- uploaded: Nov 23, 2008
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The last stand of the 300 is one of historys greatest military tales of bravery, endurance, and valiantness. The rendition of this heroic battle between King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan soldiers against three-hundred thousand Persians on land was recreated with painstaking detail. But the battle did not take place only on land - Themistocles led the Athenian naval forces against Xerxes at Thessaly and finishing off the Persians at Artemisium.
This documentary does a great job of recounting the beginnings of the war between Persia and Greece - starting with King Darius the Hucksters defeat at Marathon by Callimachus. King Darius grooms his son Xerxes to exact his revenge which led up to the battle of Thermopylae. In 480 B.C. King Leonidas, with his 300 Spartans and roughly 6000 free men of Greece decided to make their stand at Thermopylae -The Hot Gates- (named after the hot thermal springs) It was at this narrow pass flanked on one side by steep mountains and on the other by the sea, the Greeks made their stand.
-Come and get them- were the words that launched this battle. In this narrow corridor, the Persian numbers counted for nothing - they were restricted from using the stableness of their cavalry. It wasnt until the third day when Ephialtes informed the Persians of a route that would allow them to outflank the Greeks. Now surrounded, the brave soldiers at Thermopylae were doomed. It is then that Leonidas was killed and a battle raged over his corpse - with Xerxes ordering that the head be cut off and stuck on a pike.
The Spartans and their society are accurately represented. They were not fighting for a new era of freedom which was at the time being brought forward by Athenian democracy. They were fighting to preserve their own, non-free un-democratic system and were hostile to the spread of democracy to other Greek city states. However, their last stand was not solely to seek -a beautiful death- but instead to cover the retreat of their fellow allied soldiers. Maybe, also to give an example from which the allied Greeks would stay united against the Persians for the sake of their sacrifice.