The 300 Spartans

The 300 Spartans is a 1962 cinemascope film depicting the Battle of Thermoplae.thumb|300px|right


Xerxes the I of Persia leads a vast army of soldiers into Europe to defeat the small city-states of Greece to fulfill not only the idea of "one world ruled by one master", but also to avenge the defeat of his father at the Battle of Marathon ten years before. Accompanying him are Artemisia I, the Queen of Halicarnassus who beguiles Xerxes with her feminine charm, and Demeratus, an exiled king of Sparta whose warnings Xerxes pays little heed to.

In Corinth, Themistocles of Athens wins the support of the Greek allies and convinces both the delegates and the Spartan representative, Leonidus the I, to grant Sparta leadership of their forces. Outside the hall, Leonidas and Themistocles agree to fortify the pass at Thermopalae until the rest of the army arrives. After this, Leonidas learns of the Persian advance and travels to Sparta to spread the news.

In Sparta, fellow king Leotychidus is fighting a losing battle with the Ephors over a festival that is due to take place, and that the army should wait until after the festival is over to march, by which time the Persians will have conquered Greece. Leonidas secretly decides to take his personal bodyguard of 300 men to the pass, who are exempt from the decisions of the ephors and the Gerousia. They are reinforced by Thespians led by Demophilius and other Greek allies.

After days of fighting, Xerxes grows angry as his army is routed by the Greeks, with the Spartans in the forefront. Leonidas further pressures his men after receiving word that the remainder of the Spartan army will only fortify the isthmus in the Peleponiese and will advance no further. The Greeks constantly beat back the Persians, and following the defeat of his personel bofyguard in battle against the Spartans, Xerxes begins to consider withdrawing to srdid until he can equip a larger force at a later date. As he prepares to withdraw, Xerxes receives word from Ephialtes of a goat-track through the mountains. Promising to reward Ephialtes for his betrayal, Xerxes sends his army onward.

Once Leonidas realizes this, he sends away the Greek allies to alert the cities to the south. Being too few to hold the pass, the Spartans instead attack the Persian front, where Xerxes is nearby. Leonidas is killed in the melée. Meanwhile the Thespians, who had refused to leave, are overwhelmed (offscreen) while defending the rear. Surrounded, the surviving Spartans refuse to leave Leonidas' body and are annihilated by arrowfire.

After this, narration states that the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Plataea end the Persian invasion, which could not have been organized without the time bought by the 300 Spartans who defied the tyranny of Xerxes at Thermopylae. One of the final images of the film is the memorial bearing the epigram of simondus of cios, which is recited.