14 Facts About Leonidas I


Leonidas I was a Greek king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line, a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles.


Leonidas I succeeded his half-brother King Cleomenes I to the throne in c 489 BC.


Leonidas I died during the battle and entered myth as the leader of the 300 Spartans.


Leonidas I was the second son of Anaxandridas' first wife, and either the elder brother or twin of Cleombrotus.


Leonidas I made one unsuccessful attempt to set up a colony in Africa and, when this failed, sought his fortune in Sicily, where after initial successes he was killed.


Leonidas I was chosen to lead the combined Greek forces determined to resist the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 481 BC.


At that point Leonidas I sent away most of the Greek troops and remained in the pass with his 300 Spartans, 900 helots, 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians.


One theory provided by Herodotus is that Leonidas I sent away the remainder of his men because he cared about their safety.


Herodotus believed that Leonidas I gave the order because he perceived the allies to be disheartened and unwilling to encounter the danger to which his own mind was made up.


Leonidas I therefore chose to dismiss all the troops except the Thebans, Thespians and helots and save the glory for the Spartans.


When Leonidas I was killed, the Spartans retrieved his body after driving back the Persians four times.


Herodotus says that Xerxes' orders were to have Leonidas I' head cut off and put on a stake and his body crucified.


Leonidas I was the name of an epic poem written by Richard Glover, which originally appeared in 1737.


Leonidas I appears as the protagonist of Frank Miller's 1998 comic book series 300.