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~Sophia~

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The movie is very entertaining but at times a bit silly. I have no issue with the film being historically inaccurate, I do have issues with the Spartans in the movie claiming to be defenders of Reason and Freedom when they clearly don't follow it in their own film.

Ephialtes is a good example of this. By the standards of Spartan life he should not be alive, yet he is. And in the time in which he has been alive he has been working damn hard to make something useful of himself. He proves his willingness to defend a civilization which would want him dead and warns the Spartans about a path that they need to be worried about being outflanked from. Yet Leonidas does not even attempt to incorporate someone who is clearly a Patriot into the defense of "Reason and Freedom". Ephialtes may have been unsuited for working the Phalanx but there is no reason why he should not have at least been allowed to fight in some capacity. Instead he is told just to clear bodies. Ephialtes would have probably just have been happy enough to be given a chance to die on the battlefield while attempting to use his spear in whatever capacity he could hope to achieve.

And for some reason, we are meant to be angry at him for his defection. Yet was there a more logical choice for him? The man was a Spartan who was not even allowed to fight to defend his city. He would not have survived in Sparta anyway because over there they can't stand those who skipped the customary infanticide.

If Ephialtes was not depicted as a hunchback and just a Spartan who defected because he was seduced by Xerxes and did not actually care about "Reason and Freedom", then it would make a lot of sense to hate the man. But instead he is someone who wanted to defend a somewhat irrational society only to be chastised by making the rational choice to leave it because it would have been harmful to him.

The film was enjoyable, and fun, "We are defending Reason from Tyranny and Mysticism!" never gets old for me and I can see myself going to see that film several times because it is a powerful experience. However, it still does not stop it from being a bit of a silly flick with the defenders of "Logic" and "Reason" doing a less then perfect job of making clear they are defending it.

Edited by Strangelove

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That's a good point.

Leonidas made this whole big deal about how the hunchback couldn't protect his left in a phalanx, yet outside of the initial fight the Spartans spent the majority of the time fighting one-on-one combat in slow motion.

I understand why some people liked this film, and honestly I was pretty entertained by it also. But in the end it's a pretty hollow movie with a thin plot, almost zero character development, too much yelling, and too many slow motion shots.

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Yet Leonidas does not even attempt to incorporate someone who is clearly a Patriot into the defense of "Reason and Freedom". Ephialtes may have been unsuited for working the Phalanx but there is no reason why he should not have at least been allowed to fight in some capacity.

It would have been unjust, undermining what it ment to be a Spartan warrior, for Leonidas, to grant the hunchback his whim. He has not earned this privilege.

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It would have been unjust, undermining what it ment to be a Spartan warrior, for Leonidas, to grant the hunchback his whim. He has not earned this privilege.

He could not have earned this priviledge because he skipped the customary infanticide. Spartan society requires that all men are in the military for some time and in some capacity, yet this one clearly would not have been allowed in. His only crime was not being killed.

It would be like this, imagine that all the Gay US Army Arabic translators we have fired decided to go work for another country because they were promised that they would not be removed for trivial reasons (ideally a country that is not our enemy, like the UK). Such action may techincally be "treasonous" but it would be hard not to be sympathetic to a decision like that.

Edited by Strangelove

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He could not have earned this priviledge because he skipped the customary infanticide. Spartan society requires that all men are in the military for some time and in some capacity, yet this one clearly would not have been allowed in. His only crime was not being killed.

It would be like this, imagine that all the Gay US Army Arabic translators we fired suddenly decided to go work for another country because they were promised that they would not be removed for trivial reasons. It would be hard not to be sympathetic to a decision like that.

No it would be like someone without any military training or experience, physically not fit/disabled, asking to join military special operations unit on their mission, saying "I have got your back". Then after being turned down due to his lack of skill, commiting treachery against the very group he wanted to be a part of.

I have no sympathy for someone who betrayed his values and thus himself.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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If you can come up with some acceptable Spartan career paths for someone who avoided the customary infanticide I would sure be interested in hearing them. As far as I can tell, there is no choice except "military service."

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No it would be like someone without any military training or experience, physically not fit/disabled, asking to join military special operations unit on their mission, saying "I have got your back". Then after being turned down due to his lack of skill, commiting treachery against the very group he wanted to be a part of.

I have no sympathy for someone who betrayed his values and thus himself.

Agreed. There is no such thing as a "right" to fight in a particular military unit. As the commander of the Spartan troops Leonidas was perfectly justified in deciding who fights in his unit; his men trust him to make the right decisions. If a handicapped American showed up in Iraq with a gun and pulled a platoon leader aside and demanded he be placed in his unit than I don't think anyone would be so eager to defend his "right" to endanger the other troops by joining in with no military qualifications.

