What to talk about this person?Among the 13, Leonidas was the one that touched me the most and marked and inspired me.This is that story of a person that every Western civilization has to study and know about that person's life in particular.if it weren't for him, we wouldn't exist at the moment we are in.There would be no Italian, there would be no American, there would be no French and not every Western civilization we know.
Leonidas knew that this war would be a suicidal battle,but he went anyway,as a real man, as a king, not only protecting his family and nation, but protecting all of greece. even though he was killed, his death raised Greek morale that led to victory against the Persians.Greek men at that time were inspired by him to be a great man like him.
Leonidas did not want money, nor music, nor monuments, nor poems of war or value.His wish was simple: ´´remember us``.This sentence is for all 13 champions, who will fight in this arena against the proud gods,no matter how bad the world is, the people, the badness,there is something in this world that is worth fighting for, and that all their names and their history are known and remembered by all who are reading the manga.These 13 men can serve as inspiration and example in that time 2020,many people think that 2020 has changed the world, in fact this 2020 shows that the world has always been the same as it was.many people think that 2020 has changed the world, in fact this 2020 shows that the world has always been the same as it was, a place full of challenges for man to face.His grandparents lived through the great war, his parents during the cold war.it's just your turn to live your bad day.be strong and be of good cheer.do not be cowed or amazed.remain unwavering.the grape is crushed to make wine.diamond is formed under pressure from the earth.the olive is pressed to make oil.the seed grows in darkness.if you are pressed, crushed and in darkness. know that this is a sign of maturity and growth.what would be the meaning of life if only living in comfort?
Here is the story of Leonidas summarized:
Leonidas I Born:
540 BC Nationality:
Greek Died At Age:
60 Born In:
Sparta, Greece Famous As:
King Of Ancient Sparta Family: Spouse/Ex-:
Gorgo, Queen Of Sparta Father:
Anaxandridas II Siblings:
Cleombrotus, Cleomenes I, Dorieus Children:
Pleistarchus Died On:
August 11, 480 BC Place Of Death:
Leonidas I of the Agiad dynasty was one of the two kings of the ancient Sparta during the years immediately leading up to the ‘Second Persian War’. The 17th ruler of his line, he was the commander of the 7000 allied Greek forces (modern estimates) against the invading Persian army of 300,000 (modern estimates) at the ‘Battle of Thermopylae’. While the future kings of Sparta were generally exempt from the agoge, the rigorous education and martial training program that all male citizens of the city were subjected to, Leonidas underwent it just the same, not being the initial successor to his father’s throne. He became the co-king of Sparta at around the age of fifty. Nine years into his reign, Greece was attacked by the Persian emperor Xerxes I as a delayed response to the defeat in the ‘First Persian War’ in 490 BC. A military alliance known as the ‘Corinthian League’ was forged under the Spartan leadership among the warring city-states and it was decided that Sparta would lead the defence of the narrow pass of Thermopylae that linked Persia-controlled Thessaly to the central Greece. In the ensuing three-day battle, every soldier of the Greek army except for the 400 Thebans who surrendered to King Xerxes was killed. Leonidas and his martyred warriors have become the symbol of patriotism and sacrifice since then and their battle tactics the matters of discourse in military schools. Childhood & Early Life
- If ‘The Histories’ by Herodotus is to be believed, Leonidas, born in 540 BC, was the middle son of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta and his first wife, who was also his niece.
- King Anaxandridas II and his first wife did not have any children for many years. Going against the counsel of the ‘ephors’, the council of five annually elected leaders of the Spartan constitution, to take a second wife and set aside the first, Anaxandridas asserted that his wife was blameless. He was eventually placated by being allowed to marry a second time without annulling the previous marriage.
- Cleomenes was Anaxandridas’ first born son through his second wife. But a year later, his first wife too bore him a son, Dorieus, and would go on to give birth to two more, Leonidas and Cleombrotus.
- Being third in the succession line, Leonidas had to go through the agoge to earn full citizenship (homoios). The Spartans were a militaristic society; they considered giving life for the state as a virtue and the duty of every individual. His training to become a hoplite warrior must have garnered respect of his fellow countrymen.
- For the Greeks, warfare was the supreme statement of a citizen. It is what made a man and gave him the right to be a part of his city. Every Greek, in every city state was obliged to military service from the age of twenty until the age of forty-five. In order to prepare for that life, boys were put into a military training camp, known as the Agoge, from the age of seven.
