In this essay, I am going to compare and contrast three significant events in the film of 300. First, I will discuss the events leading up to the historical battle at Thermopylae. Then, I will compare the movie version battles at Thermopylae with historical accounts. Finally, I will contrast events after Thermopylae between the movie and actual history.
As I recall, when I saw the movie several months ago (it's not available for reviewing again from Blockbuster until July 31, 2007), the most significant event before the great battle was the visit of the Persian diplomats to King Leonidas offering him and his family great wealth and position with no one getting killed in a needless war, if he would only submit to Xerxes as ruler of a new Persian-Grecian Empire. When Leonidas and his outspoken wife asked them about the preservation of the Greek way of life, that is, freedom and democracy, the offer quickly turned into a threat, the threat of total destruction for Greek culture and a life of slavery for any Greek survivors. When the diplomats scolded the wife of Leonidas for interrupting their "man-to-man" talk with her criticisms, Leonidas became so furious that these strangers came into a king's home, insulted his queen, that he threw them down to their death in a large, very, very deep well. There is no historical account that this is the way it really happened. But I think is was probably a good guess by Hollywood how negotiations may have gone except for the killings. I believe that was Hollywood overkill. It is historical fact that the Spartan woman was the most highly respected, independent woman in all the Greek city-states, but diplomats do not usually get murdered over verbal disagreements. After all, they only carry the message. They do not make policy. If these messengers don't come back alive, they won't be sent. They were a very important means of communication between armies in those days. In most cases, just the presence of the Persian million-man...
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