Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Ethan, Apr 4, 2007.

Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?
  1. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 8:48 AM
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    Ethan

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    I found this article... you all might like it...



    Crowds are flocking to see the film "300" about the ancient Spartans' last stand at the pass at Thermopylae against an invading Persian army. Yet many critics, in panning "300," have alleged that the film is essentially historically inaccurate. Are they right?

    Here are some answers. But, first, two qualifiers. I wrote an introduction to a book about the making of "300" after being shown a rough cut of the movie in October. And, second, remember that "300" does not claim to follow exactly ancient accounts of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Instead, it is an impressionistic take on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, intended to entertain and shock first, and instruct second.

    Indeed, at the real battle, there weren't rhinoceroses or elephants in the Persian army. Their king, Xerxes, was bearded and sat on a throne high above the battle; he wasn't, as in the movie, bald and sexually ambiguous, and he didn't prance around the killing field. And neither the traitor Ephialtes nor the Spartan overseers, the Ephors, were grotesquely deformed.

    When the Greeks were surrounded on the battle's last day, there were 700 Thespians and another 400 Thebans who fought alongside the 300 Spartans under King Leonidas. But these non-Spartans are scarcely prominent in the movie.

    Still, the main story line mostly conveys the message of Thermopylae. A small contingent of Greeks at Thermopylae (which translates to "The Hot Gates") did block the enormous Persian army for three days before being betrayed. The defenders claimed their fight was for the survival of a free people against subjugation by the Persian Empire.

    Many of the film's corniest lines — such as the Spartan dare, "Come and take them," when ordered by the Persians to hand over their weapons, or the Spartans' flippant reply, "Then we will fight in the shade," when warned that Persian arrows will blot out the sun — actually come from ancient accounts by Herodotus and Plutarch.

    The warriors of "300" look like comic-book heroes because they are based on Frank Miller's drawings that emphasized bare torsos, futuristic swords and staged fight scenes. In other words, director Zack Snyder tells the story not in a realistic fashion — like the mostly failed attempts to recapture the ancient world in recent films such as "Troy" or "Alexander" — but in the surreal manner of a comic book or video game.

    The Greeks themselves often embraced such impressionistic adaptation. Ancient vase painters sometimes did not portray soldiers accurately in their bulky armor. Instead, they used "heroic nudity" to show the contours of the human body.

    Similarly, Athenian tragedies that depicted stories of war employed contrivances every bit as imaginative as those in "300." Actors wore masks. Men played women's roles. They chanted in set meters, broken up by choral hymns. The audience understood that dramatists reworked common myths to meet current tastes and offer commentary on the human experience.

    Some reviewers think the film is gratuitously violent. But Thermopylae was no picnic. Almost all the Spartans and Thespians were killed, along with hundreds from other Greek contingents. Some of the film's most graphic killing — such as Persians being pushed over the cliff into the sea — derives from the text of Herodotus. And the filmmakers omitted the mutilation of King Leonidas, whose head Xerxes ordered impaled on a stake.

    Finally, some have suggested that "300" is juvenile in its black-and-white depiction — and glorification — of free Greeks versus imperious Persians. The film has actually been banned in Iran as hurtful American propaganda, as the theocracy suddenly is reclaiming its "infidel" ancient past.

    But that good/bad contrast comes not from the director or Frank Miller, but is based on accounts from the Greeks themselves, who saw their own society as antithetical to the monarchy of imperial Persia.

    True, 2,500 years ago, almost every society in the ancient Mediterranean world had slaves. And all relegated women to a relatively inferior position. Sparta turned the region of Messenia into a dependent serf state.

    But in the Greek polis alone, there were elected governments, ranging from the constitutional oligarchy at Sparta to much broader-based voting in states like Athens and Thespiae.

    Most importantly, only in Greece was there a constant tradition of unfettered expression and self-criticism. Aristophanes, Sophocles and Plato questioned the subordinate position of women. Alcidamas lamented the notion of slavery.

    Such openness was found nowhere else in the ancient Mediterranean world. That freedom of expression explains why we rightly consider the ancient Greeks as the founders of our present Western civilization — and, as millions of moviegoers seem to sense, far more like us than the enemy who ultimately failed to conquer them.


    What do you all think? Was the movie historically accurate? I was having this discussion with Sythe earlier, he said I should bring it here...
     
  3. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 12:41 PM
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    magi

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    woah
    i read all that
    and the thing about iraq is so dumb

    theyre all sooooo upset how this is just another way americans lash out at them

    cuz this is definetly not some guy making money -.-


    i think the movie is overall pretty accurate but its obvious some things arent just to make the movie worth watching =)
     
  5. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 1:09 PM
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  7. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 1:24 PM
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    Moosedude358

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    heh i read it all but only since i highlighted it and then read it since the white was kinda blinding o_O
    but yea i really wanna go see that movie but parents think its a waste of time and money =(
     
  9. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 2:22 PM
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    Masterfaizy

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    Dude, don't mess with 300. It was the best movie ever, it's not like they ment it to be historically accurate
     
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    pyro 214

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    does it matter?
    its good, leave it at that....some things were put in there to enhance the hollywood scene.

    cool info though, thanks.
    well adding to what was i previously said 300 was true just not all the back sences to it such as the what was said and the final battle but it is correct and is one of the most important battles in history because it stoped the persians from getting greece/ italy and traveling further into Europe and it was the first time that spartans and athens fought together forming modern greece. About the last battle sence the leader was hit in the middle of the battle, the were all not murdered at once and there was a major battle over his body that ended like the movie did.
     
  13. Unread Apr 4, 2007 at 9:17 PM
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    Ethan

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    No problem mate. Happy to help?
     
  15. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 12:33 AM
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  17. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 2:21 AM
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    Badger Milk

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    I think it was pretty accurate actually, even well known curators and historians agree.
     
  19. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 4:12 AM
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    lmao runescape

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    It's not historically accurate, but it's still fun seeing the Persians die :p
     
  21. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 9:02 AM
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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    No, not really. But it's still an awsome movie. Does it NEED to be historically accurate?
     
  23. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 9:10 AM
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    Teh 1337

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    You took alot of time to find that article i wager.But as with all movies,They edit the facts to make it more interesting.
     
  25. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 1:04 PM
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    magi

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    it should atleast come close...
    and it did ;)
     
  27. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 5:27 PM
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    BGD

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    Of course its not historically accurate where does it say the movie is?
    People take a movie to seriously and of course they add extra to make it more interesting.
    Thats why its a good movie.
     
  29. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 6:00 PM
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    Shawn_

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    Is superman historically accurate?

    They were both based off comic-books.
     
  31. Unread Apr 5, 2007 at 6:49 PM
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    dpunk

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    It's a movie, not a documentary. It's not supposed to be accurate. All I can say is that movie is the shit. I loved every minute of it.
     
  33. Unread Apr 6, 2007 at 10:25 AM
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    Philup

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    I learned in history class about them and for the most part 300 seems accurate im not to sure about the battles but I know that the Athens did train there warriors like that and they would be very strong.
     
  35. Unread Apr 6, 2007 at 10:27 AM
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    Shawn_

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    Yes.. They also trained masssive elephants and replaced peoples arms with blades.
     
  37. Unread Apr 6, 2007 at 2:08 PM
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    Masterfaizy

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    Exactly, I mean, I don't want to see 'National Geographic:The Movie'
     
  39. Unread Apr 26, 2007 at 1:04 AM
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    Tyrant Bonaparte

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    Is the Movie 300 Historically Accurate?

    I think that the movie was based of a fictional plot. Though I think there been a great wars back in the past.
     
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