There was only exception to this compulsory military training – the first-born son of the king of each city state. His upbringing would be focused on grooming him for the power that he would inherit on his father’s death. Leonidas, however, was the third son of Anaxandrides. His older half-brother, Cleomenes I was first in line to be the next king of Sparta. As a result, Leonidas spent his formative years learning how to become a Spartan warrior.
Between the age of seven and twelve, Leonidas underwent a training regimen, along with a group of other boys, under the supervision of a warden who was called the paidonomos, which literally translates to ‘herder of boys.’ This was a highly respected Spartan, drawn from the highest social class. His authority allowed him to punish any who misbehaved, and to this end he was accompanied by a whip wielding squad of youths who were ready to eagerly mete out his punishments.
As the system was designed to produce effective warriors, great emphasis was placed on a rough and tumble lifestyle. The boys were divided into bands and they chose as their leader the best fighter. Meanwhile the paidonomos would keep a close eye on their antics, meting out punishment to any who got out of line.
Spartan boys in the Agoge were not permitted to wear shoes. It was believed that leaping, jumping and running were accomplished more swiftly barefoot. The boys were also allowed just one cloak throughout the year. This was designed to force them to grow accustomed to sweltering summers and freezing winters, making do with what little covering they had.
Food for the boys was strictly rationed, on the belief that a lean, hungry man fights far more effectively than a fat, satiated one. Also, being able to go a long time without food would make for a better prepared warrior. Theft was severely punished – unless it involved the stealing of food. The logic behind this was that by learning to pilfer food the boys would be practicing the skills of foraging that would be needed when on military campaign.
As well as their training to become warriors, the boys were also taught to read and write. In fact, the Spartans gained a reputation as men of learning, who loved music, poetry and dance.
The age of twelve was a watershed year in the life of a young Spartan. He was now placed in a band of about a dozen of his peers, to live under the headship of one drawn from his ranks, the eiren, or prefect. The one chosen was the smartest, the most battle ready and cunning. Though there is no record that Leonidas was put in this position, it is quite likely that he, being the son of the king and given the future battle prowess that he displayed, did indeed serve as an eiren during his teen years.
The other boys had to give their absolute obedience to the eiren. They were to act as his servants, collecting firewood and fetching vegetables using their thieving skills.
Also, at the age of twelve, Spartan boys were taken under the wing of an erastes, or ‘admirer’, to receive a form of mentoring. Whereas in other Grecian city states this relationship was a sexual one, this was not the case in Sparta. Desire for the body rather than the soul of a boy was considered to be the height of shame.
At the age of eighteen, the Spartan youth became a melleiren, a title which means ‘nearly an eiren’. His military training was now stepped up as he came close to entering military service.
And so, by the age of twenty, Spartan society had molded Leonidas into an agile, battle-ready military machine, full of self-confidence, discipline and a killer instinct. He was ready to make his mark on the field of battle.
Leonidas had trained to be a hoplite warrior. Hoplites were experts in using the short iron sword and round shield and spear. They fought in tight phalanx formation in which they would approach the enemy with shield overheads to form a tortoise-shell like defence to the oncoming barrage of arrows.
Just as Leonidas was about to enter military service, news reached him that his father, the King, had died. His brother, Cleomenes I now inherited the throne. So, while one brother took on the mantle of supreme rulership over the city-sate, the other inherited the role that he had given his entire life to – that of a Spartan warrior.
The Spartans army was divided into age groups, spanning ten years. Within these divisions, the basic grouping of men was into mess groups of about fifteen men. It was with these men that Leonidas lived during his twenties. It was also around this time that Leonidas married the daughter of his half-brother Cleomones. She was named Gorgo and was by all accounts a beautiful and politically astute woman. After a few years, they had a son, who they named Cleombrotus.
Accession & Reign
- In 519 BC, Cleomenes was made king. Dorieus, believing himself to be more worthy, could not accept living under Cleomenes’ reign and went to North Africa to establish a colony there. It is unknown whether Leonidas’ supported either of his brothers’ claims or not.
- Leonidas married Cleomenes’ daughter Gorgo, following the tradition of avunculate marriages like his parents before him. By the time of the ‘Battle of Sepeia’ against Argos in 494 BC, he had already been named Cleomenes’ heir as the latter didn’t have a male issue.
By 490 BCE things were not going well for Leonidas’ older half-brother, Cleomones. Over the last three years, Grecian city states had, one by one, succumbed to the invading Persians. The capitulation of these powers was a source of outrage to the proud Spartan king and, in 491, he attempted to overthrow a neighbouring king who was about to concede to the Persians. But when their king’s plans to oust a duly appointed fellow king was revealed, the people of Sparta were not happy and Cleomones was forced to flee the city. He then set about gathering a formidable army in the surrounding territories. Wisely, the Spartans allowed him to return but, believing that their king had gone insane, had him thrown into chains. Apparently, this order was carried out on the directions of Leonidas.
