Publication Details

D'Arcens, L, 2009, 'Iraq, the prequel(s): historicising military occupation and withdrawal in Kingdom of Heaven and 300', Screening the Past, 2009, 26, 1-11.


As well as being historical films, Zack Snyder’s 300 and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven both reflect on the value and the danger of historical commemoration and amnesia. The films’ opposing stances on the ‘righteous’ use of history directly link to their differing uses of historical East-West clashes (Thermopylae and the Crusades) as allegorical commentaries on current East-West tensions, specifically the Western occupation of Iraq. Examining these films together, however, illuminates the cross-historical heroic idiom they both share, and thus exposes the drawbacks of the historical periodisation that persists in current approaches to film in medieval and classical studies.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Johns Hopkins University Press