Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Warner Bros. '300' pays homage to a defining moment in Greek history

On March 25th, our fellow Greeks and Philhellenes will observe Greek Independence Day, not only in our ancestors' birthplace, but throughout countries all around the world. This event holds much significance for many of us, as it honors Greece's declaration of independence on this day in 1821 against the Ottoman Empire's 400-year occupation and oppression. Kolokotronis, Bouboulina, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Mpotsaris and the countless freedom fighters from the land of the Hellenes are honored and revered for their struggle which led Greece to be the proud independent nation which she is today.

Equally as important in the annals of our beloved Greece's modern history is OXI Day (phonetic, aw-hee), which is observed on October 28th of every year. This holiday is celebrated in commemorating General Ioannis Metaxas' defiant reply of 'oxi', to Benito Mussolini's ultimatum to allow Italian troops into Greece. This one word response precipitated Greece's formal entry into World War II and which culminated in the Hellenic forces repelling the invading Italian army all the way back into Albania.

Coincidentally, it is another laconic phrase in the Warner Bros. movie based on Frank Miller's '300' which will echo throughout cinemas around the world starting this week. The words Molon Labe (phonetic, Maw-lon Lah-veh), which spoken by King Leonidas of Sparta in 480 B.C., have resonated throughout history over the last 2,500 years. The translation which means 'Come and get them' will be spoken by Gerard Butler who portrays the legendary Spartan king who spearheaded the defense of Thermopylae.

According to Herodotus and other historians, the Greek garrison which consisted of approximately 7,000 hoplites, 300 of whom were King Leonidas' fellow Spartiates, held off the numerically superior Persian army for several days. Several scholars, researchers and contemporary historians have conservatively estimated the invading force of Xerxes I at 200,000 warriors, comprised from a multitude of nations from the east.

For two days, the 300 Spartans and their allies inflicted heavy losses on the invaders before their position was compromised by a Malian traitor. On the third day, rather than surrender, the remaining Spartans and the remnants of the Thespian contingent which originally numbered 700, fought to the death so that their countrymen could withdraw safely. It was their heroic self-sacrifice which inspired their Greek countrymen to subsequent victories at Salamis, Plataea and Mykale.

Therefore, this movie pays homage to not only King Leonidas and the heroic '300' and their fight for freedom, it also pays tribute to Greece, the birthplace of democratic principles.

John Trikeriotis


Oscar said...

Hey John,
I think you and your readers would be very interested in a 300 contest that we are running with Warner Bros. Check it out at www.zannel.com/300Contest and also visit www.zannel.com/300 to view tons of behind the scenes and exclusive production footage of 300's upcoming movie!
Enjoy and thank you for the great background on Greece's history.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Blog. I am glad to see a such positive comments about the Greeks, whose same fortitude as the 300 helped liberate Greece in WWII. I have heard about modern day Persians complaining about their portrayal in the film, although my main concern is that it will be hijacked by Americans portraying themselves as the 300. I think the Persian army in this film is more like a portrayal of the American empire. With Xerxes (GW Bush) waging the same war as his father did a decade before. For me, it is Greece, NOT America, that is the beacon of Democracy in this world...even to today.

Battlestar Galacticast said...

John, it looks like we're both posting for a common goal about 300 and the Greek Community! Take a look at the story we did at YourGreekNews.com at

Your audience will probably love it!



Anonymous said...

In short, 300 is a perfect combination of moral wrongheadedness and inept filmmaking. On any level beyond the pictorial, Snyder makes clunky Cecil B. DeMille epics like The Ten Commandments look positively deft. It presents itself as an instructive case study in nobility and bravery, but the only lesson I came away with was, “When in doubt … kill the hunchback.”

Ernesto Lago said...

A text in spanish about 300.

Anonymous said...

Great post. And Metaxas is certainly our new, modern Leonidas!!!

Anonymous said...