Zack Snyder, Frank Miller and Herodotus : three takes on the 300 Spartans

Murray, G. N. (2007)

CITATION: Murray, G. N. 2007. Zack Snyder, Frank Miller and Herodotus : three takes on the 300 Spartans. Akroterion, 52:11-35, doi:10.7445/52-0-50.

The original publication is available at


The heroic defence of the Greeks at the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, in particularly the 300 Spartans who stood to the last man against the much larger Persian force, prompted comic book writer and illustrator Frank Miller to retell this story from a purely Spartan perspective. This version was retold once again when director Zack Snyder created a filmed version of the graphic novel named 300. Despite the film’s achievements at the box office, it was attacked for being, amongst others, historically incorrect and ideologically biased. In the graphic novel Frank Miller tells the tale of the battle at Thermopylae through the eyes of a Spartan warrior who bore the responsibility of spreading their tale so that the Spartans’ sacrifice might compel other Greek city-states to stand together against the Persians. Therefore the graphic novel and especially the film are drenched with Spartan superiority and Persian inferiority. Despite the inaccuracies and ideological bias, there are a few moments in the graphic novel and film that are notably historically correct.

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