of King Leonidas gone forever? I can tell you that I can’t wait to see the film “300” because the story has really moved me.
How the hell did 300 Spartans beat half a million Persians?
There were a few thousand greeks present. They used the terrain to bottleneck the Persian force, making the actual number of Persians they had to fight a perfectly manageable number. The Spartans lived and breathed war. They learned to fight when they were children and trained hard for it when they were adults. In addition, their armor, weapons, everything was far superior to what the Persians used.
Their swords and spears made short work of the Persian’s wicker shields. Strategy wise, they were also far superior. The movie 300 was fairly accurate, as to where they fought. Only a small number of Persians could come at them at a time. They were in a narrow pass and they had an almost impenetrable defense with there shields, they were very well trained (from age 8 taking as a young boy) with 40lb bronze shields Persian army had wicker shields (very weak) and were untrained mostly, farmers. The Spartans only had to swing and stab as the Persians came running after them.