December 13, 2003, 12:09 AM
The Discovery Times channel is having a special on "Spartans at the Gates of Fire" right now (11 pm Eastern).
December 13, 2003, 02:07 AM
Just got done watching - very good documentary, but noticeably absent was the "Molon Labe" story. It pretty much went down as a pitched, coordinated defense of a mountainous coastal pass up until the last day, when the Persians swarmed in from the rear, and the Spartans fought to the death.
What struck me, having not learned alot about the combatants was the similarities of the Spartans to the Gestapo. They were a constabulary force in their homelands and were in charge of what amounted to death squads to keep the slaves in line. True enough their warrior spirit was admirable and ferocious, but the manner in which their society was run was appalling.
Homosexuality was encouraged, family discouraged, men were seperated and raised as warriors and raised brutally. They brutalized their neighbor states, and were generally hated even amongst fellow Greeks, many of whom fought for the Persians at Thermopylae.
Anyway, I'm glad I watched - put to rest alot of the condensed myths I had read on the net about the battle and the story leading up to it. Fascinating.
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