Xerxes: what a tool. My credentials as a historian may not be quite as respectable as David Starkey's (also a tool), but I still feel justified in making that bald, unsupported and general statement. I mean really, if you've got anywhere between 500,000 and 2,000,000 soldiers, why would you send them against 300 soldiers in relatively small waves, with plenty of time in between for the opposition to clean up, have an apple and take a wee snooze? No, you'd send them *all at once* and then all they'd have to do is squash the Spartans.
Anyway, I'm glad Xerxes was a tool, because the Spartans rocked, and deserved to take out around 50,000 Persian soldiers in 2 days with only 300 soldiers with spears, swords and shields - wooo! Gooooooooooo Spartans!
The film itself was fantastic - beautiful cinematography and easily identifiable as having been inspired by a graphic novel. At first I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy it, as it did seem like it was going to be a little bit OTT, but I was wrong, very wrong. Any qualms I had were squashed when the 300 soldiers appeared over the brow of a hill, wearing nothing more than a pair of pants, boots and a cloak each - I felt like Columbus, laying eyes upon a beautiful New World for the first time...I felt like applauding. Six-packs like those take dedication - 300 beautiful six-packs, that's 1800 abdominal muscles, carved and cut to perfection...
Anyway, that is obviously not what the film is about (shame ;p). Don't be fooled by the monsters in Xerxes's army - the descriptions were taken from actual descriptions of the battle, the monsters aren't added for fun. However, this doesn't mean that the rest of the information about the battle is unreliable - historians and archeologists have uncovered the remains from the battle and proved that there were indeed only around 300 spartan soldiers, and anything from 500,000 Persians upwards, so it is an epic story.
It was beautiful to look at, enjoyable to watch and left me with a lasting interest in the Spartans and the battle which inspired the film. I've even got a book and everything (my dad would be so proud), which Paul got me after the following conversation:
Paul: I'm in Waterstones trying to get you that book about the Spartans, there's one here about the Persians though, the same battle.
Me: But I don't like the Persians
Paul:......well....it's the same battle though, it ends the same
Me:But....Xerxes was a tool
Paul: Yes. Xerxes was a tool. He loses in this book as well, though.
Me: Well.....so long as he loses, I guess that's ok
Paul: Yeah. He loses.
Me: Cos he was a tool.
Paul: Yes, honey, he was a tool. Shhhhhhhh.........
Go watch the film. Because Xerxes was a tool :)