Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

300: Rise of an Empire — The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

300_Rise_of_an_EmpireThis week’s release “300: Rise of an Empire” is a highly fictionalized version of a real-life episode in ancient Greek history that included a massive sea battle.  It is a “side-quel,” depicting events that occurred around the same time as the famous battle covered in the first “300” movie.

In 480-489 BC, King Xerxes of Persia was determined to conquer Greece. In preparation for the next surge, he had his people bridge the Hellespont, the present-day Dardanelles, with two bridges were supported by ships as pontoons, with a the causeway laid across them. When they were destroyed in a storm, Xerxes ordered the designers of those bridges executed and that the Hellespont itself be given 300 lashes as punishment.  Xerxes was making progress when a Greek slave was sent with a message intended to deceive him — he told Xerxes that the Greeks were weak and not able to oppose him.  Historynet.com says:

Advertisement

On the morning of September 20, 480 BC, the main body of the Persian armada, about 400 triremes, moved toward the showdown. Xerxes sat on his golden throne high atop the contested area and watched the battle develop.

The Greek fleet was arranged from the Athenians on the left of the line to the Corinthians to the north, covering the Bay of Eleusis, the Pelopponesians on the right and the ships of Megara and Aegina in nearby Ambelaki Bay. The majority of the Greeks’ 300 triremes were hidden from the approaching Persians’ view by St. George’s Island. To draw the enemy well into the shallow water and narrow confined around Salamis, Themistocles ordered the 50-ship Corinthian contingent to hoist its square sails and feign retreat. Once the Persians were drawn in, the Greeks, in ordered line, would surround them. The Persians’ greater numbers would be no advantage in the narrows. Even worse, they would have no room to maneuver.The Greeks began to sing a hymn to the god Apollo as they struck the Persian vanguard in its exposed left flank. When the commanders of the leading Persian ships realized that they were trapped and began to backwater, the caused a tremendous crush of confusion, because those ships coming behind them had nowhere to go. Aeschylus, remembered as the father of literary tragedy, fought both at Marathon and Salamis. He later described the scene as similar to the mass netting and killing of fish on the shores of the Mediterranean: ‘At first the torrent of the Persians’ fleet bore up: but then the press of shipping hammed there in the narrows, none could help another.’

Advertisement

The Greeks kept outside of the tangled Persian mass and struck virtually at will. The Persian ships seemed more suited for action in the open sea-they were larger, sat higher in the water and were loaded with approximately 30 marine infantry or archers, as opposed to 14 aboard each Greek ship. Therefore, the top-heavy vessels fell easy prey to the bronze rams of the Greek triremes in those confining waters.

The Phoenicians in Xerxes’ fleet broke under the relentless Greek pressure and many of them ran their ships aground. Several of those Phoenicians hurried to the great king and said that the Ionians were the cause of their defeat. Xerxes had watched the Ionians perform well and ordered the Phoenicians beheaded for lying about their allies.

The battle continues to be studied by those who care about military history and strategy and it continues to capture our imagination thousands of years later.

Previous Posts

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Happy 99th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!
Two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 years old today. She was one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, appearing memorably opposite Errol Flynn eight times, most memorably in "The Adventures of Robin ...

posted 10:20:13am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Contest: Win a DVD of "Hope Bridge"
"Hope Bridge" is a new DVD from Pure Flix about the devastating impact of suicide. Christi and David Eaton produced the movie after having experienced suicide twice in their family. They knew the best way to reach out to others was through a ...

posted 8:00:59am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: No Ordinary Hero -- The SuperDeafy Movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Yo3kRFW9g Coming next month on DVD, "No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie" is the story of a deaf actor (John Maucere) who plays a deaf superhero in a campy television series. But he wants to be a real ...

posted 8:00:41am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Underdog Kids
[jwvideo vid='AKNUHyky' pid='GvkPWNBE'] Underdog Kids is family film about a karate team of misfits, available on VOD and DVD July 7, 2015. Adam Irigoyen (Disney’s “Shake It Up!” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”), Ryan Potter (Big ...

posted 8:00:26am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.