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SPARTA'S 300

THE TWO FILMS

AN ARTISTIC DISPLAY OF A WARRIOR STATE

A CONTROVERSIAL SOCIETY WHERE THE SICK WERE KILLED OFF IN FAVOR OF THE STRONG

 

spartans 300

 

300 TRAILER (FIRST 300 MOVIE)

SPARTA: A MERCILOUS WARRIOR STATE

Spartan society is highly controversial by today's standards. Parents exposed their new born babies to the elements. The healthy survived and the sick were killed off. When a boy reached the age of seven, he was given to the state to receive a military upbringing. Men and women both were expected to attain a high standard of physical fitness. Sparta at its very core was a military state and a military society.

Nature itself is a system where the sick are killed off and the healthy survive. Nature is a brutal and merciless system. But nature's eternal laws have ensured the survival of life on the planet for some 5 billion years. Our ancient ancestors understood nature's laws, and set up their own merciless systems to imitate nature. Yet much of the ideas about "the sanctity of life" in today's world are mired in hypocrisy, because while non-functional vegetables are kept alive with machines, humans are presiding over a mass murder of non-human life. In the last 40 years, half of the wildlife on the planet has been killed off.

Yet our current system is not sustainable, and eventually this is going to start falling apart. As things fall apart, ancient historical trends will reemerge, and society will begin to look like something similar to ancient Sparta.

It is said that art and film are 100 years ahead of politics. Deep within the themes of great artwork is an understanding of nature's eternal laws, and an understanding of where society is going.

Democracy itself is a very shallow part of history, and is based on systems that failed in Athens and Rome. A vast majority of civilizations existed under authoritarian rule, including Sparta. Sparta was a warrior society that was ruled by an iron fist. Democracy was the last thing on anyone's mind in Sparta.

Much of the talk about freedom in the film is highly misleading, because Sparta was not a Democracy. They were closer to what we would call a military dictatorship by today's standards. In fact, a majority of Sparta's population was made up of slaves (also known as 'helots'). The helots out numbered the Spartan population by twenty to one and were the backbone of the Spartan economy. So was Sparta a free society? We think not.

However, we still highly recommend this film, more for artistic reasons than historical. The film displays a society controlled by a military state in a way that is engaging, exciting and dramatic.

The plot of '300' is based on a comic book, and the comic itself is a fictional retelling of the historical Battle of Thermopylae. While the film is live action, much of the fighting scenes are similar to the action in a comic book: overly exaggerated, stylized, and full of blood spattered gore.

Though the odds are overwhelming, the bravery of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan men inspires all of Greece to unite against their common enemy in this film.

While this film is not historically accurate, it is very successful in bringing the spirit of mighty Sparta alive in an artistic and highly cinematic way.

 

WHERE TO WATCH:

DVD on Amazon

Blue Ray DVD on Amazon

For Streaming on Amazon Watch


300 RISE OF AN EMPIRE (SECOND 300 FILM)

300 rise of an empire

 

TRAILER

AN IMPORTANT THEME IN THE SECOND MOVIE:

THE ROLE OF STRONG WARRIOR WOMEN IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

While King Leonidas and his men faced their date with destiny at Thermopylae, another battle against the Persians is brewing at sea. Themistocles, a Greek general, hopes to unite all of Greece against the God King Xerxes and his army of 1 million (historically the Persian army had something closer to 150,000 men).

Most of the film takes place in this tumultuous battle at sea. The film contains much of the 'in your face' brutality and sexuality that was a part of the ancient world, as well as a degree of mysticism. For the viewers who loved the artistic, and comic book-esque fight scenes of the first movie, they will not be disappointed by the latter.

This sequel was not as good as the first movie (in our opinion), but it still is a fun watch.

One important theme brought up in this film is the role of strong, warrior women in the ancient world. The idea that all women in ancient times were hidden away at home while the men reaped all the glory and spoils of war is a modern misconception. Indeed there are many skeletons of warriors that have been found buried with their shields and weapons. Historians always assumed these bodies were male, but modern techniques of analysis have shown that some of these skeletons belonged to women.

In this film, two powerful women play a key role in motivating opposing forces: The recently widowed Spartan Queen Gorgo who is now seeking her vengeance, and the Persian naval commander Artemisia. Apparently these women did exist historically, and did play a key role in the war.

Herodotus, the "Father of History," makes several references to Artemisia in his retelling of the Greco-Persian War. He describes her as a ruler who did not lead passively, and instead, actively engaged herself in both adventure and warfare. "…her brave spirit and manly daring sent her forth to the war, when no need required her to adventure. Her name, as I said, was Artemisia..." -The Histories

Herodotus also mentions that Queen Gorgo did indeed have an active role in Spartan politics. Perhaps most recognizable from the movie 300 (the first movie) are Queen Gorgo's quotes that appeared in the Greek historian Plutarch's writings:

"When asked by a woman from Attica, 'Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?' she said: 'Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.'"

Once again, while the film is not one we would recommend from a historical perspective, it is significant from an artistic view point. While the events and all the details might not be exactly accurate, the portrayal of warrior women, over the top violence and sexuality does shed some light on life in the ancient world.

 

 

WHERE TO WATCH:

DVD on Amazon

Blue Ray DVD on Amazon

For Streaming on Amazon Watch