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History Buffs: 300

[Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] hello and welcome history buffs my name is nick hodges and i’ve decided to cave into public pressure and review 300. now don’t get me wrong this is a great movie the reason why i didn’t want to review it originally is because this is a show dedicated to informing you guys how accurate a historical film is to its source material but in this case 300 is trying to be faithful to the graphic novel by frank miller and not so much the actual battle thermopylae i didn’t think it’d be fair of me to be honest have a go at this movie and say stuff like well xerxes was not a giants the persians never used rhinos and elephants and thermopylae and they certainly didn’t have whatever the hell that’s supposed to be so instead i’m going to go over the actual battle and discuss the lives and the culture of the legendary warrior society the spartans this is 300. this may come as a surprise to some of you but i don’t like the spartans not saying they weren’t great warriors in fact they were absolutely the greatest warriors in ancient greece but theirs was a cruel society fascinating but unimaginably cruel every waking moment of their lives was dedicated to the state and perfecting the art of war and that’s pretty much about it when a spartan was born the first thing to happen was that an elder would take the newborn and examine it for defects abnormalities any signs of weakness if there was even a slight hint that this baby wouldn’t be perfect then that child would be exposed to the elements and left to die on a sacred hillside and then at the age of seven a spartan boy was taken away from his family to be placed in a military training program called the agogi and it was brutal for the next 12 years of their lives these poor kids would be stripped of their humanity in order for them to be molded to become perfect warriors they were forbidden to cry and taught how to conceal terrible pain one such exercise was that these boys would be flogged in groups until they passed out the last one left standing would be honoured since he was the toughest they were also inadequately fed cast out into the wilderness during the winter months without warm clothing and their final initiation was to sneak out of their barracks at night and murder a helot which was a spartan slave the only thing was that you were not allowed to get caught doing it because if you were then you were severely punished since it was supposed to teach you how to evade capture and loads of kids died doing the igogi and that’s exactly what it was supposed to do to weed out the weak and only produce the strongest warriors worthy of sparta but it doesn’t stop there every form of child abuse you can possibly imagine was inflicted on these poor kids in fact there’s one scene in the movie that inadvertently pointed out when leonidas start slagging off the athenians to a persian messenger the athenians have already turned you down and if those philosophers and uh boy lovers have found that kind of nerve really you’re gonna have a go at them for being boy lovers don’t you think that’s a bit rich coming from you guys i mean after all many historians agree that it was quite common when spartan men trained spartan boys they did a little bit more than just bang their shields in fact you can now watch 300 and know that leonidas and all his men were buggered as children and buggered children but hey you know what as long as it produces perfect soldiers am i right find trust exactly now aside from physical training spartans also taught music mathematics and philosophy and as a result they became famous for being very quick-witted in a way you could see spartan wit to be the original inspiration behind 1980s action movie one-liners don’t disturb my friend he’s dead tired i kid you not spartan history is just filled with golden gems like that i do have to give them credit with one thing they really did have the best comebacks a thousand nations of the persian empire descend upon you our arrows will blot out the sun then we will fight in the shade spartans they’ve done your weapons can we get them but i’ll tell you the story about when the peloponnesian war took place and the athenians were at war with the they sent a messenger to sparta and they said if we beat you we will not spare your children we will destroy your civilization we will kill everybody we will spare no one and the spartans sent back one word reply so that takes care of spartan men but what about spartan women well if they survived being exposed as babies then they would be raised to be mothers in order to produce warriors and because of this it was considered important that they be physically fit in order to bear children so they were trained in gymnastics dancing wrestling and other forms of athletics as a result spartan women were famous for being dropped dead gorgeous homer described sparta as kalaganeka the land of beautiful women in fact the legendary helen of troy the most beautiful woman in the known world was also from sparta now unlike other women from ancient greece sparta and women were not oppressed and received a formal education their higher intelligence and near equal status to men gave them no lack in confidence either do not be coy or stupid persian you can afford neither in sparta what makes this woman think she can speak among men because only spartan women give birth to real men they were also not ones to scur around with just like the men they were also trained to fight since they would be the last line of defense in sparta if the main army was ever destroyed consider the fear of your women clearly you don’t know about women i might as well march them up here judging by what i’ve seen now you might be wondering if all spartan men did was work out and train for combat and all sparks and women did was work out and produce babies then who the hell did everything else like bringing food to the table and building houses and stuff like that well spartan society was divided by three different social groups at the very top with the 10 000 spartan men known as the homoyoi and they were the elite class that ran spartan civilization the second group with the 60 000 non-spartan citizens known as the periakoi they were essentially a middle class that couldn’t vote and earned spartan military protection by providing them with weapons armor and other necessities at the very bottom were the hundred thousand spartan slave class called the helots they worked primarily in agriculture to feed the spartan war machine had very little rights and were treated appallingly by the spartans all of this combined together allowed the spartans to focus on nothing else but