300 Historical Inaccuracies
There is no doubt that the movie 300 was filled with dramatic special effects and fabulous costumes which was one of the drawing reasons to go and see it. Anyone who watched the trailers were in awe; however, there has been much speculation as to the historical accuracy of the movie and many historical purists have shown disapproval.
One of the things that most historical movies make allowances for is garments. They are usually not portrayed exactly as they were worn during the actual historical time. In 300, this is also the case. While the cast of 300 were robed in revealing costumes that were designed to bring visual appeal to the movies the fact is that the real Spartans would have worn body armor, like leg and chest plates, and at the very least would have had crests on their helmets. Thigh length tunics were the norm during the time of the Spartans but the movie would not have had the same visual appeal if everyone had not been wearing micro-short tunics would it?
But there are other more important historical inaccuracies in the movie 300 that viewers should be aware of. King Leonidas indeed live in a time when children were taken from their mothers to endure a tough form of martial education called agoge. Agoge did include things like regular beatings and walking shoeless in winter but impending Kings were usually spared this education. As well, as a future King, Leonidas would not likely have had to slay a wolf on his own but would have been more likely to have been expected to murder unarmed helots (an enslaved people).
The character of Ephialtes is another instance of inaccuracy in the historical movie 300. He was a local Malian that was in reality quite sound of mind and body; however, in the movie he is shown as being severely disfigured and an outcast among the people. It is insinuated that his life should have been ended when he was a baby because of his hump back and that he was undeserving of life.
Finally, there was the character of Xerxes. Xerxes was a Persian, and as the Persians are portrayed in the movie, was seen as a freak among humankind. His body is heavily pierced in the movie and he is garishly made up to insinuate that he has homosexual status. This is used as a reason to consider him a monstrosity by the Spartans. The fact is though, that it was the Spartans who imbibed in regular homosexuality as a part of a young boy’s education. The Athenians regularly poked fun at the Spartans for their custom of pederasty in their comedies by using the term, “to Spartanize”, which meant to bugger. The Spartans actually had no problem with homosexual activities and would have been unlikely to use this as a reason to look down among someone.
These are just a few of the historical inaccuracies in the movie 300. While there was indeed some intriguing action, great visuals, and an interesting story (although some would argue against that) it should be remembered that this was a movie made to entertain – not to inform or educate.
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