Monday, 6 August 2007

Xerxes


300 is beautifully filmed. The story is of the first battle of the Persian war led by Xerxes against the Athenians. The Persians win this battle against the spartans but go on to lose the war in the end. The battle at Thermopylae is famous for the brave attempt by the Spartans to hold off 100s of thousands of Persian soldiers with just an army of 300 men. According to Herodotus, the grandfather of history, Xerxes army consisted of 2 500 000 soldiers plus another 2 500 000 people in tow. No wonder some of the Greek rivers ran dry on the way.


The lead of Xerxes in this film is a tribute to some fantastic make up technicians who transform the incredibly handsome Rodrigo Santoris into the campest most gold pierced man that has ever walked this earth and according to the history books dating back 2 500 years Xerxes was indeed the tallest and most good looking of all men.


Reading the histories of Herodotus and the film makers are very accurate in their portrayals. A story not included in the film is of one of his slaves, Pythian, begs Xerxes to allow one of his 5 sons to stay behind and look after his land. Xerxes flies into a rage and berates the old man. He then asks that the oldest son is sent to him, he is then killed and his body cut in half down the middle. One half is positioned on one side of the road and likewise with the other half. The whole army are then led through, no doubt as a lesson to any would be deserters.
Reflecting on human life Xerxes cries that it is so short. Artabanus replies 'It is not just that life is short, but also that there's no one on earth, whose happiness is such that he won't sometimes wish he were dead rather than alive - and this is a thought that occurs frequently during one's lifetime, not just once . We are all overwhelmed by tragic accidents and illness that, however short life actually is, it seems long. So people look forward to dying as an excellent way to escape from life with all its troubles, all we get is a taste of how sweet life may be'.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sally.

I stumbled upon your blog via your Amazon review of 300. I just wanted to recommend anoher book to you: 'Gates of Fire' by Steven Pressfield. It tells essentially the same story as 300 - although from a minor character's perspective - but it's a totally thrilling story that goes a bit deeper into the Spartan's culture and society than the film. I cannot recommend it enough!

Adam S

sallywilton said...

Thanks for the comment i will look out for the book