to prepare for war spartans what is your profession by 480 bc the persian empire was the largest have ever existed in the ancient world its territories included egypt all of the middle east to parts of pakistan and india when the persian king xerxes decide to invade greece he assumed there’d be an easy victory i mean after all greece was just a blip on the map and had a population of six hundred thousand at the most whilst the persian empire had populations of millions and millions with never-ending resources and wealth and with this amount of power xerxes thought he could subjugate greece if you value your lives over your complete annihilation listen carefully madison xerxes conquers and controls everything he rests his eyes upon he leads an army so massive it shakes the ground with its march so vast it drinks the rivers dry by the way guys he is not exaggerating my modern estimate xerxes commanded an army of 300 000 men now although this figure is much smaller than the figure of 2.5 million as the greek historian herodotus claims it’s still massive especially if you factor in the population density of ancient times if you look at it from the greeks point of view it really did look like the whole world was ready to swallow grease hole so xerxes pretty much had everything a king could ask for in a conquest he had enormous wealth overwhelming numbers and the will to see it all through the only thing he lacked was foresight and all these other advantages rendered him to be slightly overconfident what does your spy report to be honest your grace it’s hard to believe he says they’re a bunch of poofters explain well he says he saw the spartans comb their hair and anoint their bodies with perfumes and scented oils all of this whilst naked that’s gay yes your grace very gay very gay indeed your grace no doubt that gayness will prove a decisive factor in winning this battle excellent let’s not look into this any further attack well if xerxes actually bothered to do his research then he would know that the spartans were actually preparing their bodies for death and would fight like dogs to the bitter end although he was later told this by his advisors his initial reaction the spartans as fruitcakes really does give us an insight into his genius military strategy and what i mean by this is that this isn’t the first time that the mighty persian empire has fought the greeks in 499 bc the previously conquered greek colonies of ionia revolted against persian rule before they were eventually crushed by the persians the rebels received military support from athens and burned the ionian capital of sardis this of course angered the persians and they swore vengeance against athens in 490 bc xerxes father king darius sent an army of 30 000 men across the sea to destroy athens on the greek shoreline the persians meet an army of 10 000 athenians and although they outnumbered them three to one the persians get the crap kicked out of them and were slaughtered this was to be known as the battle of marathon so when the first persian invasion of greece failed king darius made plans for a second one but dies before seeing it through so is now up to his son xerxes to pick up his father’s mantle and that’s exactly what he did so xerxes planned this for 10 years in 10 years he never bothers doing any real research on this enemy he’s supposed to conquer this idiot solution defeating the greeks was well they kicked our arsene marathon even though he outnumbered them so maybe the solution is to throw even more soldiers at them to continue underestimating them never asking the question of how exactly the greeks defeated the first time and ignore a very important rule in warfare the numbers alone doesn’t guarantee victory especially against a technologically superior enemy a perfect example of this would be the battle of otumba in 1520 when less than a thousand conquistadors were able to destroy an army of 40 [Music] out of all the movies i’ve reviewed so far 300 years without a doubt the wackiest and craziest of them all it manages to be historically authentic and completely bonkers at the same time i mean let’s just be honest here you cannot take a movie too seriously when it tries to entice an antagonist with a quadriplegic hermaphrodite i mean i think even effie altis has standards everything you could ever desire every happiness you can imagine every pleasure your fellow greeks and your false gods have denied you i will grant you for i am kind uh this is great and all but these chicks in here are kind of gross can can i say the other 10 no so the reason why 300 is able to take so much creative liberty with historical fact is because the whole movie is told from the perspective of delis tell them my story make every greek know what happened to you go have a grand tale to tell and that’s exactly what he does and like every good storyteller he embellishes on the details a little bit to make it more epic more incredible to forever mythologize the heroic struggle of the 300 spartans so it’s actually rather appropriate why the persians are portrayed to be less like men and more like monsters they observe the dark will of persian kings for five hundred years eyes as dark as night teeth filed to vegas soulless and no one is safe from 300’s version of history even effialtis is demonized in the way you would expect from an ancient greek all we know about him is that he was a local shepherd who betrayed the spartans by revealing a secret goat path to the persians so it makes sense in the movie why he looks like sloth from the goonies as well as being combined with yet another unsavory character [Applause] we’re being followed it has followed us since father he’s been following us for three days overall i’d say that you’d have to take this version of history with a pinch of salt it celebrates the legends of sparta rather than historical fact and that’s absolutely fine if a movie makes it clear right from the get-go with its visual style its tone and plot then i’m more than willing to accept it based on those merits which is why i’d say that 300 is a perfect example of creative licenses being done correctly and based on that why 300 is a great [Music] film i love well that about wraps it up my name is nick hodges and thanks for watching history buffs and remember if you like the show help the channel grow don’t forget to hit that like and subscribe button and let me know in the comment section what you thought about 300 and of course what historical movie should i review next in the meantime check out the history buffs twitter and facebook pages for new updates until then i’ll see you next time [Music] you
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXZt-IlClhs

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