Current mood: excited
Twenty-five hundred years ago on a remote mountain pass in northern Greece approximately five thousand Hoplites of various city-states stood shoulder to shoulder against a Persian army that may have numbered as many as one million men.
Chief amongst the greeks were 300 Spartan homoioi (peers). The elite land holders and nobles of their civilization. They arrived there knowing their lives would most likely be forfeit, and yet there they stood.
On the morning fighting commenced Xerxes the Persian emperor is reputed to have offered the Spartans the 'privelege' of surrender. He would set them up as the most honored tenant of his realm. "Spartans, Xerxes desires not your lives, only your arms!"
Leonidas, king of Sparta knew the fate of a fragile alliance of Hellenic cities hung in the balance. If he accepted Sparta would be saved, but Greece would fall. But Leonidas rejected Xerxes' offer of slavery saying simply "Molon labe!" Come and get them.
For four days the Greeks formed a phalanx blocking the pass and inflicting horrendous casualties on their Persian foes.
Finally with the help of the traitor Ephialtes Xerxes' Immortals found a trail running around the Greek position and prepared to surround the Spartans. The night before this happened Leonidas released the soldiers of all other cities, that they might spread the story of the Spartan's sacrifice and bring heart to the final battle which must by necessity occur further into Greece at a later date (it did, with a sea battle at Salamis, and a land battle which annihilated the Persian armies at Platea). Only the Thespians remained. And these few stood surrounded by the Persians, chewed apart by their arrows, and died to the last man.
I really believe that in his heart every soldier wants to fight in a battle that means something. If you're going to bear the lot of a soldier, then it might as well be for a purpose.
On March 16th Sony Pictures will release 'The 300' based on Frank Millers graphic novel, telling of these events.
The trailer can be viewed here:
This movie is going to absolutely rule! Someone save me a seat. Chances are I'll see this one more than 'Star Wars'!