The movie "300", although perhaps taking great liberties with the facts, is about the historical battle of Thermopylae, a well-documented battle in which 300 Spartan warriors led by their king Leonidas held off hundreds of thousands (perhaps 2 million)of Persian soldiers under King Xerxes who was attempting to invade Greece in the year 480BC.
The only resemblance to the story of Gideon in the book of Judges is the number of troops led by the hero.
--The battle of Thermopylae took place in 480BC, while Gideon lived in the time of the Judges, approximately 1150 BC.
--Thermopylae is a known location in Greece, while Gideon's battle took place at an equally known location in Israel.
--Gideon defeated his enemy and survived to rule Israel, while Leonidas died with all his men.
--The battle at Thermopylae took place on a narrow strip of shoreline bounded on the one side by the sea and on the other by a rocky cliff, while Gideon's battle took place in a hill valley.
--Leonidas was betrayed to his death by a fellow Greek who led a group of Persians by a secret path through the mountains to come up on the rear of the Greek formation. No such event occurred in Gideon's battle.
--Gideon's victory was accomplished by deceiving the enemy into believing they were surrounded by a very large force of men, so that they panicked and ran. Theromopylae was a ferocious battle in which the Persians bravely marched against the Greeks but were drastically overmatched by a relative handful of great fighters and were slaughtered in great numbers.
--Gideon fought his battle at night in the beginning of the middle watch, and the battle was over by dawn except for mop-up operations. Thermopylae was fought in broad daylight over a period of at least 4 days with fighting stopped during the nights.
There is no basis for assuming these two actual historical events are in any way connected.
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© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.