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Cyrus the Great

September 29, 2010
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As an Iranian I was very offended by the movie “300(and the comic by Frank Miller, in my opinion a complete racist in his work). I have always been offended by the insistence of  the West and, by effect the World to take Herodotus history as fact.

Now anyone who has ever read this blog will know that I am by no means patriotic. I have never held with love of nation, fatherland or any of that way of thinking. Nonetheless I am an Iranian. I am also deeply interested in history. It is my heartfelt belief that in misrepresenting and downright lying about history, in propagating falsehoods we do more damage to international relations than perhaps almost any other form of political propaganda. Anyway the history of nations is often used to back up jingoism and lies for the purposes of political propaganda in the now.

The news is constantly filled with historical inaccuracies and falsehoods. We are told barefaced lies on a daily basis about the history of events, whether they be recent history or old.

Below is a very interesting article by an Iranian film maker trying to tell the history of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, through an as yet unfinished film to try and balance the books a little.

The Truth Behind 300 the movie

I have written to the author for his permission to post his very interesting article here. If and when I have his permission I shall post it in full here.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2010 1:32 pm

    I think the graphic novels aren’t necessarily supposed to be representing history. It’s pretty obvious based on the mythical monsters employed by the “Persians” that the story exploits a historical event, taking fact while adding huge doses of fiction in order to create a working story. If Frank Miller intended to create a historical account of the Battle of Thermopylae he would have created a history text. The same can be said about Zach Snyder and creating a documentary.

    Essentially what we have here is a Persian invasion (the second into Greece), a well trained and equipped group from the city-state of Sparta, and a battle that should have been an instant victory for Persia (due to numbers) that resulted in a lengthy three day battle.

    The basics of the story are pretty historically accurate when you take out the cinematic exaggerations. People just enjoy good underdog stories and The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the greatest underdog stories ever.

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  2. Vishy Moghan permalink
    September 29, 2010 1:53 pm

    But a story that has been, according to historians, only propagated in the last 200 years or less.

    Also, of course the comic writer has no obligation to tell history per se.

    The point is that as an avid comic reader I have always been pissed at Frank Miller for his incredibly racist work. You look at Dark Knight! When he wants to show bad, degenerate people he makes them black or somehow “foreign” looking. When, for example Batman wants to disguise himself in the supermarket to get Bruno, he dresses as an old alcoholic black woman who speaks like the stereotypical slave of the old movies. He has Batman say things like “Sebbin-lebbinn” for Seven Eleven and so forth.

    In ‘300’ to show how nasty and degenerate the Persians were he portrays them as swarthy drag queens with ample hints that they were all gay, in the process pulling up so many offensive stereotypes one loses count.

    As to your comment about the historical accuracy of the numbers at Thermopylae, not to mention the entire legend that has been built around that event, there are no serious historical records to show them to be accurate at all. In fact almost any serious historical research I’ve read negates the standard legend.

    It is also a fact that historically Persia was not only not regarded as a degenerate dictatorship, but as a beacon of political sanity. The tablet that records Cyrus the Great’s speech in Babylon is internationally recognised as the first written statement of human rights on record. Which is why a replica of it is permanently displayed at the HQ of UN.

    I see from your blog that you cal for sanity. Well consider this my little plea for the same thing. Until we admit to our true history and properly disseminate truthful and unbiased data we can not hope for a sane political atmosphere.

    Thanks for your comment

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  3. September 29, 2010 2:53 pm

    History is all about perspective as there are very few instances of “Good vs Evil” in history. Action movies, well movies in general, pander to the common man, a person of low intellect who needs blatant signs of who the protagonist is supposed to be and why the antagonist is someone the viewer is supposed to dislike.

    When you consider any empire throughout history (United States, England, Spain, Persian, Byzantine, Rome, Mongol, China, etc) all of them participate in some sort of “questionable” behavior from time to time. But I’m somewhat digressing from my point.

    Nobody (at least in the Western world) seriously considers the movie 300 as a form of history or propaganda. You bring up some good points as to how the novel depicted the Persians unfairly though.

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  4. Vishy Moghan permalink
    September 29, 2010 3:09 pm

    Well as I’ve said repeatedly in this blog, I stand firmly and squarely against imperialism in any form. I am a devout agnostic when it comes to questions of good and evil, though one can not deny that much evil has been and is continuously being done.

    But I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with your comment about people not taking the movies seriously. I live in Athens and was amazed by the almost frenzied reception of the movie 300. People here seemed to take it as a final recognition of their illustrious history and the firmly held belief here that EVERYTHING good that has ever come from the human race came from Greece.

    I remember getting a cold shiver down my back when President Reagan and General Alexander Haig lauded the movie “Red Dawn” as a realistic and plausible depiction of how the Evil Empire of the Soviets would behave and how the Americans would face up to them at ground level.

    The examples of movies, or even a single movie changing mass opinion on political issues pepper the history of popular cinema. I think one would be sorely remiss to regard movies as simple entertainment. I wrote my thesis on the influences of film during the Great Depression on American society. And the evidence was abundant at how fundamental in creating public opinion movies can be.

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