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To read about the living history group 'The Hellenic Warriors' who will appear at Drexel University on May 16, 2012 as part of the lecture - "300 Revisited: Fact and Fiction in Hollywood's Treatment of the Battle of Thermopylae", please click the thumbnail image below.
Exclusive and historically accurate images of ancient Greek warriors
"300 Revisited: Fact and Fiction in Hollywood's Depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae"
Latest titles on ancient Greek warfare
The Battle of Thermopylae has been an integral part of the curriculum of many high schools, colleges and universities around the world. In addition, the battle has been taught in military academies as an example of how a small well-trained group of resolute warriors can defend their position against a numerically superior force. Therefore, when Warner Bros.' '300'premiered in 2007, it raised awareness of the heroic story of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartansto unprecedented heights.However, the movie which was adapted from the eponymously named Frank Miller comic book series was criticized by scholars and many in the academic community due to its revisionism. Even more disconcerting was that its R-rated content became much more readily accessible to the under-17 audience due to its release on DVD and its continued airing on cable TV. This undoubtedly had an impact on impressionable young students who couldn't ascertain the differences between '300's factual and the fictional elements, of which there were many.
While the works of Herodotus have been indispensable to the study of the Greco-Persian Wars, very little was mentioned by the ‘Father of History’ with respect to the panoply worn by the ancient Greek hoplite during the landmark battles of 490-479 BC. The panoply, defined as a full array of armor, included, but was not limited to the helmet, shield, cuirass/linothorax and greaves. While it afforded maximum protection and essentially covered the warrior from head to toe, unlike the depiction of the heavily armed infantryman in the movies, what one hoplite wore usually varied by individual preference to that of his countrymen on the battlefield.
Consequently, the website's mission has been to reconcile the results of our inquiries (see below) by providing an accurate depiction of the warriors' armor and weapons for use in the classroom, combined with a more authoritative summation of the events as they happened at Thermopylae ('Hot Gates') in August 480 BC...>>>MORE
Our appearance in Baltimore, Maryland as part of the Walters Art Museum exhibit 'Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece'
If you would be interested in having us visit your school or appear at an event, pleasecontact us.
References provided upon request.
Our collaboration with Dr. Maria Hnaraki (Drexel Univ.) & Dr. Gonda Van Steen (U. of Florida) - 'Battle of Marathon, 2500 Year Anniversary'
"Let him take a wide stance and stand up strongly against them,
digging both heels in the ground, biting his lip with his teeth,
covering thighs and legs beneath, his chest and his shoulders under the hollowed-out protection of his broad shield,
while in his right hand he brandishes the powerful war spear and shakes terribly the crest high above his helm."
Tyrtaios, (Greek Τυρταῖος) (c. 7th century BC)
Educational resources for the classroom
Since there aren't any extant archaeological finds that have been recovered from the battlefield of Thermopylae other than weapons (mostly arrowheads), any mention of what armor the Greek warriors may have wore during the iconic last stand may seem speculative. Therefore, in the course of our research we have either constructed or commissioned many of these individual components based on the images of the contemporaneous pottery/vases that have survived from the era. Two invaluable resources which we have consulted and that must be acknowledged are Victor Davis Hanson's The Western Way of War and A.M. Snodgrass' Arms and Armor of the Greeks.
As a result of communication with teachers who have provided very insightful comments, we have developed a multimedia presentation which encourages a hands-on approach with students in the classroom, whether at the lower, middle or upper school level. It is this tangible characteristic which offers the student a different perspective on the warfare of the ancient Greeks which can not be extrapolated from the textbook alone. In addition, we have added materials (many of which are not reflected on the pages of the website) that have been compiled specifically to dispute much of what has been depicted in the aforementioned Warner Bros. '300' movie.
Furthermore, as a result of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), we have recently augmented our presentation by adding several of the other pivotal conflicts of the Greco-Persian and Peloponnesian Wars...>>>MORE
"We shall never know how Marathon was won, but we can be fairly certain that valor alone would not have won it, nor even perhaps the combination of courage with the somewhat rudimentary tactical skill for which the style of Greek warfare at that time gave scope. The superiority of Greek equipment must have been an important factor here and elsewhere, and at times perhaps a decisive one."
Anthony M. Snodgrass from 'Arms and Armor of the Greeks'