Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is SPARTA!

Yes, I borrowed that line from the graphic novel/movie, 300, the way-over-the-top and fanciful depiction of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, Greece, in 480BC. Marion Military Institute has always prided itself on providing a Spartan-like existence based upon the Greek ideal that an active mind functions best in a sound body, so I thought you might like to travel to the source via a wonderful website on the Internet.

This famous bronze of a Spartan warrior is in the J. P. Morgan Collection at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT. (Credit: Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, and the photographer, Joseph Szaszfai)

As a historian, I have long been fascinated by the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, chief rival to Athens. No, I’ve never been to Greece including Sparta and Thermopylae, but it’s high on my future travel list.

I was thrilled to come upon a wonderful website for everything Sparta and Thermopylae at http://www.300spartanwarriors.com/. Created and maintained by John Trikeriotis, it is a splendid tour-de-force from a knowledgeable Spartan buff. John and I have recently become friends, and I look forward to further updates on his website.

Modern Sparta, on the River Eurotas, surrounds the few ancient ruins and is enclosed by the Taygetos range and Mt. Parnon on the Peloponnese. (Credit: www.transferingreece.com/uploads/sparta.jpg)

John is in contact with all the major scholars on Spartan history. They have formed what is known as the “Leonidas Expeditions” which make periodic research trips to Sparta and Thermopylae to investigate and explore new leads and discoveries at the sites.

A painting by Louis S. Glanzman in National Geographic’s Greece and Rome depicting Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae. (Credit: National Geographic Society and the artist, Louis S. Glanzman)

Thermopylae today with the modern highway built on the ancient shoreline of the Gulf of Malia. (Credit: lis566webquest.wordpress.com/.../lis56webquest/)

Again, a great site if you have an interest in ancient Sparta and the Battle of Thermopylae where King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans – supported by other allied troops – died to the last man protecting this crucial pass and buying time for the Greeks to mobilize against Xerxes and the Persians.