Mandi Bierly
May 28, 2010 AT 04:14 PM EDT

In honor of The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time hitting theaters (and star Jake Gyllenhaal the gym), Vulture presents The Fug Girls’ History of the Sword-and-Sandal Ab, from 1914’s Cabiria through today. It’s an informative and enjoyable read examining what each actor’s physique says about his role and, more interestingly, Hollywood’s motive at the time it was filmed. After clicking through the gallery twice — one needs to be thorough — I started wondering whose abs are remembered the most fondly: Brad Pitt’s in Troy (“Consider it the movie that turned a washboard into a status symbol: If Helen of Troy’s was the face that launched a thousand ships, these are the abs that launched a thousand covers of Men’s Health. It’s like a six-squared-pack, and the abs that all other gladiator abs wish they could be”) or Gerard Butler’s in 300 (“It’s eye candy drizzled in blood and guts, elevating sword-and-sandal flicks to the faceless warrior porn they were meant to be”)? Poll!

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Vaguely related:

Poll: Most anticipated abs of summer 2010?

Prince of Persia: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s review

Prince of Persia: How are we feeling about Jake’s hair?

Poll: Who looks the least Persian?

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