Cleomones was placed under the guard of the Helot slave class. The imprisoned king managed to persuade one of his captors to lend him his dagger. With that he apparently committed an appalling sort of hari-kari, slicing himself into pieces from his feet upward.
When Cleomones had taken the throne thirty years previously, his half-brother Dorieus, who was older than Leonidas, was incensed that the throne had passed him by. Finding it impossible to remain in Sparta, he attempted to establish a colony in Africa. When this failed, he went to Sicily where he met an untimely death. So, it was that, on the death of Cleomones in 490, Leonidas was next in line for the throne.
- After the violent and mysterious death of his half-brother, Leonidas ascended to the Agiad throne in 490 BC. Sparta historically was ruled by two families, the Agiads and Eurypontids, who believed they had descended from the twins Eurysthenes and Procles, respectively, the great-great-great grandsons of the mythical hero Heracles. During Leonidas’ reign, the Eurypontid king of Sparta was Leotychidas.
- His reign did not go unquestioned. Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch wrote about one such incident. When told that he was not better than everyone else save from being the king, Leonidas had promptly replied, “But were I not better than you, I should not be king.” This answer was not a boisterous statement about his birthright but an assertion that, having endured the training of agoge, he was more than qualified to rule Sparta.
- Leonidas’ Sparta, alongside Athens, was the largest and most powerful city-state in the classical Greece. While there were a lot of in-fighting among the city-states, they always managed to produce a united front to an invading force.
- After Athens had provided support to the Ionian rebels in their fight against the Persian rule, Darius I, the emperor of Persia attacked Athens, but was turned back by a combined Greek force in 490 BC at the ‘Battle of Marathon’. This came to be known as the ‘First Persian War’. In spring 480 BC, Darius’ son, Xerxes launched the second invasion to subjugate entire Greece. Leonidas was chosen to lead the allied Greek resistance.
- When the request to join the ‘Corinthian League’ arrived at Sparta, the Oracle at Delphi was consulted. The Oracle prophesied that either Sparta would fall, or the city would lose a king. According to Herodotus, Leonidas deduced that he would not survive the war against the ostensibly impossible odds, so he picked men with living sons to accompany him.
- Leonidas decided that 300 Spartan warriors would be selected for the defence of Thermopylae – and they would be led by he himself. Why were just 300 chosen and why these particular 300? Firstly 300 was a manageable number for an elite taskforce. Secondly the figure 300 had strong symbolic and practical overtones in Sparta, as it was the fixed number of the regular royal bodyguard. The bodyguards were known as the hippeis meaning cavalrymen, though in fact they served as infantrymen in the dead center of the hoplite phalanx, where the commanding king would be stationed. The three hundred hippeis were especially selected in an intense completion from among men in the ten youngest adult citizen year-classes, aged between twenty and twenty-nine.
Leonidas’ Thermopylae advance guard of 300, however, was to be selected with one crucial additional criterion. Besides being exceptionally brave, skillful and patriotic, each of the chosen few must also have a living son. This would ensure that a son would be in place to carry on his father’s name. These heirs would then constitute an elite within an elite, bursting with pride to emulate the feat of their late fathers.
In addition to the three hundred Spartans, Leonidas took around 4,000 Peloponnesians and around a thousand non-combatant Helots.
It is clear that the Thermopylae 300 were to be, in effect, a suicide squad. The pass at Thermopylae had a flat plain in front of it, and that was where the Persians were encamped. The pass through the mountains to the sea was only six feet wide at points. At the point where the pass widened to fifty feet, the Spartans set about repairing an existing wall and making it a much more defensible location.
- On route,they were joined by 1,000 Arcadians, 700 Thespians, 400 Corinthians, and other groups. Leonidas elected to defend ‘The Middle Gate’, the narrowest part of the pass.
- He received and refused the offers made by Persians. Xerxes’ personal message of "Hand over your arms" to him was famously replied to with “Come and take them". Four days later, in August or September of 480 BC, the fighting began.
- The ‘Battle of Thermopylae’ transpired simultaneously with the naval ‘Battle of Artemisium’, where the Greek forces were led by the Athenian politician Themistocles.
- On the first day of the battle, Leonidas positioned his men with their backs to the Phocian wall. Persian archers proved ineffective against the bronze armours, helmets, and shields of the Greeks. The 10,000 Medes and Cissians units, who were sent after, were virtually butchered by the well-organised Greek forces fighting in tight phalanx formation.
