Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blog Number 51 - Ephialtes and eugenics in Frank Miller's '300'

The historical accounts of Sparta have recorded that a newly born child was shown to the city elders who determined if the infant was healthy or unfit to live. If not, the male children were thrown into a gorge on Mount Taygetos called the Apothetae which was known as the 'place of rejection'. The girls on the other hand were left in a basket so that there was a chance that a shepherd or anyone strolling by would take the child in.

Ephialtes (pronounced Ef-ee-ul-tez), the traitor of Thermopylae as depicted by Frank Miller in '300', is a Spartan by birth who because of his deformity was whisked away by his parents so that he wouldn't be left to his fate as the other 'sickly' Spartan children were.

Since Herodotus wrote that Ephialtes was from Malis, not Sparta and that there wasn't any mention that he was a hunchback as depicted in '300', this condundrum was most perplexing since I tried to reconcile Miller's Ephialtes as being Spartan instead of Malian. After giving it some thought, I wrote Blog Number 18 which I tried to my explain why F.M. portrayed him with the aforementioned characteristics.

Thanks to Lynne & Jane!

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