Paul Cartledge thinks an ancient Greek city-state still has modern importance - especially when it comes to the film industry.
Cartledge, a Greek history professor at the University of Cambridge, will speak today about the depiction of Spartans in film "300." The free event will be held in Maxwell Auditorium at 4:30 p.m.
The event, called Spartans on the Silver Screen, will use as its starting point the popularity of the film "300," a 2007 adaptation of a comic book depicting the Battle of Thermopylae.
Cartledge will examine liberties taken with the historical accuracy of the film and look at the various portrayals of Spartans by Hollywood and how they might relate to current world events.
Craige Champion, Syracuse University's history department chair, said that "300" in particular came under fire when it was released because of its portrayal of the Persians as the eastern invaders who represent the opposite of everything for which the "moral and good Spartans" stand.
"The Spartans are thinly disguised Americans, in that sense," Champion said. "And the Persians are thinly disguised people from al-Qaida."
Cartledge has written approximately 20 books and 50 articles about ancient Greek history, according to the Cambridge Web site. He is also well respected in among scholars in his field, said professor Jeff Carnes, the event's organizer and Greek literature professor.
"He is probably the foremost expert on ancient Sparta," Carnes said.
The event is the first in the Moses Finley Memorial Lecture Series held this academic year. The series honors the memory of Sir Moses Finley, a '27 SU alumnus and historian. Additional events will be held as part of the series in the spring semester, but the speakers for these have not been chosen at this time, said Howard Mills, a classics professor at SU.
Carnes said the classics program at SU is a relatively small program with approximately 80 students and two professors, he and Mills.
He added that Cartledge was chosen in part to appeal to a wide range of people, since the classics program is not that large.
"We try to get people who are distinguished in their fields and will give presentations that are accessible to a non-specialist audience," Carnes said. "We have things that undergrads and interested amateurs will like."