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Cultural Responses to the Persian WarsAntiquity to the Third Millennium$
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Emma Bridges, Edith Hall, and P. J. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279678.001.0001

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Xerxes Goes to Hollywood

Xerxes Goes to Hollywood

(p.383) 16 Xerxes Goes to Hollywood
Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars

D. S. Levene (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Rudolf Maté's The 300 Spartans (1962) was a commercial success and has enjoyed perennial popularity. More people in the 20th-century world acquired an understanding of the Persian Wars from this film than from any other single source. This chapter draws on archival research into journalistic responses to the film in the USA at the time of its release, and discovers alternative political resonance far more in tune with the domestic concerns of the American heartland than those which have dominated the discussion: Thermopylae has always held a special place in the American imagination as the classical forerunner of the heroic deeds of 1836 when the Catholic mission- cum-fortress known as the Alamo became the ‘cradle of Texan Liberty’. Persia was identified with Mexico and Leonidas with David Crockett and the other heroes of Texas.

Keywords:   The 300 Spartans, Persian Wars, Thermopylae, The Alamo

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