300, Rise of an Empire; History or Propaganda?

300, Rise of an Empire; History or Propaganda?

The new Hollywood blockbuster “300:Rise of an Empire”, despite a tremendous backlash over historical inaccuracies and blatant racism portrayed in the first “300” movie, maintains the tradition. Within the first few minutes of the film, we learn that Darius the Great, Emperor of Persia invaded the western Greek lands because he is annoyed at their “freedom”. Themistocles shoots the Persian Darius who is watching the battle from a ship.

We have barely begun the plot of this Hollywood blockbuster, and the historical inaccuracies are astounding. First of all, Darius was not killed by Themistocles’ arrow. In fact, he wasn’t at the battle of Marathon at all. He really died four years later due to natural causes. Even assuming Darius WAS at the battle of Marathon (which he was not), and DID get shot by an arrow (which he did not), he is portrayed to have been able to return to Persepolis after the battle; a 4000 kilometer journey that would have taken months. Of course, when you are the father of a 7-foot-tall, steroid-abusing, black, “god-king” (Xerxes) with an army of 10-ton rhinos, this may not be totally unimaginable. For the human, however…..

Second of all, the battle of Marathon was not about “freedom”. It was, and always has been, about control over resources and markets. At the time of Marathon, the Greek nations controlled vast parts of the Mediterranean. They regulated the seas and maintained a trade monopoly over coastal Mediterranean regions. The growing Persian Empire must have wanted a piece of the pie and they wanted to expand their Empire and its natural resources. And this same materialistic struggle between dictators is what is going on to this very day. If the Greco-Persian wars were really about “freedom” or “independence”, our beloved Greek hero Themistocles would not have become a traitor later in his life and joined the Persian armies to defeat Greece.

Of interest to the observant reader is that many of the people who were pivotal in this Hollywood blockbuster are of Jewish or Israeli origin (Noam Murro anyone?). The interesting part is the Darius the Great was considered a saviour of the Jewish people and it was by his decree, support, and protection that the reconstruction for the Temple of Jerusalem was continued. So why would an Israeli not only portray such an important historical protector of the Jewish people in a negative light , but dedicate two movies to the demonification of such a figure?

Some would argue that he is trying to connect a bridge between the past and the present. To portray all the muscular, masculine and entirely white army of the Greeks as “good” and “freedom-loving” and the multicultural Asiatic/African/Middle-eastern armies of  Persia as “evil” and “tyrannical”. To modify an historical event, skew it, and litter it with modern catchwords/propaganda of the west today. To implant the seed of mistrust and hatred against the Persians (read as “Iranian”) so that the same resource-race of history can once again take place. If we overlook the blatant racism, the historical inaccuracies and the demonization of Persians, we see only an obvious Propaganda that Herr Goebbels would be proud of.

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