- The Greeks were even more successful on the second day and inflicted heavy losses on the Persian infantry. Leonidas marshalled his troops brilliantly, keeping contingents for each city and rotating contingents in and out of battle in regular intervals to avoid fatigue.
- Eventually, towards the end of daylight, Xerxes felt that he had no option but to send in his elite royal bodyguard, the ten thousand Immortals, under the command of Hydarnes. But, once again the attack was to no avail – and it came at the cost of serious casualties.
- The gore and bloodshed that engorged the narrow mountain pass was overwhelming. The piles of quickly rotting corpses mounted, the flies swarmed and the stench was palpable. The battle raged into a second day, and still Xerxes was unable to make a breakthrough. By now some 20,000 Persians had fallen to the Greek resistance and the demoralizing effect on the remains of the Persian army was telling – why could they not turn back these few rebels?
Betrayal and Death
- With his frustration at boiling point Xerxes finally received his break, not through his military superiority but by means of a traitor. Xerxes was approached by a Greek turn-coat by the name of Ephialtes from the city of Malis who was very familiar with the paths crossing the mountain range. He told the king of another path through the mountain that would allow the Persians to bypass the Greek defensive position. Ephialtes offered to escort as many as 10,000 Persian troops through that path by night and turn the flank of the Spartans.
- The Spartans knew of the existence of this alternative route, but they didn’t know that Xerxes knew about it. Xerxes gave this special mission to members of the royal guard of Immortals, and led by Ephialtes, they set out in silence at nightfall, aided by a full moon. After a heroic climb through the Anopaea mountain range, up to 1,000 meters, they easily brushed off and bypassed the thousand Phaeacian guards posted by Leonidas. These troops were ill-prepared and were taken completely by surprise. Leonidas has long been blamed for not posting a stronger reinforcement of the Anopea path.
- At dawn of the third day, Leonidas was informed that a Trachinian named Ephialtes had shown the Persians a mountain path around Thermopylae, and now the Greeks were encircled by 20,000 enemy soldiers.
- By the morning of day 3 of the conflict, the Persians had the Greeks outflanked. Leonidas was now in a pincer grip, caught from the rear as well as the front. It is at this point that Leonidas, having recognized the hopelessness of the situation, gathered his forces together and ordered all of the troops, except the Spartans, to make their escape. Their cities would need them to fight another day. But the Spartans were to make their last stand there at Thermopylae. All melted away, except for a group of about four hundred from Thesbes. When asked by the king why they, too, did not go, they replied that they have stayed because the Spartans have stayed. They would die with them.
- The Greeks made their last stand mostly outside the Middle Gate wall, enabling them to close directly with the oncoming enemy. Leonidas showed himself a true Spartan by the words with which allegedly ordered his men to take their early morning meal before the final encounter . . .
´´This evening, we shall dine in Hades.``
- The Spartans sold their souls at a heavy cost. The Persian losses at the beginning of Day 3 were reportedly heavier even than those sustained on the previous two days. The Greeks, depleted though their numbers were, repeatedly drove the Persians back. Then, inevitably, the 10, 000 of the Persian Royal Guard of Immortals emerged from the rear.
- Leonidas fought and died like a man possessed. When his word shattered after one too many death blows, he used his hands and mouth to inflict injury upon the enemy. The exact manner of his death is unrecorded, but we do know that, as soon as he fell, the Persians took hold of the body and tried to drag it away. Seeing this, the Spartans leapt on their king and attempted to pull him back. Four times the body of Leonidas was dragged away before the remnant of the Spartan defenders got full possession of it and formed a defensive circle around it.
Xerxes wrote to him, “It is possible for you, by not fighting against God but by ranging yourself on my side, to be the sole ruler of Greece.” But he wrote in reply, “If you had any knowledge of the noble things of life, you would refrain from coveting others’ possessions; but for me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race.”
- In this position, with their spears and lances broken, their bodies battered and bloodied, and their dead king in their midst, the Spartans resorted to throwing rocks at the surrounding force of Persians. Finally, a massive hail of arrows was launched and the last Spartans were cut down.
- Perhaps the greatest testament to the effectiveness of the heroic defense which Leonidas had affected against the Persians was the treatment of his corpse by Xerxes. The Spartan king was decapitated and his body was crucified. Xerxes then went about trying to hide the true number of casualties that his men had suffered. But the great defense by the Spartans could not be hidden from history. The deaths of Leonidas and his fellow Spartans greatly lifted Greek morale. And the vital period that the Spartans had held up the Persian advance gave time for the Athenian Greek fleet to wreak havoc on the Persian navy and eventually led to the defeat of the Persian threat. So, by giving his life so dearly at Thermopylae, Leonidas became the savior of his people.