The hunchback had plenty of options open to him besides joining the Persians He could have taken the "combat support" job offered to him of picking up bodies, or he could have sabotaged the Persians on his own. He could have started doing physical therapy to be able to lift his shield high enough to fight in a Phalanx, etc.

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No it would be like someone without any military training or experience, physically not fit/disabled, asking to join military special operations unit on their mission, saying "I have got your back". Then after being turned down due to his lack of skill, commiting treachery against the very group he wanted to be a part of.

I have no sympathy for someone who betrayed his values and thus himself.

Bravo, I made this very case to Diana on Noodlefood. This struck me as a concretized example of the use reason. That is, the facts of reality determine the proper criteria for service, in this case ability, i.e. merit.

Leonidas did not tell this man to get lost. INstead he assessed his ability and told the mane what sort of work he could do in service of Sparta. For the man to discard that option as "beneath him" means that he is the whim worshiper. Sort of reminded me of James Taggart.

All this talk of career paths is nice and all, but irrelavant. In that very situation, Leonidas had a choice, and the man had a choice. Given the facts in the movie at the time, Leonidas made the rational choice, and the man made the irrational choice.

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For the man to discard that option as "beneath him" means that he is the whim worshiper. Sort of reminded me of James Taggart.

Given the facts in the movie at the time, Leonidas made the rational choice, and the man made the irrational choice.

If we were talking about any society except Sparta, I would agree.

I worry that Sparta as portrayed in the movie would probably treat Ephialtes with an unjust plebian status/lower class status if he had survived. The fact that ephialtes is expected to become a warrior in the first place is a major problem and there is no way he can be expected to meet that irratioanl requirement of the society anyway.

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Stop talking about ACTUAL SPartan history and critique the movie for the movie.

I think we've all basically agreed that the movie is awesome. If Strangelove wants to quickly cover the parallel topic of if the actual Leonidas had the right do deny the actual Ephialtes the privilege of joining his Army as a combatant, I think we can cover it fairly quickly.

I take the position that Leonidas was in a position of trust over his troops, and that to have mercy on Ephialtes and allow him to join a Phalanx as a combat troop (even though he was completely unqualified to do so) would have violated the social contract with his men that he act in their best interest.

I will, however, not attempt to support any of the other actions of Spartans (including infanticide, conscription, etc.)

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If we were talking about any society except Sparta, I would agree.

I'm not evaluating spartan society or any other society in particular. I'm evaluating the concretes in the movie. It wasn't a documentary.

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I'm not evaluating spartan society or any other society in particular. I'm evaluating the concretes in the movie. It wasn't a documentary.

Infanticide was in the movie...

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That doesn't mean that they would kill someone who avoided the infanticide in their adulthood, just probably that they wouldn't let them become a Spartan citizen. Leonidas obviously didn't follow this logic because he would have allowed Ephialtes to serve the Spartan troops in some manner while wearing the Spartan Crimson. This shows that Leonidas does not necessarily support infanticide, nor the principle behind it. He obviosuly believes that people can be of service to the best of their ability, and Ephialtes' ability did not allow him to serve as a fighting soldier adequately.

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If we're judging from just the movie, Ephialtes certainly could have fought as a soldier, just perhaps not as part of the phalanx. Like I said the phalanx formation was used only in the initial rush, and then the Spartans proceeded to fight the rest of the battle with one-on-one combat.

Bottomline is that Leonidas' reasoning for why the hunchback couldn't fight was weak, given the way the Spartans actually fought in the movie.

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Infanticide was in the movie...

True enough, but this would make me wonder, not why Leonidas thought him unfit for battle, but rather why ephialtes would want to continue to defend a society that would have killed him outright if it had the chance.

You're correct that it is inconsistency.

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If we're judging from just the movie, Ephialtes certainly could have fought as a soldier, just perhaps not as part of the phalanx.

uh, huh. So then you believe that Leonidas claim that Ephialtes would not have been of any use as a soldier was true? The fact that he can fight is not the only aspect of assessing whether that is the best way to employ him.

Given your more rational assessment of his state, How many Persians do you think he would have killed before he himself was killed?

He would have been "of use" only in a fatalistic sense, ie. that his death would have contributed to the cause. Given that we're talking about 300 men who supposedly killed 20,000 Persians, don't you think that Ephialtes would actually have been more productive by refreshing the men who were killing at an unbelievable rate than himself trying to take up arms?

Leonidas assessment of Ephialtes was even more correct than his assessment of the greeks who came to join him.

Edited by KendallJ

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Well I guess we'll never know how good Ephialtes would have been in combat. But the fact that he said he trained in order to carry his father shield make me feel like he'll at least be a better fighter than the potters and bakers that joined the Spartans.

