MovieChat Forums > The 300 Spartans (1962) Discussion > Regarding the 'they fought for our freed...

Regarding the 'they fought for our freedom' quote


In the reviews, I've noticed that everyone who mentions it immediately associates it with the cold war, etc.
However, since the film was made by Europeans, I think the purpose of that quote is completely different.
(so, "our freedom" referring to the freedom of the Europe).

If the Spartans haden't hold the pass of Thermopylae so long, the Persians would've been able to conquer all of Greece.
And what would've prevented Xerxes then from conquering the rest of Europe too?
Some unorganized barbarian tribes? I don't think so :)
The whole history would probably look different then.



Just wanted to clear that up :)

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to your question who should have prevented xerxes from conquewring all of europe: nobody... but! why should he conquer all of europe. in persian thinking, the land was worth nothing. greece was civilised and had reasonable agriculture. so the only other part of europe a bit interesting would have been italia. so in that part youre right, european history would have looked different cuz the romans would have come out differently, but modern day france, germany and spain e.g. were deep nasty forrests and wasteland.

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although salamis was the battle that actually fought off the persians, thermopolae was a better story, that's why it's in movies and stories and the like and most people think salamis is a deli meat

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Agreed partially. Of course it means that they fought for the freedom of the western civilization. The persians were very organized and had a great civilization. Nevertheless, the humanistic civilization of the greeks was the one the actually invented arts, science, philosophy and so many other things as well as the "free human" and the humanistic values. That is why had the Persians won, the world would be absolutely different

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So you argue that if the Persians would have conquered Greece, mankind would have never made the discovery of democracy and equality among men? :)

Or that we'd just be hosting a different ancient culture?

-Mazikainen

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Another reason why this story is filmed over Salami's is the "arrows will block out the sky" quote is so cinematic, while Naval warfare is also cinematic it's just not as visually poetic as those arrows.

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It would have happened much later, in a very different place. Just look at mathematics or humanistic philosophy for example. Even after being invented in the Hellenistic world, it took around 2000 years for it to become mainstream. Eratosthenes and Aristarchus spoke of a spherical earth and a heliocentric system....It took 2100 years for Galileus to dare say the same thing again (and even then he almost got killed for it).I think that ought to be enough to understand how ahead of its time the greek civilization was.

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We will never know for sure what would have happened if the Persians had won the war, but to say that Greek civilization was saved by the event is not sustainable. Only a hundred years later, the Greeks were conquered first by the Macedonians and then by Rome and those Greek ideas disappeared from history for a long time (perserved by middle eastern scholars).

Persians were a cosmopolitan civilization of incredible learning. Their philosophers, engineers, and artist rival the Greeks (ever heard of Zoranaster?). I suspect the Socrates might actually have been put to death by the Athenians for encouraging ideas that showed strong Persian influences (read the republic). But note that Socrates also admired the Spartans as well so its hard to say which enemies ideas (Spartans or Persian) the Athenians were more offended by.

Persians were also the first state to recognize human rights and guaranteed local autonomy. When they conquered they did not destroy, or assimilate (if they had there would be no Jewish faith today -- and for that reason, the Persians are well respected in the Bible). Under the Persians, the Greeks ideas such as humanism and democracy might actually have been able to grow, whereas under Macedonian and later Roman Tyrany, those idea died until reborn many generations later in Europe. The Romans really admired the Spartans, including their ensslavement of conquered people.

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You sound totally indoctrinated..and bamboozled to boot.

First missed step: Macedonians were Greek!..spoke Greek and spread Greek culture throughout the Asia and North Africa

The second great lie you propagate is the damnable lie of mid east "scholars preserving Greek wisdom...
This idiocy is that Rome obliterated Greek culture. Au contraire they assimilated Greekness and transformed it for application to the west...Easter Rome aka Greek speaking Christian Byzantium survived to 1453 until the hordes from Asiatic hell destroyed everything in their path leading to darkness and stagnation and servitude for the conquered peoples until the great revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries unleashing the yoke of decadent Islam sending them back to Asia.