Personal Life & Legacy
- The Battle of Thermopylae, in which Leonidas I lost his life fighting for Sparta, is considered very significant from a historic point of view. The king and his soldiers are much revered to this day as symbols of patriotism for their valor and courage even in the face of inevitable defeat.
- Leonidas and Gorgo had a son, Pleistarchus, who ruled Sparta after his father.
- In 1955, a monument in honor of Leonidas and his soldiers was erected at Thermopylae by King Paul of Greece. On the other side from the monument, a stone lion marks the small mound where the Spartan dead were buried.
- Leonidas’ name in Greek means the ‘son of the lion’.
Leonidas of Sparta Quotes
Leonidas' wife Gorgo is said to have asked Leonidas, at the time when he was setting off to Thermopylae to fight the Persians if he had any instructions to give her. He replied:
"To marry good men and bear good children."
When the Ephors, a group of five men annually elected to the Spartan government asked Leonidas why he was taking so few men to Thermopylae, he said
"Too many for the enterprise on which we going."
And when the Ephors asked him if he would be willing to die to keep the barbarians from the gate, he replied:
"Nominally that, but actually I'm expecting to die for the Greeks."
The Battle of Thermopylae
When Leonidas arrived at Thermopylae he said to his comrades in arms:
"They say that the barbarian has come near and is coming on while we are wasting time. Truth, soon we shall either kill the barbarians or else we are bound to be killed ourselves."
When his soldiers complained that the barbarians were firing so many arrows at them that the sun was blocked out, Leonidas replied:
"Won't it be nice, then, if we shall have shade in which to fight them?"
Another commented fearfully that the barbarians were near, he said:
"Then we also are near to them."
When a comrade asked, "Leonidas, are you here to take such a hazardous risk with so few men against so many?" Leonidas replied:
"If you men think that I rely on numbers, then all Greece is not sufficient, for it is but a small fraction of their numbers; but if on men's valor, then this number will do."
When another man remarked the same thing he said:
"In truth, I am taking many if they are all to be slain."
Battlefield Discourse with Xerxes
Xerxes wrote to Leonidas, saying, "It is possible for you, by not fighting against God but by ranging yourself on my side, to be the sole ruler of Greece." But he wrote in reply:
"If you had any knowledge of the noble things of life, you would refrain from coveting others' possessions; but for me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race."
When Xerxes wrote again, demanding Leonidas hand over their arms, he wrote in reply:
"Come and take them."
Engaging the Enemy
Leonidas wished to engage the enemy at once, but the other commanders, in answer to his proposal, said that he must wait for the rest of the allies.
"Why are not all present who intend to fight? Or do you not realize that the only men who fight against the enemy are those who respect and revere their kings."
He bade his soldiers:
"Eat your breakfast as if you are to eat your dinner in the other world."
Being asked why the best of men prefer a glorious death to an inglorious life, he said:
"Because they believe the one to be Nature's gift but the other to be within their own control."
The End of the Battle
Leonidas knew the battle was doomed: the oracle had warned him that either a king of the Spartans would die or their country would be overrun. Leonidas was not willing to let Sparta be wasted, so he stood fast. As the battle seemed lost, Leonidas sent the bulk of the army away, but was killed in the battle.
Wishing to save the lives of the young men, and knowing full well that they would not submit to such treatment, Leonidas gave to each of them a secret dispatch and sent them to the Ephors. He conceived the desire to save also three of the grown men, but they understood his design, and would not submit to accepting the dispatches. One of them said, "I came with the army, not to carry messages, but to fight;" and the second, "I should be a better man if I stayed here"; and the third, "I will not be behind these, but first in the fight."
Books to buy about Leonidas: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=king+leonidas+book&ref=nb_sb_noss
And now to finish, an epic speech video in honor of Leonidas and also, why not, for the 13 heroes of humanity,May their names and stories be remembered to our descendants and generations and generations that are to come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsma7OGcp6A
there is one in the Spanish version which for me is much more epic! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn3FynZOCRk
(Even a coward would want to fight in war XD)
Comic 300 https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/300/TPB?id=89875
Movie 300 https://putlocker.how/watch?v=300_2006#video=QqetXTd0rT2D_Y0wKXG736uy6Tq4O0Me9UX1ZUY13Q
Battle of Thermopylae