Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Persian Mirror looks at '300' 
Interesting take from an Iranian-born, Greek-raised writer.

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I had never thought of Sparta as a democracy. The Spartan economy was actually composed of two groups: the Spartans proper, who were a closed society, and their subject neighbors upon whom they were dependent for food and labor and who were treated as somewhat free slaves. The closed nature of the Spartan society was what led to its eventual withering away. They killed themselves off in their wars and did not recruit from outside.
Me either bill. Given that the intent was entertainment, not historical accuracy, most of the weird stuff in the movie I had no problem with. But having the Spartans continually talk about 'freedom' was strange, considering their slaves, the Helots, and subject neighbors did (if I recall correctly) a large share of the fighting at Thermopylae too. . .as close as historians can figure.
The article was well written, informative, and cogent. It is also mainly irrelevant, as "300" is fictional entertainment. Since when does Hollywood get historical details right? Any film could be picked apart for its inaccuracies, both large and small, intended or accidental. We are all familiar with how Hollywood portrays the CIA and other government agencies. Why should the ancient Persians get a break?

While I enjoyed the professor's article, I noticed that he referenced his own works quite a bit. That's just a little self-serving. And I noticed when I was in Egypt that the people who made it their business to guide the ignorant tourists around were very proud of the achievements of ancient Egypt, occasionally unduly so. The professor seems to have a burr under his saddle about his country and its history. I think that's commendable.

This movie certainly is getting people riled up, isn't it? I haven't even seen it yet. I wonder if I'll be able to resist its siren song. Like "The Passion of the Christ", I may come out of the theater looking to kick some Indo-European ass.
Who's ass were you looking to kick after Passion of the Christ?
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