King Leonidas

King Leonidas

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… learning to defend his city-state, Sparta. As a child warrior, King Leonidas fought and defeated deadly animals with his bare knuckles.

Living… in dangerous times. Sparta is under constant threat from eastern enemies. The “Persian cowards,” as Leonidas describes them, are out to conquer the civilized world.

Profession… warrior-king. Leonidas is not the kind of king who merely gives orders; rather, he’s out on the battlefield fighting alongside his men. As he bellows to them: “Spartans never retreat! Spartans never surrender!”

Relationship Status… married to Queen Gorgo, with whom he has a son. Leonidas’ wife is just as tough as he is. The mighty Queen has instructed her husband to go and defend Sparta at all costs. “Come back with your shield,” she says, “or on it.”

Challenge… defending his beloved Sparta against the massive Persian army, one million soldiers strong. The 300-man Spartan force has never encountered a battle this daunting — they’re facing an army over 3,000 times its size. As Leonidas tells his troops: “The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed!”

Personality… vicious, bloodthirsty and resilient. Leonidas will stop at nothing to defend his people. King Xerxes has not only threatened Sparta, but also insulted the great warrior nation. As Leonidas tells a Persian messenger (before kicking him into a bottomless pit): “You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my city steps. You insult my queen. You threaten my people with slavery and death!”


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