King Leonidas of Sparta Picture

Statue of Leonidas I of Sparta (1968).
The statue was erected on the spot where he and his men supposably fell in battle and died.

Leonidas, died 9 August 480 BC. He was a hero-king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendant of Heracles, possessing much of the latter's strength and bravery. He is notable for his leadership at the Battle of Thermopylae.

In August 480 BC, Leonidas set out to meet Xerxes' army at Thermopylae with a small force of 300, where he was joined by forces from other Greek city-states, who put themselves under his command to form an army between 4,000 and 7,000 strong. There are various theories on why Leonidas was accompanied by such a small force of hoplites.
Whatever the reason Sparta's own contribution was just 300 Spartiates (accompanied by their attendants and probably perioikoi auxiliaries), the total force assembled for the defense of the pass of Thermopylae came to something between four and seven thousand Greeks. They faced a Persian army who had invaded from the north of Greece under Xerxes I. Herodotus stated that this army consisted of over two million men; modern scholars consider this to be an exaggeration and give estimates ranging from 50,000 to 200,000

The story of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans has recently cought the attention from many people around the world, due to the fictionalized retelling of the "Battle of Thermopylae" in the fantasy action film titled "300"

Thermopylae, Greece
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