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Old 03-22-2007, 03:50 PM   #16
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Sparta didn't have democracy

That was Athens...though the Spartans saved Athens early ideas of democracy by defeating an Athenian tyrant, but that was more by accident that design.

Sparta has dual hereditary kings, which were basically just the top military brass, a council of 5 beneath them carried out general governance, and then a greater council made up of men over a certain age....

Sparta's culture in general was a very mixed up affair, totalitarian and militaristic it was, but it was also probably the best city for women, in Athens women weren't allowed to be seen on the street without a male relative or husband unless they wanted to be considered a whore. The women of Sparta were well respected, and there was state education for all, men and women....the idea being that how could you bring up strong men if the mother's are not strong themselves. They could also own property and were on equal footing with men in divorce law.

Problem is Sparta did not record it's own history, that was left to the other Greek cities who did not really like them much, hence a lot is really unknown about Sparta.

On topic....the vast majority of the Persian forces weren't even Persian, they were a whole mix mash of different people's from the asiatic Saka, Mede's, ethnic Greeks from Anatolia and ethnic Indians......everything really, the Persians would have been the minority in the army it. It would have looked an odd bunch of people to the Greeks recording the history.....so it is not a specific slight on the Persians...again anyway how many people across the world know the Iranians are ethnically Persian?

The history of the whole war is sourced from a Greek perspective, which described the Persians as 'effeminate' because they wore trousers So it should always be taken with a grain of salt, however the whole Greek Persian war was barely important to the Persians themselves, it was a vanity war which went wrong.

After the Battle of Plataea when the Persians were kicked out of Greece, it barely registered within their empire, it didn't aid in their fall, the empire didn't collapse til another 100 years later, it was a mere blip on their glorious empires history, though the war was the first major clash of 'east vs west'....and certainly early ideas of democracy and fledgling idea of western civilisation would have been destroyed, that said democracy would have come about naturally again at some point...

Ahh sorry for the history lesson...its one of my favourite periods in ancient history
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:00 PM   #17
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I want to see this.
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:18 PM   #18
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Last Stand of the 300

Seven thousand Greek soldiers face the war machine of the Persian Empire in a narrow pass in Northern Greece.

/\ This is on the History Channel this month.

I enjoyed it much more than the movie.

I was surprised that many / perhaps most of the events and people in the film were in the History Channel production.

Both open up with the Spartan practice of Infanticide.

This really happened. So much for Western values.

Also, is the Spartans mind set and belief system that much different from "jihadist "?
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Old 03-22-2007, 05:37 PM   #19
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Umm a bit...they didn't believe the whole world should be under their control, they sought honour and admiration in battle but not as a means to propagate an ideology....they just trained to be the greatest soldiers in the world, that is what they sought from life...they were quite content with the land they had in the Peloponese and didn't want more...except an amount of subservience from the rest of the Greeks...

Anyway silly comparing them to the jihadists....it wasn't a religious war.....It was one empire seeking dominance againts a bunch of city-states that got quite lucky in the end....

Athenians saw the beginning of 'Western values' not Spartans so I don't know why you bring it up...most Greeks then considered the Spartans pretty barbaric, of course the infanticide was wrong, but should anything like that overshadow everything a civilisation has achieved in the past? As for the helots, a lot of civilisations have been built on slavery of one kind, western and eastern....Cyrus the Great made his sons marry their sister's to keep their bloodline pure........values back then really can't be compared to modern values now....
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:39 AM   #20
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Originally posted by LJT
Umm a bit...they didn't believe the whole world should be under their control, they sought honour and admiration in battle but not as a means to propagate an ideology....they just trained to be the greatest soldiers in the world, that is what they sought from life...they were quite content with the land they had in the Peloponese and didn't want more...except an amount of subservience from the rest of the Greeks...

Anyway silly comparing them to the jihadists....it wasn't a religious war.....It was one empire seeking dominance againts a bunch of city-states that got quite lucky in the end....

Athenians saw the beginning of 'Western values' not Spartans so I don't know why you bring it up...most Greeks then considered the Spartans pretty barbaric, of course the infanticide was wrong, but should anything like that overshadow everything a civilisation has achieved in the past? As for the helots, a lot of civilisations have been built on slavery of one kind, western and eastern....Cyrus the Great made his sons marry their sister's to keep their bloodline pure........values back then really can't be compared to modern values now....
I think you need to give Sparta a little more credit. It definitely had a form of democracy - some say it predates the Athenians' version.

Was Sparta brutal? Yes. Did they have a king (or kings)? Yes. But they also had a representative government and a constitution.
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:56 AM   #21
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So Xerxes Was Gay - What's the Big Deal?

I'm just curious - in the movie "300" Xerxes was sort of...feminine looking. While the movie didn't say he was a homosexual, many Iranian protesters of the movie are outraged that the movie made Xerxes out to be gay.

1) Why would they think the movie portrayed Xerxes as gay just because he wore eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner, and jewels?

2) Why should they be outraged if he was gay? Shouldn't a gay man be permitted to rule an empire?