In short Greekness allowed Christianity to liberate paganism all over the world and still does.

You need to get past the stereotypes you have been indoctrinated with ...

Try it you'll like it.

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Yeah, it's really funny how people try to brand "barbaric" everything they don't know or understand. If democracy was saved indeed that day, then it was the biggest irony of all. Democracy was saved by an ultra-right, fascist, totalitarian, slave owning society, with elements of apartheid.

Freedom saved by a city-state that had several times more slaves than its population, and logic was saved by narrowminded people who lived only for war, killings and plunder...

Ancient Persia was a state with developed art, culture, state apparatus, postal system, road network, irrigation system, religious tolerance etc... and Sparta was a loose tribal federation whose only purpose of existence was war.

Yeah, it's a good thing democracy and western values were saved by such a "glorious nation". And it's a sad thing, that films like this only add to the present stereotypes that have no connection with reality or history...

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Well here's the thing. I'd agree that certainly Persia was a tremendous power and culture at the time. But you know for a bunch of fellows who supposedly drunk the Hellespont dry they didn't achieve what they set out to do and that was to subjugate Greece. Why didn't they win and consequently set the West's course another way? And they did have advantages. They destroyed the Spartans and the Greek allies who were with them at Thermopylae though I'd like to say that if it wasn't for Ephialtes, the Spartans and the rest of the Greeks would have "entertained" the Persians to blood and guts I think for weeks maybe months at the pass since at that time the pass was extremely narrow where Leonidas fought. Xerxes really got lucky in his first battle. Then he goes on and sacks Athens, sets a couple of fires around the country etc but what happens? Salamis, Platea...the great Persians get jumped and Xerxes high tails it back. Never again to show his or Persia's face anymore around Greece. Something happened to the Persians then and it has had repercussions through the centuries. Iran today looks back at a glorious time that had immense promise but she failed in trying to get a triumph over the West in 480 BC. I think it's eveident that she's still looking for one.

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>Iran today looks back at a glorious time that had immense promise but she
>failed in trying to get a triumph over the West in 480 BC. I think it's
>eveident that she's still looking for one.

In history many cultures have come and gone, and the influence of Persia on our modern world is probably greater than you might imagine. I believe they were one of the first countries to adopt a monotheistic religion and their view of the the struggle between good and evil as I understand it is much more similar to the modern Christian than the Jewish view (revelations especially).

From wikipedia (sorry I don't have time to look this up in a more scholarly source): Zoroastrianism is uniquely important in the history of religion because of its possible formative links to both Western and Eastern religious traditions.[1] In the opinion of Mary Boyce, as "the oldest of the revealed credal religions", Zoroastrianism "probably had more influence on mankind directly or indirectly than any other faith".[2][3]


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RIGOLETTO: I'm denied that common human right, to weep.

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Salamis, Platea...the great Persians get jumped and Xerxes high tails it back.


Ummmmm Xerxes didn't run away after being defeated. Xerxes left because there was an uprising in part of his empire and he had to take most of the army with him. Up until that time Xerxes was stomping the Greek states and he actually pushed the Greek forces to the very fringes of their lands before he was forced to leave because of a foreign rebellion.

The hoplites of the greeks where the best warriors of their time but even the phalanx had weaknesses and couldn't stand up to the immense size of the Persian army.

Coincidence saved Greece... not military prowess or "freedom".

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Salamis, Platea...the great Persians get jumped and Xerxes high tails it back.


Ummmmm Xerxes didn't run away after being defeated. Xerxes left because there was an uprising in part of his empire and he had to take most of the army with him. Up until that time Xerxes was stomping the Greek states and he actually pushed the Greek forces to the very fringes of their empire before he was forced to leave because of a foreign rebellion.

The hoplites of the greeks where the best warriors of their time but even the phalanx had weaknesses and couldn't stand up to the imense size of the Persian army.

Coincidence saved Greece... not military prowess or "freedom".

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Sometimes it pays to look up old postings, just to see if anyone else bothered to respond.

