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In 480 B.C., one year after the Battle of Thermopylae, Dilios, a hoplite in the Spartan army, begins his story by depicting the life of Leonidas I from childhood to kingship via Spartan doctrine. Dilios’s story continues and a Persian herald arrives at the gates of Sparta demanding “earth and water” as a token of submission to King Xerxes—the Spartans reply by throwing the envoy and his escort into a deep well. Leonidas then visits the Ephors, proposing a strategy to drive back the numerically superior Persians through the Hot Gates. His plan involves building a wall in order to funnel the Persians into a narrow pass between the rocks and the sea: negating the Persian advantage in numbers, and giving the Greeks’ heavy infantry the advantage over the vast waves of Persian light infantry. The Ephors consult the Oracle, who decrees that Sparta will not go to war during the Carneia. As Leonidas angrily departs, an agent from Xerxes appears, rewarding the Ephors for their covert support.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West,