I was wondering if the gay community was upset with the Iranian outrage.
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Old 03-23-2007, 02:00 AM   #22
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Re: So Xerxes Was Gay - What's the Big Deal?

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Originally posted by AEON

2) Why should they be outraged if he was gay? Shouldn't a gay man be permitted to rule an empire?

Sure, why not?

We let the mentally retarded rule here.
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Old 03-23-2007, 02:05 AM   #23
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They might be upset
because as the leader of their Army-

The enlisted men might have to shower with him.

Surely, you can relate.
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:17 AM   #24
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Originally posted by AEON


I think you need to give Sparta a little more credit. It definitely had a form of democracy - some say it predates the Athenians' version.

Was Sparta brutal? Yes. Did they have a king (or kings)? Yes. But they also had a representative government and a constitution.
The 2 Kings and the Ephors, who made the real decisions....true the ephors were elected for a year at a time to prevent them getting any real power, and then there was the gerousia, 28 elders over the age of 65, who made up policy which they would put to the vote of the people or Damos as it was then....difference is the Athenians specifically elected their actual leaders militarily and lawmakers, the Spartans could never get rid of the kings or the Gerousia...Athenians could specifically vote for anyone to be removed from power and banished (that led to its own problems)

And no form of early government back then could ever be called representative.

I am not being unduly harsh on the Spartans, in fact they are probably my favourite Greeks, they are a big contradiction as some parts of their society seem so at odds with the other parts. There is much to admire such as state education for all and their treatment of women which was much better than anywhere else I can think of at that time.
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:28 AM   #25
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Trying to figure out if the question was intended seriously...

Well, Irvine already summed up what he'd heard about it, "gym bears vs. disco queens," which sounds more like bemusement than upset to me and pretty much fits with what I've read from gay reviewers (who like most reviewers, tended to find the film way too bombastic and heavy-handed in its use of characterization and imagery to be taken seriously). But yes, portraying the Bad Guys as decadent, debauched perverts of an, erm, darker skin color is a time-honored tactic for pounding it into the presumably stupid and ill-informed audience's heads that Yup, these are definitely the Bad Guys. Frank Miller's graphic novel on which the film is based uses the same schtick.

Now as far as the Iranian reaction to the film, my impression is that it's much more generalized than that, and a broader question of perceiving the Persians on the whole being portrayed as barbaric and bloodthirsty savages. The ridiculous and totally historically unsupported appearance of Xerxes et al. is just insult to injury.

Haven't seen the film and don't plan to, but what I've seen of the snippets of it available on its official site and elsewhere online struck me as stuff that Herodotus would've rolled around howling at the surreality of.
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:36 AM   #26
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It's a film of a graphic novel inspired by a movie, not expecting any accuracy.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:01 AM   #27
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Re: So Xerxes Was Gay - What's the Big Deal?

Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
I'm just curious - in the movie "300" Xerxes was sort of...feminine looking. While the movie didn't say he was a homosexual, many Iranian protesters of the movie are outraged that the movie made Xerxes out to be gay.

1) Why would they think the movie portrayed Xerxes as gay just because he wore eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner, and jewels?

2) Why should they be outraged if he was gay? Shouldn't a gay man be permitted to rule an empire?

I was wondering if the gay community was upset with the Iranian outrage.
Just a bit of background, but I have a pretty decent background in film studies and criticism, and part of my studies included representations of gays in film. It's long been noted that "supervillains" are often made to be effeminate and have traits that are implied to be gay. Many of the supervillains in James Bond films fall under this category, for instance.

As such, Xerxes, in this film, fits this old archetype all too well. As usual, the heroes of the film (Spartans) are portrayed as the ideal of masculinity, while the villains of the film (Persians) are portrayed as a wishy-washy freak show.

Iranians aren't dumb. One of the lasting legacies of the Shah is their relatively quality educational system, so, chances are, Iranian film studies would have touched on this issue just as much as Western film studies would have.

So, given this, had the Iranians made a film for worldwide distribution that portrayed themselves as the ideals of heroic masculinity, while portraying the American military as an effeminate, wishy-washy freak show, do you earnestly believe that the American right wouldn't get angry and get all up in arms about it? Part of what one has to understand is that the Iran holds up the Persian Empire as an ideal, much as the U.S. holds up the Revolutionary War as an ideal. It would be somewhat like if France made a film that portrayed themselves as the true hero of the war, while portraying Americans as a bunch of stupid and unorganized people. In other words, it's an affront to patriotism, more or less.

That's not to say that I agree with Iran's decision to protest to the UN. That just seems like an overreaction. On the other hand, Iran might just be looking for attention that deflects from their current nuclear crisis.

Politics are quite funny, really.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:14 AM   #28
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Originally posted by AEON
I think you need to give Sparta a little more credit. It definitely had a form of democracy - some say it predates the Athenians' version.

