300 : We are Sparta !
On August 11th, 480 BC, 300 spartan hoplites commanded by King Leonidas I, as well as 700 soldiers of the cities of Thebes and de Thespies, fought the great Persian army of King Xerxes (near 500,000 infantry and 50,000 cavalry), sacrificing their lives to give the Greek cities sufficient time to organize their defense.
The battle took place at the entrance of the Thermopylae pass, which controls the access of central Greece along the Aegean Sea and ended at the top of Kolonos, on which was erected a mausoleum to commemorate the ultimate Spartan resistance .
The poet Simonides of Ceos (-556,-467) gave homage to these legendary heroes with these words: “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to Spartan law, we lie”
“300”, the American-British peplum directed by Zack Snyder and released in 2006 gives a heroic fantasy version of this famous battle. The film had initially no historical or political ambition. It was still criticized by Iranian intellectuals who accused it of anti-Persian propaganda. Persians are depicted as decadent barbarians while achemide civilization was at its peak. The Greeks look like heroes and are portrayed as a free people who love democracy.
North American cinema is based on a Manichean interpretation of the world, with the good guys (the cowboys) on one side and the villains (the other, the Indian) on the other side. It’s a bit of a simplistic view of our complex world, but do not despair … they will learn.