Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blog Number 57 - Dark Horse Comics - History of the Greek-Persian Wars - Part III of III - Frank Miller's '300'

There was a synopsis of the the second invasion of the Greek-Persian Wars which appeared in 1998 on the Dark Horse Comics website. Interspersed within was a Frank Miller interview which was conducted to publicize the release of the '300' comic book series. Due to the length of the article, I took the liberty of breaking it down into three segments.

Below is Part III of III:

In mid-August of the same year, at a time when most Greek city-states were withdrawing from their holding positions for religious observation of the Carneia and for Olympic competitions, a small force of 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, marched north to Thermopylae to fortify that important pass. This force was reinforced by factions from neighboring cities, but the total number of Greeks involved never topped seven thousand.

While the Persian navy was suffering formidable losses at sea due to a terrible storm and the subsequent attack of the Athenian navy, Xerxes ordered his land troops forward to attack the Spartan's defense of the Hot Gates at Thermopylae. For the first two days of the battle at Thermopylae, the Persians were badly defeated by the steadfast Spartan-led troops, but on the third day, Xerxes' imperial guard found access to a previously undiscovered pass (revealed to them by a turn-coat Greek) that allowed them to outflank Leonidas' guard. Xerxes ordered yet another frontal attack -- of the same caliber that had been defeated the previous two days -- but this time, he also commanded a second attack from the rear mountain pass. Leonidas and his Spartans were defeated after two glorious days of battle, and Xerxes' troops eventually advanced into Southern Greece, despite the heavy losses dealt by the 300 Spartans.
The following year was tumultuous for the allied Greek states, as the invaders took Attica, and the Acropolis at Athens fell to Persian troops. Nevertheless, Greece managed to prevail over the tiring Persians in key battles, and by late 479, a fortified alliance between the remaining Spartan forces and Athens proved formidable enough to reclaim the lost Greek territories and defeat Persia.

Revisit this most remarkable and under-reported battle of the Persian invasion of Greece with Frank Miller's latest Dark Horse series, 300.

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