KING LEONIDAS OF SPARTA
Summary: The Spartan King who led his 300 troops at Thermopylae
Date: Born 530 B.C. died 480 B.C.
Location: Sparta, Greece (Europe)
Family: Father: Anaxandrides II
- Introduction -
Leonidas was an ordinary Spartan man brought up in the ordinary Spartan fashion, however when we look at his life and the extraordinary circumstances that he encountered, he also showed quite a unique determination.
Born in c. 530 B.C. to King Anaxandrides of Sparta, Leonidas was brought up in the traditional Spartan fashion. Because of the hardships he endured in training he would have had incredible mental and physical stamina.
Best known for his efforts to hold back the Persian invasion of 480 B.C., Leonidas’ reign actually began ten years earlier. He was placed on the throne when his older half brother died and, from what we know, appeared to rule well.
When King Xerxes of Persia invaded, Leonidas was selected by a Greek committee to lead their military coalition. Although Leonidas could have fielded as many as 8,000 soldiers there was a Spartan festival being held at the time. Being religious people, the Spartans refused to fight during this period. Regardless of the lack of support, Leonidas led his own Spartan bodyguard of 300 men to block the Persian’s path. Joined by 700 other Greek soldiers, Leonidas led his force with incredible effectiveness against the hordes of enemy troops.
- Valiant Death -
King Leonidas was killed alongside his Spartan troops while bravely defending the pass of Thermopylae.
We get an idea of Leonidas’ character when at one time during the battle of Thermopylae Xerxes ordered the Spartans to ‘give up their weapons’, in response Leonidas famously exclaimed, “Come and take them!” Leonidas possessed a level of determination and courage that we all should aspire to. The most incredible part is that for Leonidas, it may not have come naturally, it was a result of discipline and training.
Researched and Written By
Cody B. Mitchell