Originally Posted by skalogre
For the rubbish I am talking about how so many people latched on to this being something pro-democracy and freedom when the realisty was that there was no such concept in Sparta.
Oh, I get it, you speak about the false conception some people have of the film, not about some false conception the film would be spreading about Sparta. OK, then.
I agree with the rest of your post.
I don't know how much history is emphasized in the school system in France; it was certainly something that we spent a lot of time on back home while from talking to people here in the States, it is almost an afterthought in public schools, like mathematics (please correct me if I am wrong)...
It is, or used to be, rather heavily emphasized. For example, most self-respecting politicians in France have to have written one or two serious books (or at least pretend they have), and they usually choose to write a historical book (typically a biography). Shows the cultural status of the subject, I guess.
As far as I can tell, the program taught in France is less centered on our own country than the program taught in the US. It makes at least a show of being a comprehensive World History, though it actually presents only the Western World in any detail. Another point is that, since the spread of the "Annales" historical school, it has very little emphasis on battles, chronology or great events. It focuses on long-term socio-economical movements and civilizations. There has been some backlash recently and we see more chronologies now.