Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 08 Mar 2007

Of course, I intend to see it.

The movie’s site:

A translation of the original text of Herodotus{.broken_link} on which the comic/movie is (somewhat loosely) based.

About the only surviving description of the Battle of Thermopylae is from Herodotus, a historian of sometimes dubious factual value. Diodorus, Archilochus, Pausanias and Plutarch also have references to the battle (or at least to the place).

“Thermopylae” translates to “warm gates”. There were hot springs near the site. Though the pass (“gates”) itself was easy to hold, the hills above it were very easy to traverse. The Spartans weren’t the last ones to learn this the hard way.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary entry on the Battle of Thermopylae:

In the pass between the mountains and the sea 6000-7000 Greeks, led by Leonidas king of Sparta, attempted to hold the invading Persians, probably in August 480BC. The small size of the army may have been due to religious reasons, or to Peloponnesian reluctance to send troops so far north. The Greek held their position for two day,s but then a local Greek betrayed the existence of an alternative route. The Phocians guarding the route withdrew to the nearest hill, leaving the way open, and when the rest of the Greeks learned of the enemy’s approach, most retreated, either in panic, or because Leonidas told them to go. He, with the remnants of the Spartans, Thespians, Thebans, and, possibly, Mycenaeans, perhaps acting as a rearguard, fought to the last, except possibly the Thebans, who are said to have surrendered. There was a second battle of Thermopylae in 191BC, when Antiochus III was defeated by the Romans.