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the three references Artemis Literary Sources will be helpful for information about original/historical sources. 300 is about the Battle of Thermopylae, so try searching for that phrase — battle of thermopylae — in Artemis. You'll get several kinds of info, but the most salient is probably under "Literature criticism," which means people writing academically about literature (and media). Read through the search results carefully! Several of these search results are about 300, as it turns out 
As for your question about why the army consulted the oracle regarding the war against the Persians, I recommend two things:

-Learn or review what oracles were used for. If you ever find yourself thinking, "I just need basic info about ___," search for it in Gale Virtual Reference Library, or GVRL. I call this Academic Wikipedia. 
-NOTE: In GVRL, the search results are sometimes in a weird order. Scroll down the page and look for the source that would be most useful, like Ancient Greece or Encyclopedia of Religion.
-Next, look at an actual original source, an ancient text. We mentioned that Gutenberg.org is a good place to look for old texts. 
-First step: how do I find the right source? Look at the "Library research help folder" to see how. Then, find the text in Gutenberg. (Let me know if you have trouble finding that Herodotus text in Gutenberg.)
-Spend some time reading through it, even though there are many thys andthous; try doing Ctrl+F to search for the word oracle in the sections you're reading.  Last, your professor recommended looking at movie reviews. Since 300 was a recent movie, you can just google it, looking for reviews published in newspapers or reputable sites. Rotten Tomatoes might be a good source.


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Chapter   Eight The  Campaign  o f  X e r x e s The last  three books of the  History  have  a single theme:  the  expedition of Xerxes  and its  defeat. Darius  shuffles  quickly  off the  stage. Marathon  had  angered him,  and he  planned revenge,  but first a  revolt in Egypt  and  then  his own  death interrupted  him in  mid-course.  But before he  died,  he  proclaimed  as his  heir Xerxes,  not his  eldest son, but the  child  of  Atossa,  Cyrus's  daughter, whose marriage  to  Darius lent him a  degree  of  legitimacy. Herodotus relates  a  tale—a  family legend, perhaps—that  the  exiled king  of  Sparta, Demaratus, gave Xerxes a  debating point  to  support  his  case for the  throne,  but it was apocryphal, for  Xerxes had been designated crown prince  and  viceroy of Babylon long before Demaratus came  to Persia, 1  and  what Darius did in the  year before  he  died  was to  proclaim Xerxes king, thereby nipping  in the bud any  dispute over  the  succession. Darius died  in November, 486,  and  Xerxes ruled  on  alone until  his  murder  in 465 B.C. The Mission  of  Xerxes The character  of  Xerxes had  already taken shape  in Greek literature by the  time Herodotus wrote.  He was a  feckless prince,  in  sharp contrast to his  father,  and an  archetypal Oriental despot, generous  at one moment  and  vengeful  the next, but  always unable  to recognize the limits to his  power.  Herodotus thought  his  throne name meant "warrior"  (in  fact,  it  means something  like  "hero  among rulers")  but the Xerxes  of the   History/is  more  of a  tragic king  who is  humbled  in the midst  of his  pride. 2 Herodotus tells  how  Xerxes resolved  to  invade  Greece.  At first he was reluctant,  but his  cousin Mardonius  was a  "hawk,"  and he was seconded by the  Pisistratids  from  Athens,  and the  Aleuads, whom 99
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