A retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes.
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Teaching With This Movie
After watching this movie, watch the Crash Course World History #5: The Persians & Greeks (11 minutes) on YouTube. The historian, John Green, argues that humanity would have been better off if the Persians had defeated the Greeks. Why does he think this? Do you agree or disagree with his argument?
Research the Battle of Thermopylae. List at least three differences between the actual history and how the movie portrayed the battle. Why do you think the filmmakers invented the character of Ephialtes, the hunchback?
When the movie was released it was banned in Iran and labeled as propaganda. In what ways does this movie dehumanize Persians? One could argue that the clash of civilizations depicted in the film has resonance today for the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. Do you think the Iranians were justified in condemning this movie? Why or why not?
Queen Gorgo of Sparta is one of a handful of women named in the writings of Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian. Research Queen Gorgo. What do we know of her actual accomplishments? What did she do that earned her such high esteem at a time when most women were not treated as equals of men?