In fact during the movie Leonidas accepted the fact that Ephialtes could use a sword. The specific reason for Ephialtes' rejection, according to Leonidas, was that he couldn't raise a shield properly. I'm saying at the very least Leonidas could have gave the hunchback a combat duty with the other Greeks instead of asking him to carry corpses and refreshments.

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I'm saying at the very least Leonidas could have gave the hunchback a combat duty with the other Greeks instead of asking him to carry corpses and refreshments.

This is the thing. Having Ephialtes serve in the army was not a gift to him. If he was to be allowed it would be for Leonidas' own self interest, not a sacrifice for the sake of Ephialtes.

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One of my all time favorite movies.

Saddest part... was leaving the theatre looking around at the faces of the other patrons knowing that 90% of them didn't get it.

I wasn't sad however because I knew 10% did.

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Just saw 300 last night. It rocked IMO.

As far as the hunchback (Ephialtes?) goes, I don't get the implication that Leonidas did something immoral in not letting Ephialtes fight alongside them. It seems merely a tactical decision (perhaps in hindsight a bad one given what Ephialtes subsequently did.)

I'm surprised no one's similarly criticized Queen Gorgo for what she did in order to get more troops from Theron or her response to his treachery. I don't think either action was improper, but it seems to be a criticism along a similar line. (This may have been brought up earlier; I haven't yet read the whole thread.)

Was anyone else amused when Theron's sheep fellow councilmen suddenly break out in "Traitor! Traitor!" after (and not until) Gorgo ends the "debate" with Theron?

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In fact during the movie Leonidas accepted the fact that Ephialtes could use a sword. The specific reason for Ephialtes' rejection, according to Leonidas, was that he couldn't raise a shield properly. I'm saying at the very least Leonidas could have gave the hunchback a combat duty with the other Greeks instead of asking him to carry corpses and refreshments.

Asking him to serve with the other Greeks perhaps would have been a greater insult and letdown than asking him to carry corpses for the Spartans.

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I just saw the film last night and I loved it!

As for Ephialtes's asking to be allowed to help, Leonidas offered him tasks that all the other Spartan soldiers had to undertake. The 300 had no seperate logistics/supply/clean-up corps - all necessary tasks were carried out by the warriors themselves during lulls in the combat. The only thing Ephialtes would not be allowed to do was take part in the actual fighting. I know that some have commented on the amount of one-on-one fighting that took place in the film as a missed opportunity for Leonidas to make use of Ephialtes but none of the 'single' combat would have been possible without the charge-breaking abilities of the Phalanx.

The phalanx formation is shown as the true strength of the Spartans as it is used time and again to break the initial assault of Xerxes' troops, allowing the Spartans to then counter-attack in a manner consistent with their superb training. They don't really fight 'one-on-one' but tended to pair up or just spread out, with each watching his comrades and the ebb and flow of the attackers. If the Sparatn phalanx had not held each time it was tested then nothing would have been able to stop the oncoming masses, no matter the individual skills of the defenders.

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Well I guess we'll never know how good Ephialtes would have been in combat. But the fact that he said he trained in order to carry his father shield make me feel like he'll at least be a better fighter than the potters and bakers that joined the Spartans.

In fact during the movie Leonidas accepted the fact that Ephialtes could use a sword. The specific reason for Ephialtes' rejection, according to Leonidas, was that he couldn't raise a shield properly. I'm saying at the very least Leonidas could have gave the hunchback a combat duty with the other Greeks instead of asking him to carry corpses and refreshments.

How would he have survived the persion arrow attacks if he couldn't raise his shield?

That aside, I agree that he could have fought better than the 'potters and bakers'. But he wanted to prove that he is worthy of the shield, he didn't want to help or to fight for a cause, but he wanted to be something that he was not and fight like a 'real' Spartan. I think that he would have thrown his shield in the sea even if Leonidas offered him to fight alongside the other Greeks but turned down his offer to fight alongside with the Spartans.

I also loved Xerxes speech . . ."cruel Leonidas demanded that you stand . . . but I am kind . . . I only ask that you kneel . . . I am kind . . ."

I liked that one, too :lol:

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Despite Sparta's culture and the movie's historical accuracy, it was fantastic to hear the words "Reason", "Freedom", and "Mystics" in one movie. On the Michael Medved Show, a Hollywood producer called in to say that market sampling has determined that this generation (the NC-17 generation) wants flawed hero's. Apparently the flaws make the hero's more realistic to the "therapy generation". I was worried that this marketing strategy would mean that Atlas Shrugged would fail in the box office. But now, with the success of 300, I think Atlas Shrugged has a great chance.

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