A Battle of Historical Accuracy Essay

Submitted By ashleyrashellgrubbs
Words: 1243
Pages: 5

A Battle of Historical Accuracy “The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed.” In the film 300 directed by Zack Snyder and based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, King Leonidas of Sparta stands before the Persian ruler, or god-king, Xerxes and depicts to the audience an imagery of the bravery, loyalty, and determination of the Spartan army. This scene is just one of many that the film makers chose to include in this retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. The film 300 presents its audience with views of how ancient Athens functioned and how the Spartans and Persians presented themselves among their societies—although not all that the film presents is entirely accurate according to history. The indifferences between the film and actual history are more than likely a result of the film-making industry and the need to alter actual events or images into events or images that appeal to today’s society. Ancient Athens was a place of creativity and democracy. The presentation of the Athenians or Arcadians in the film 300 appears to be fairly accurate. The film has a scene, in which the Arcadians want to join the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae, and in this scene, the Arcadians are asked their professions and they proceed in reporting their professions to King Leonidas with a potter, a sculptor, and a blacksmith (300). These professions prove to be in accuracy with history as actual Athenians were proven to have fallen along the lines of a democratic government rather than a military-style (“You say tomato, I say ‘to-mah-to’: Sparta and Athens”). But they also still proved their support of the ancient Greek city-states by wanting to join in the battle at the cost of their men. Film makers more than likely keep the Athenians closer to accurate history—even though they leave out few key details about Athenian society—because of the dramatic differences in the Persians and Spartans. Quite unlike the Athenians, the Persians fall under a completely different level in accuracy of history—they are very dissimilar from actual Persians and may bring forth a different image to the audience of 300. In the film 300, the Persians are portrayed as monsters or beasts, and King Xerxes is presented as a giant-like figure covered in jewels and gold. Film makers seem to play up the Persian character a bit more because their new display brings forth more intimidation than just “normal” Persians. Their beast-like figures could also be a way to voice to the audience the acceptance that the Persians had for all regardless of the existence of Persian beliefs (Fingers In Many Pies: “The Persian Empires”). Another example would be the acceptance of Ephialtes into the Persian Empire after King Leonidas had not granted his wish to join the Spartan army because he did not meet the requirements for battle (300). Also, rather than having rhinos and elephants in battle, the Persians had horses that they rode upon in battle. But, they did have an efficient administrative system which can be linked to the messengers and emissaries present in the film (Fingers In Many Pies: “The Persian Empires”). And last but not least the Persians really did have extremely large armies full of troops and horses that easily outnumbered the Spartans and their city-state allies which added on to the intimidation and great power that Persians held. Because the Spartans have the main vocal point in the film, they also have a great amount of inconsistencies as well consistencies. One that falls into consistency with true Spartan society is that Spartan men were raised to be warriors and their training began at birth through inspection of the “fittest” and most healthy babies—this is the reason why Ephialtes could not become a part of the Spartan army. Another consistency in the movie in relation to actual history is the levels of trials presented to