Ὦ ξεῖν’, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.
Even better than watching Josh Bernstein explaining the finer points of ancient Greek weaponery and flexing his muscles when showing that with a little coordination shooting an arrow off the back of a moving chariot is really quite simple, is watching 300 Spartans stipped to their bronzed, ripped waists and brandishing frightening looking spears and xiphoi whilst holding off an army of Persians that should more than easily overwhelm them. Yes, I'm talking about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. On 9th March the film, 300 comes out in the cinema and iMax. As a long time fan of the Spartans, (women in Spartan society had far greater independence and involvement in the running of the society than their Greek counterparts and I'm all for everyone being made to run 20 miles a day and then for all male citizens to spend the day in loincloths practicing their battle skills in the town marketplace), I am eagerly awaiting this film. The film is based on Frank Miller's novel, (Frank Miller of the Daredevil, Sin City, Ronin and so many others I can't name them all graphic comic book fame) and directed by Zack Snyder. The cinematography looks incredible and I've heard the battle scenes are truly works of epic masterpieces. The cast is largely, so it seems, made up of British stage actors with a few Europeans thrown in for authentic measure I suppose. Most happily Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually) has a major part although unhappily has been cast as Xerxes, king of the Persians (booooo) instead of a Spartan (yeaaaa). Either way I am looking forward to the film release with a excitement that has me sharpening my battle cry, swords aloft boys, "...for tonight we dine in Hell!"
Recommended reading: Steven Pressfield 'Gates of Fire'