Gates of Fire Themes

Steven Pressfield
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Patriotism

Patriotism in the ancient world differs from the modern patriotism, which is more nationalistic. To the ancients, the city-state and surrounding region are the foci of patriotism. The Spartans are loyal to Sparta first, their allies second. When Spartans fight for Greece, the idea is not to fight for country but region and allies.

Not belonging to any city-state makes Xeones a boy without a country, that is, an identity. Yet he is free to select among open city-states, those that accept immigrants such as Athens and Sparta. He casts his lot with Sparta and develops his sense of patriotism. Rooster does not. He sides with his mother's region rather than his Spartan fathers' and becomes a vocal malcontent. Ironically, he fights valiantly enough to be offered Spartan citizenship, which he turns down. Leonidas gives Rooster his freedom and apparently, since he continues to fight for the Spartans...

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This section contains 1,189 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Gates of Fire Study Guide
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