10 Facts about King Leonidas of Sparta

This must seem like a random blog post, but it isn’t. I am trying to get back on track with writing and researching for my novella series of which I received a very comprehensive edit from my editor leading into Christmas and about the same time the family was sent into a bit of a spin.

King Leonidas doesn’t feature as a character in my story, though I am sure there is one for me to delve into, however he is mentioned as a possible familial link to the main character.

Here are some interesting facts about King Leonidas.

  1. Leonidas was the third son of King Alexandridas and was not meant to be one of the two kings of Sparta.
  2. His brother Cleomenes died and did not have an heir; his other brother, Dorieus, died while on campaign in Sicily leaving Leonidas as the heir apparent.
  3. The role of a king in Sparta was a dual one, which meant Leonidas was a military leader as well as a political one.
  4. From the age of 7, Leonidas was taken from his home and trained as a hoplite warrior. This was the norm for all Spartan born males.
  5. According to Herodotus, Leonidas’ family lineage was descended from the hero Herakles going back 20 generations.
  6. Leonidas married Gorgo, who was his brother Cleomenes’ daughter.
  7. Unlike the 300 movie portrayal of Leonidas being in his youth, he would have been in his 60s during the Battle of Thermopylae.
  8. Leonidas was selected to lead a small group of 300 hoplite warriors to defend the pass at Thermopylae, all hand-picked with male offspring/s.
  9. Leonidas ordered the bulk of his force to withdraw and kept with him only the Spartans, Thespians, and Thebans to make a last stand.
  10. During their final meal, Leonidas supposedly said: ‘Eat hearty, lads, for today we dine in Hades.’

There is a well-known quote from the battle:

‘Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to words we lie.’

Your Dictionary

The Spartans were revered and feared by other Greek city-states and their reputation was far-reaching.

Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.

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Read more about King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae:


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    • cav12

      The Spartans were extraordinary and their feats and way of life certainly have made an impact on the World’s history.
      I am hoping for a productive year in writing!
      Thank you, Linnea 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • cav12

      Very difficult to even comprehend. so different to our time and experiences. That’s what I love about history, especially ancient history. We have a lot to learn from our ancient ancestors. Thank you very much for stopping by, Joylene.

      Liked by 2 people

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