The War Between The Persians And The Greeks Essay
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield tells the story of the war between the Persians and the Greeks, about 500 B.C. when Xerxes was the king of Persia. He conquered most of Asia and eventually attacked Greece, which at that time consisted of a large number of city states, most prominently Athens and Sparta. While Athens was the modern, progressive city of artists, philosophers and hedonists, Sparta was more of a warrior culture. Their King Leonidas and their warriors were the most fearsome of their time. The story focuses on the major battle at Thermopylae, a hot springs at a narrows in the mountains.
The Spartans and their other Greek allies are vastly outnumbered by the Persians, but they station themselves in the narrows and slaughter the waves of Persians coming at them to the point where dead bodies are piling up and eventually falling down the cliffs. At the battle of Thermopylae, a small force of Greek warriors led by King Leonidas, of Sparta, resisted the much larger Persian force, but was ultimately defeated after countless days of constant fighting. The Persians broke the Spartan phalanx after a Greek man called Ephialtes betrayed his country by telling the Persians of another pass around the mountains. In this 1998 historical novel, Pressfield frames the story nicely by having it told by the captured Greek Helot Xeones as an eyewitness and the sole Greek survivor.
Below is a passage where King Leonidas describes the Spartan notion of a king to…