Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

 “... After this conversation Xerxes went over the battlefield to see the bodies, and having been told that Leonidas was king of Sparta and commander of the Spartan force, ordered his head to be cut off and fixed on a stake. This is in my opinion the strongest evidence - though there is plenty more - that King Xerxes, while Leonidas was still alive, felt fiercer anger against him than against any other man; had that not been so, he would never have committed this outrage upon his body; for normally the Persians, more than any other nation I know of, honour men who distinguish themselves in war. However, Xerxes’ order was carried out ...”
- Herodotus, The Histories , Book Seven, 238
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“... Each [Persian] satrapy was called upon to provide its quota of fighting men. ‘For was there a nation in all Asia,’ writes Herodotus, ‘which Xerxes did not bring against Greece?’ Sir Frederic Maurice estimates the strength of the levy at 150,500 and Munro at 180,000 ... In the spring the advance began and the army set out for Abydus, where, 1,207 warships and 3,000 transports were assembled already ... So it came about that the [Greek] Congress sent the allied fleet to Artemisium [consisting] of 324 triremes and nine penteconters, of which the Athenian contingent was 180 ships under Themistocles, and though the Spartan contingent, commanded by Eurybiades, numbered only ten ships, because he represented the leading member of the League he was given supreme command.

“... Eurybiades assembled a council of war to discuss the disaster, during which - following Diodorus - all the commanders except Themistocles favoured the defensive; nevertheless he persuaded them to take a contrary course, pointing out that that party ever had the advantage who, in good order, made the first onset upon an enemy in disorder. An obstinate and indecisive fight followed, and the day afterwards news from Chalcis was received at Artemisium that the Phoenician squadron had been caught in the gale and for the greater part wrecked, and that the fifty-three Attic ships were returning. Probably they were back at Artemisium on the evening of the day of the battle.

“The next day it was the Persian fleet which assumed the offensive. The Greeks ranged their ships in a crescent, with the cusps pointing to the land to prevent their flanks being turned, and at a signal charged the oncoming Persians. The battle at once developed into a close quarter melee; but again no decision was reached. A council of Greek admirals met after the engagement to consider a retreat. As they were arguing, a triaconter (thirty-oar galley) arrived from Thermopylae with the portentous news that the pass had been lost, that Leonidas had fallen, and that the Persians were marching towards Athens. This left no choice but to retire, and under cover of darkness the Greeks sailed south for Salamis.”
- J.F.C. Fuller, A Military History of the Western World, Volume I , 1954, pgs. 26-33
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