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[LH] Xerxes 2016-10-05

Xerxes as protrayed here is the antagonist of Frank Miller's 1998 graphic novel and its popular 2007 film adaptation 300, a fantastical retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. The novel which inspired the film was itself inspired by the 1962 Hollywood film The 300 Spartans, which was itself inspired by Herodotus' Histories, which have something of a reputation for being Greek propaganda. Thus, this Xerxes has little to do with the historical Xerxes. He dresses more like an Indian belly dancer than a Persian king.

The film was a huge international hit, though it had a great deal of criticism. Several American critics took offense to its overt masculinity and praise of war, which some interpreted as a neocon fantasy. Other critics acknowledged such overtones, but thought the movie was far too over-the-top to interpret it as a legitimate political statement. But most telling was the reaction from Iran. Several state officials in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet denounced the film as cultural warfare, perverting the ideals of a very proud chapter in Persian history.

But damn did it look cool.
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