-- Dr. Michael Scott, Host
The First War for the West (TFWFTW) is an eight part video series on the Greco-Persian Wars of 2,500 years ago; Their origins, the courses of the wars and the conclusions and aftermath. The Greco-Persian Wars raged for 49 years and their history is complex, interesting and, until now, untold.
As part of our process in producing TFWFTW we interviewed 12 historians and academics, performed our own research, employed over 400 battle extras and visited the main sites in Greece including Athens, Sparta, Thermopylae (Leonidas and the 300 Spartans), Marathon (Battle of Marathon), and Salamis (Battle of Salamis). TFWFTW contains the most comprehensive, complex and accurate re-enactments of ancient battles ever filmed without actually killing anyone!
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TFWFTW started life as a proposed drama, following as accurately as possible those major events that have largely shaped the world today. Every story needs a hero and the one that was around for most of the war was Kimon, son of Miltiades, research quickly told us Kimon was a first class candidate to be our hero. Although hardly mentioned by Herodotus, Kimon’s actions have come from other sources and bear special mention. He had served Athens well during the Persian Wars and according to the noted Roman historian, Plutarch, "He was as daring as Miltiades and not inferior to Themistocles in judgement, and was incomparably more just and honest than either of them. Fully their equal in all military virtues, in the duties of an ordinary citizen at home, he was immeasurably their superior”. In fact Kimon lead the Greek forces at Eurymedon later in the war, and his victory there on one day was equal in scope to the Greek victories at Marathon and Salamis, put together. History does not seem to have given him the credit he was due.
TFWFTW gradually morphed into a docu-drama, particularly when research for the script uncovered some anomalies. When writing a drama you need to motivate the characters, their actions need to be plausible and logical or rational. There were several instances where the generally accepted chain of events (based mostly on Herodotus) did not seem plausible, rational or logical. Especially when you use the modern tools available (like satellite imagery) and go and visit the sites of importance, several events needed a more detailed analysis. Two things that were given particular scrutiny were,
1) the lead up to Marathon and the day of the battle itself,
2) Thermopylae, the events there, the actions of Leonidas on Day 3 when the pass fell.
A lot of our research focused on these two events as there are conflicting views, even among our researchers, as to what happened there. We constantly asked ourselves why, and is that plausible?
(This is the first in a series of blogs by director and producer Stanislaw Karpinski)
- Stanislaw Karpinski, Director
Watch the free 22-minute "Making of" special program featuring Stanislaw Karpinski.