The topic I will be discussing is the movie 300. Those of you who haven’t seen the movie should be informed that it is the imaginative recreation of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C when 300 Spartans laid out their lives against the full force of the Persian army for three whole days while being outnumbered one to three hundred and heavily unequipped. The whole topic and theme about this movie expanded my interests in wars and tactics such as those used by the Spartans.
As you saw in the movie, if you saw it, when the Spartan children became of age, which is usually about seven, they would be taken away from their mothers and were forced to become battle hardened warriors by the age of 18 with their fathers. That’s not even the scary part! If you were born unfit to be a Spartan they would literally sacrifice you on the spot in hopes of birthing a warrior like child. The training methods used by Spartans were very rigorous and brutal on the boys. The things that they made them do were to test to see if they were able to be leaders. They had to learn how to survive by stealing and doing whatever means necessary to go and find a way to survive. A very cool tidbit that I found about the Spartans was that there was only one occupation when it came to men and that was being a Soldier. Starting at the age of twenty soldiers had to serve as a soldier until about the age of sixty until they could retire.
The most iconic tactic and battle formation used by the Spartans influenced many military like powers in that era and that formation was called the Phalanx. The Phalanx consisted of all the soldiers standing really close with the front with their spears out while everyone else had their shields about the squad’s heads so no arrows could hit them. In the movie the Spartans used this formation multiple times and if you watched the movie you could see that nobody was above each other in the formation. Even the king himself Leonidas was in the fray at the head of fight and everyone was equal. If you could say it the battle formation was like a perfect game of basketball where everyone was involved and got their time to shine without hurting the cause. The formation really just sparked my interest in war formations and how military officials came up with these strategic advantages.
Sadly, a movie is just a movie and the Spartans aren’t as invincible as we all thought them to be or how the movie portrayed them. In the movie you could see at the end of the battle of Thermopylae, the Spartans were going to die and that probably was the first time you saw them as being not invincible and just humans with a good game plan. The eventual downfall of the Spartans started at the battle of Leuctra in 371 B.C by the hands of the Thebans, this would lead to an eventual invasion by Theban general Epaminondas which oversaw the liberation of all the helots in Sparta and thus led to Sparta becoming a second rate power for the rest of it’s existence. Which in my opinion was a really sad way for such a cool empire to go.
The Spartans themselves sparked my interest in many things, War, Power, Strength, Strategy, and hierarchy. The wars the Spartan had with their enemies were just relentless and they were very brutal with how they fought and how they treated their prisoners of war. The power behind each Spartan was ridiculous! At the age of about 15 they had to be able to wear a full set of battle armor with shield and spear and battle in it! The Strength of all the Spartans including the women was just ridiculous! The women themselves had to be able to protect the homeland if invasion were to occur. They were strong enough to fend of Spartan men! That’s something to be scared about! The strategy was just otherworldly at the time with the perfection of the Phalanx and how perfectly executed it was. The hierarchy behind the Spartans empire was kind of weird in a way with the helots being considered slaves and hoplites also being slaves but being able to battle and partake in wars, it was such a weird thing. Overall the Spartans themselves taught me many things and peaked my interest in war so much that I might even pursue a career in it.
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