I noted in a previous post that the so called "Greek freedom" (wherein the Spartans were free to enslaved other people) was eliminated by Macedonians, and later by the Romans (though the roman tyrants that they were admired the Spartans, not the Athenians).

I got this response.

"First missed step: Macedonians were Greek!..spoke Greek and spread Greek culture throughout the Asia and North Africa "

Not according to the Greeks. Macedonians existed on the fringes of Greek society and spoke a different language (Philip hired a Greek to teach Alexander greek). Philip really admired the Greeks in some ways, but also looked down on them. So he Conquered the Greeks to show that he, a Macedonian, was supperior. The Macedonians where by the Athenian definition, Tyrants.

>"This idiocy is that Rome obliterated Greek culture. Au contraire they assimilated Greekness and transformed it for application to the west"

Romans were tyrants (like the Spartans) no matter what elements of Greek culture they preserved.

>In short Greekness allowed Christianity to liberate paganism all over the world and still does.

Pagans who didn't convert willingly were not typically "liberated", they were conquered, enslaved, or destroyed by Christians (e.g., black froms Africa, Messo Americans, Livonians).

Christianity didn't start liberating anyone until the 1830 when a mostly secular Britian began to actively campaign against slavery. If abolishing slavery was a Christian thing (a gift of the Greeks), why did it take so long for it to occur?


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RIGOLETTO: I'm denied that common human right, to weep.

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[deleted]

[deleted]

Whoa! As to a heliocentric system, okay. But the idea of a spherical Earth was very mainstream in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. That's the cosmology of Dante's Divine Comedy, a spherical Earth (but in a geocentric Ptolemaic system). That the Earth was spherical was obvious from phenomena like the horizon and the consistently circular shadow cast by the Earth during a lunar eclipse.

Manuscripts don't burn.

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I appreciate all the posts.

One other thought to consider. The Greeks, by stopping the Persian advance, didn't just save European culture. They created it. If you look at the globe, it's clear that "Europe" doesn't make much sense as a geographical entity. And I think Greek culture really was something of an outpost of Near Eastern culture before that time. For example, the Greek alphabet came from the Phoenicians. But by stopping the spread of the Persian Empire across the Aegean, the Greeks inspired what we call "European culture." The Aegean became a geographical division between what we call "Asia" and "Europe." (Originally, "Asia" referred only to what we call Turkey or "Asia Minor" today.)

Later, someone had to come up with another arbitary division farther north, so the Ural Mountains in Russia were set up as the northern boundary between Europe and Asia. But unlike the division between Africa and Europe or South America and North America, the division between Asia and Europe makes little sense from a geographical standpoint. It's purely cultural.

"Extremism in the pursuit of moderation is no vice."

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That line really irritated me because it seems to carry a racist "clash of civilizations" connotation to it. Like the way European right-wingers talk about the battle of Vienna between the Christian kingdoms and the Ottomans. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

And it's not true anyway. As someone else on this thread noted, Greece was conquered by the despotic Macedonians not long after this, and was later ruled despotically by the Romans and Byzantines for many centuries. But we don't have the same narrative about that, because the Romans and Byzantines were other Europeans. Hence the racist "clash of civilizations" connotation.

In practical terms I don't see how a Persian conquest of Greece would have been any more destructive to the survival of democracy than the Roman conquest of Greece was. The Roman and Byzantine emperors were no more democratic than the Persian kings. Even when Rome was a republic, it ruled despotically over Greece; the republic was for the city of Rome itself, and later to some extent the rest of the Italian mainland (only after the Social War forced Rome to concede citizenship to Italians), but not for its conquered territories. Greek democracy was crushed under Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule (only the last of which is viewed as tragic; guess why), and later Greek monarchical and fascist rule, for 2,000 years. But apparently Persia was the big threat to Western democracy. Ok.

Moreover, Sparta was a brutal slave state, where an oppressive military caste ruled over a downtrodden mass of slaves. I laughed when the Spartan guy at the beginning said to Xerxes "you are the master of slavery, you know nothing of freedom". Yeah ok, I think the helots might have had a few things to say to him about that (and then he would have killed them for daring to speak up to their masters).

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