300 Spartans: truth and fiction about the legendary Battle of Thermopylae
• 300 Spartans: truth and fiction about the legendary Battle of Thermopylae
Probably, the legend of the 300 Spartans who courageously resisted a numerically superior enemy army to the last breath, heard it all. Hollywood films devoted to this subject, made a lot of noise, although historical accuracy was not worth to expect from them. How it can actually took place the legendary Battle of Thermopylae?
Battle of Thermopylae took place in 480 BC. e. during the Greco-Persian wars. Persia at that time was a young aggressive superpower, seeking to expand their borders. Xerxes was the ruler, endowed with tremendous power, despotic and ambitious - he sought to rule the world. He was feared, but not worshiped, as shown in a Hollywood movie. Surprising as its appearance - the king pierced, hung with chains, looks, to put it mildly, strange.
The Persian soldiers of the "immortals" Guard. Fragment of painting from the royal palace
The army attacked the Persians at times exceeded the strength of the Greeks. According to various estimates, the number of the Persians was from 80 to 250 thousand soldiers, the Greeks were from 5 to 7000. Despite the unequal power in the first two days of the Greeks repulsed the attack of the Persians at Thermopylae Gorge, but on the third day, the tide of battle was broken. According to one version, a local resident Ephialtes told the Persians about the presence of the mountain detour and showed it for a cash consideration, on the other - the Persians found themselves this way. Be that as it may, on the third day they were able to come from behind. The messenger warned the Spartans that. Realizing the unsuccessful outcome of events, Leonid himself suggested to the Greeks to disperse in their cities. He himself and his 300 Spartans remained.
The Persian soldiers. Palace in Persepolis bas
If we abandon the excessive romanticizing and the glorification of this decision, it is clear that Leonid had no other choice. In Sparta acted very strict laws - without an order nobody had the right to retreat from the battlefield. If this happens - Spartan lose their civil rights, waiting for him disgrace and exile. Leonid knew that all would die, but he had no choice but to retreat was impossible. Spartan warrior had to fight to the death, otherwise it will become a social outcast, and he would want to die not to suffer eternal humiliation and contempt.
Persian King Xerxes in the movie "300"
Most of the questions is the number of the Greek army. Herodotus on the subject states: "Hellenic same force, is expected in the area of the Persian king, consisted of 300 Spartan hoplites 1000 tegeytsev and mantineytsev (500 both); Further, 120 people from Orchomenus in Arcadia and 1000 - from the rest of Arcadia. There were so many Arcadians. Then Corinth 400 Phlius of 200 and 80 - from Mycenae. These people came from the Peloponnese. Of Boeotia were 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans. In addition, the Greeks called for help opuntskih Locrians with all their hosts, and 1000 fokiytsev ". That is just 5,200 soldiers. Still with them were the servants - helots.
Xerxes in "300."
Spartans really was 300 - the number of soldiers in the Guard was a constant, if one died, his place becomes a friend. But apart from the Spartans there were hundreds of other Greek city-states, with a total of up to 5,000, and in the first two days of the battle they fought together at Thermopylae. But about 1,000 Greeks in particular Thespians were left on their own, and after the order of Leonid return home. Nobody does not detract from the merit and courage of the Spartans, but not only they were killed in an unequal battle in the day. Greeks loss in three days amounted to about 4,000 people, the Persians - 5 times more.
A still from the movie "300" 2006
Hoplite - Greek heavily armed foot soldier
Jacques-Louis David. The Battle of Thermopylae 1814
The monument dedicated to the heroism of 300 Spartans
The Monument of king Leonidas and 300 Spartans squad near the battlefields