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300 Blog

By A.K. Patch on Jan 05, 2015 in 300
300 Blog

Here’s the major reason why it doesn’t bother me.

Fans of the movie ‘300’, hope that this new movie coming to theatres on March 15 will be every bit as entertaining as the first one released in 2007.

The story is a timeless one: Heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, self-less sacrifice for family and home, for a people, a way of life, or maybe an ideal.

The movie ‘300’ excited movie goer’s with the story of ancient Greek warriors and their courageous stand against an overwhelming invasion by the Persian Empire in 480 BC. Leonidas, King of Sparta, and his free Greeks stood in the Pass of Thermopylae and fought King Xerxes’s slave army. Eventually, the Leonidas and his Spartans sacrificed themselves to slow the Persian advance and light a fire of Greek resistance. More desperate battles followed. Finally, prowess in arms, tactics, and the Greek’s love for their independence prevailed. Conquest from the east was averted and unleased a burst of cultural, artistic, and intellectual brilliance in Greece that echoes to today.

‘300’ is based on the comic book series by Frank Miller.

However, the reported actual history and representation of the Persians was compromised by the comic book template and entertainment needs. Fanciful beasts and ugly giants attacked the Greeks. The elite warriors of the Persians, the 10,000 strong Immortals, were portrayed with Ninja masks. The Persians looked more African than Middle-Eastern. These alterations, and others to the real story, disturbed many who revere the actual story of how the Greeks stood up to tyranny and slavery. The new movie appears to depict the follow-up to Thermopylae- the battle of Salamis, where the Greek and Persian Navy clashed to decide the future of Western civilization. In this new movie, there is the hope that the Athenian admiral and strategist, Themistocles, will be highlighted for his contributions to the Greek’s success. He is largely unknown to the great swath of people who have had a minimal exposure to this brilliant man’s legacy.

You see, this is just the issue.

In a time when the study of Classics, History and other branches of the Humanities are slipping, even in advanced educational institutions, media attention to these stories is important. Science and technology, engineering, business, and marketing tend to dominate the interest of college students, intent on job prospects following their educational years. The life-lessons of the ancient Greeks, their tragedies and triumphs, imbued in their epics, plays, philosophies, are still valuable to our lives

We should not look at history as a set of facts about who did what, when. Our nature, our emotions as humans have not changed much over time. Does anyone think we love our families more than those who lived centuries ago? Did not those people strive for safety, dream of better lives, and search for happiness as do we? Nature cannot be denied. 

Lives are improved by knowledge. Knowledge of past events may give us a key as to what to expect in the future, or even how to act ourselves in times of abundance, or in periods of turmoil.

So this new ‘300’ will be bloody, and the facts twisted possibly, but in the end, if enough young people are exposed to a portion of the real history, they just might pick up as book about ancient times, or go to a play, ride the internet in a search for Themistocles, or Salamis, Plataea, Socrates or Thucydides.

Media is a vehicle that reaches our youth through movies, internet, and video games. What they may have forgotten, or not even cared to listen to in middle or high school, could become a rich source of interest for them. Let them see examples of courage, of intellect, and compassion because for this author, I have been pleasantly surprised how smart some of these youngsters are.

At some point, our young citizens may want to, or even have to, save the real world instead of the virtual world.