Was Sparta brutal? Yes. Did they have a king (or kings)? Yes. But they also had a representative government and a constitution.
Ultimately, I think we give Sparta far too much credit, owing much to Romanticism than anything else. It was just one of countless tribal cultures/city-states that have faded in history, and the only reason we even care about them today is because of what other Greeks wrote about them. And since Romanticism, in particular, loves everything Greek and Roman, that's why anyone really cares about them today, in the larger scheme of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparta

Quote:
Little is known of the internal development on Sparta. Many Greeks believed there had been none, and that "the stability of the Spartan constitution" had lasted unchanged from the days of Lycurgus. Because most Spartan laws were passed down orally and committed to memory, little is known about Spartan society. Spartan society was considered primitive by ancient Greek standards. Settlements were scattered and mirrored the dwellings used during Greece's 'Dark Age' (1150–700 BC) which means that they were mostly thatched houses. Stone construction was reserved for public works such as temples, government halls, and gymnasiums. What we do know of Spartan society comes from historians of that time. Sparta's was a mixed constitutional system: it was comprised of elements of both monarchical, oligarchical, and democratic systems. The Spartan government was by many standards considered totalitarian. Laws regulated everything from childbirth to beards and the length of males' hair.

The Spartans had no historical records, literature, or written laws, which were, according to tradition, expressly prohibited by an ordinance of Lycurgus (excluding, of course, the 'Great Rhetra,' supposedly given by Lycurgus himself). The Doric state of Sparta, copying the Doric Cretans, developed a mixed governmental state. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontids families, equal in authority, so that one could not act against the veto of his colleague, though the Agiad king received greater honour in virtue of the seniority of his family (Herod. vi. 5). The origins of the powers exercised by the assembly of the citizens, or apella, are virtually unknown, due to the paucity of historical documentation.
That's not to say that I don't find the Spartans to be interesting, from a historical POV. I just think they're overrated.
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Old 03-23-2007, 10:37 AM   #29
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Re: So Xerxes Was Gay - What's the Big Deal?

Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
I'm just curious - in the movie "300" Xerxes was sort of...feminine looking. While the movie didn't say he was a homosexual, many Iranian protesters of the movie are outraged that the movie made Xerxes out to be gay.

1) Why would they think the movie portrayed Xerxes as gay just because he wore eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner, and jewels?

2) Why should they be outraged if he was gay? Shouldn't a gay man be permitted to rule an empire?

I was wondering if the gay community was upset with the Iranian outrage.

i'll come back to this when i've seen the movie, but Yolland and Ormus/Melon have pretty much answered this. i will say that, yes, it's more bemusement than anything when i talk about how "gay" the movie is. one thing we gays like to do is take these action movies -- like this one, like "Gladiator," like "Top Gun" -- and point out how often explicitly homoerotic they are and thus ruffle the feathers of macho men who just might, deep down, be uncomfortably turned on by all those rippling abs and flexed biceps and the fact that, you, Iceman, can be my wingman any time. (and Maverick loved Goose way, way more than Kelly McGillis).

also, there's a deliberate inclusion of homoerotic imagery in many of these films precisely to lure the generally well-off gay audience. so it doesn't make the film "gay" in the way that, say, "brokeback mountain" or "the birdcage" are gay, and it's not gay in the way that there are some films meant for a gay audience -- like "jeffrey" or "broken hearts club," and many of which are really stupid -- but it does have homoerotic elements that are completely obvious to a gay viewer, or anyone versed in Queer Studies, or, really, anyone who's a fairly astute reader of any cultural texts, movies or otherwise.

now, as for you questions:

1. coding of people as "gay," when you're dealing with a mainstream film that isn't trying to be subtle, usually relies on the utilization of stereotypes -- that gay men are effeminate, women trapped in men's bodies. to an unsophistocated viewer (not yourself, since you see more nuance here), a somewhat effeminate man who wears jewelry is at the very least "queer," if not outright gay. in reality, we all know that there are very butch gay men and very effeminate straight men; but in the simplified language of an action film, what is presented as "gay" is meant to be "gay."

2. perhaps the Iranians (who execute gay teenagers) are outraged, but "the gays" arent outraged at a gay ruler or gay leader -- we gays love to point out Alexander the Great -- it's the presentation of overtly gay stereotypes as indicative of "evil" that might bother some people. and as some articles have pointed out, it's not just the presentation of feminity-in-men as evil that's troublesome. it's the fact that the Persians are darker, some are deformed, etc. basically, if you deviate from the buffed, waxed, and white-white-whiteness of the Spartans, you're a bad guy in the visual language of the film.

but, hey, i haven't seen it yet, so i'll let you know.

and i'm not going to get upset about this, i don't think. it's not a film that's asking to be taken seriously, and while we might find it troubling that so many people are paying so much money to see what is (by all acounts) a very violent movie about a bunch of beautiful white guys killing hoardes of darkies, i think that might be taking the movie more seriously than it deserves.
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Old 03-23-2007, 10:47 AM   #30
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also, there's a deliberate inclusion of homoerotic imagery in many of these films precisely to lure the generally well-off gay audience.
I don't care how much the gay mafie says that the pillars in the colosseum are phallic, I won't believe it.
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