Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting. Ancient kylix, 5th century BC.
An introduction to a virtual collaboration
My good WP blogging friend Spira invited me earlier in the year to join an art collaboration to mark the 2500th anniversary of the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis which took place in 480 BC during the Greco-Persian Wars.
The collaboration will consist of sculpture (by Spira) and poetry (by me).
The battles of Thermopylae and Salamis are regarded by many historians and scholars as two vital armed conflicts which not only saved Greece and shaped the advancement of its democracy, political and social systems – but helped shape the development of Western civilisation. Both ancient and modern writers point to the two battles as an example of courage shown by a nation defending itself against a powerful invader and overwhelming odds.
DVD edition of Zack Snyder’s 300. TVTA.
In popular culture, many will be aware of the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis thanks to the 1962 film The 300 Spartans; and Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300. The novel was given an operatic and stylistic film adaptation in 2007 with Zack Snyder’s 300, and a 2014 sequel 300: Rise of an Empire.
French and Japanese movie posters for 300, and 300: Rise of an Empire. TVTA.
Leonidas at Thermopylae, by Jacques-Louis David, 1814. Image by © The Gallery Collection/Corbis
19th-century painting by John Steeple Davis, depicting combat during the battle.
In the battle of Thermopylae, the outnumbered alliance of Greek city-states led by King Leonidas of Sparta lost to the invading Persian forces led by King Xerxes I. Although a defeat, the battle is referenced as an example of resistance and courage against an overwhelming force.
The site of the battle today. Mount Kallidromon on the left, and the wide coastal plain formed by accretion of fluvial deposits over the centuries; the road to the right approximates the 480 BC shoreline.
A romantic style painting of the battle of Salamis by artist Wilhelm von Kaulbach. Image: public domain.
In the naval battle of Salamis, the outnumbered alliance of Greek city-states led by Athenian politician and general Themistocles resulted in a decisive Greek victory against the fleet of Xerxes. The victory marked a crucial turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars, leading to the abandonment of the invasion of Greek lands by Persian forces.
Monument for the Battle of Salamis, Kynosoura peninsula, Salamis Island, Greece, by sculptor Achilleas Vasileiou
Will not celebrate war – rather freedom from it. By looking back on history we have valuable learning opportunities to build bridges, communication, respect, friendship and peace. The young poet and protagonist of the poem is an idealist and advocate for peace, yet he is also a realist who will defend his land if the hand of friendship is attacked.
Created by Spira a Greek artist with a passion for reimagining found natural objects into artworks invoking ideas of nature and spirituality, and exploring the boundaries of consciousness.
I will reblog Spira’s post this weekend – when you can see the fruits of our ‘virtual collaboration’ which has crossed the waters between Greece and France to honour a moment in history when the freedom of a nation was at stake. Indeed, perhaps without those battles 2500 years ago, we may not today be in a position to exercise the pleasure and freedom of such a simple thing as artistic collaboration.
Watch this space this weekend!