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300: Rise of an Empire 4

Some notes on Themistokles

Plutarch says Themistokles was not high-born. To compensate for his low birth, which made his status as citizen seem unpromising, he provoked other youths, well-born youths, to wrestling matches. Wrestling was part of the Greek education. Thus, he would win what otherwise would not even be a contest. Might is […]

300: Rise of an Empire 3

Further notes on Athens

The people feared to have their tombs & ancestors destroyed by the Persians; & in abandoning the city, they left many old men there to die, who could not move. Needless to say, this sacrifice did not win them respect or help from the allied Greeks nor from the Persians; […]

300: Rise of an Empire 2

Some notes on political crises

The origin of civilization is a political crisis. The burning of Athens makes Athens anew, but Themistokles belongs to old Athens, where already the democratic revolution had started. It is natural that the Spartans should fight the Persians, & on land, because the Spartans defend themselves & pray to […]

300: Rise of an Empire 1

Some notes on empire

The other story was the story of the Spartans, now it’s the Athenians who take center stage. They are a younger race, far more civilized & less warlike. Behold the rise of democracy in the mind of the greatest statesman. Themistokles was the man who conceived of the navy & […]

300 5

Some notes on political freedom

Americans can understand some things about Sparta: The Ephors ruled Sparta; & sexual promiscuity among free, spirited women abounded. It is fitting to show the weakness of these rulers & the great need for strong warlike kings. It is stupid, though, to talk about women being raped – they […]

300 4

Some notes on kingship

Sparta at war shows what is best about the city, the ability to field an extraordinarily disciplined army at any time, in defense of the city, under the command of one general. One suspects that, beyond maneuvers & tactics, Spartan men are educated to obey commands – it is not […]

300 3

Further notes on Sparta

The women are shown to be quite proud & resourceful in the city. The Persian messenger is shocked to see a woman talk not only among men, but in political matters. She says, only Spartan women give birth to real men. The importance of manliness gives women an unusual importance […]

300 2

On man & wolf

The boy who becomes king is said to have killed a wolf with his spear. This has nothing to do with the plot of the movie, except that the boy hides in a narrow pass, like the Greeks did, & lets the wolf impale himself on his spear, like the […]

300 1

Some notes on love of bloodshed

The most obvious fact about this movie is that men go around committing acts of slaughter. There is no sense of equals fighting, so to speak. The destruction of the Persians looks a lot like how predators destroy animals not made for war, except that the herds are […]