Gates of Fire

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  • Topic: Gates of Fire, Battle of Thermopylae, Sparta
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Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield
Western Civilization I Class

1) Describe the general story line of this book.

2) How does Pressfield present the Spartans and their society? What attributes (characteristics) does he claim that the Spartan exhibited? How did the other Greeks perceive the Spartans? Pressfield sees something in the Spartans, there is something that he touches upon in chapter 4 when Tripod is being beaten. He dies for no reason, he should have just taken the right of passage and given in, but he was very stubborn and I think his pride got in his way of reality. Some other attributes are stoicism, honor, dark humor, and respect for others. The other Greeks perceived the Spartans as fearsome and with respect. They are a very proud and driven society of men. When Polynikes confronted Alessandro about his shield and the way he had his shield laying on the ground. Polynikes about the value of his shield and why he needs to be ready at a moments notice to pick it up and be ready to fight teach him a lesson. He is embarrassed in front of the others; this is so he will never forget the purpose of the shield. Warriors rely on the warrior on their right to protect them with their shield. After this episode, I am sure that Alessandro will never forget how his shield should be leaning against him, ready for him at a moments notice. Warriors need to overcome fear.

3) How is Spartan family life portrayed? What is the role of women in this society and what is their status? Family honor is a characteristic of the family. This is shown when Dienekes marries his brother Roosters wife and takes his baby as his own. He also honors his brother when his brother wanted him to go to his house for dinner and always found a reason no to go, because he had feelings for his brothers wife and he honored his brother to much to dishonor him with his feelings. It was Roosters wife who told Rooster that he was blind and did he not see that Dienekes had feelings...
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