Leonidas of Sparta: The 3rd most important Warrior in History!
First Alexander the Great, second Genkis Khan and third Leonidas of Sparta!
Leonidas of Sparta
Leonidas I (ca. 540 BC - 480 BC) was a king of Sparta from the dynasty of the Agiades. His father was King Anaxandridas II (or Alexandridas otherwise), who had four sons: Kleomenis by his second wife and three sons (Dorieas, Leonidas, Cleombrotus) by his first wife. It was believed that he was a descendant of Hercules.
Leonidas ascended the throne in 488 BC. after his half-brother Kleomenis, whom his father had acquired from his second wife. Leonidas, as a third-born son, did not expect to become king. But Kleomenis was exiled and eventually died in a prison in Sparta, and Dorias had died in Sicily leading a group of mercenaries.
If Leonidas was really born in 540 BC, then in 510 BC. must have been of marriageable age. Either he married a woman whose name we do not know, when he later divorced, or he remained unmarried until the end of the 490s BC, when he married Gorgo, who was the daughter of his brother, Kleomeni.
At that time, it was normal for kings to marry close relatives in order to preserve the royal blood. Leonidas and Gorgo had a son, Pleistarchus, which made him equal to the three hundred, who were chosen to accompany him to Thermopylae in part because they all had a son.
Leonidas thus chose that any fighters who would go to fight had to have at least one son in order to maintain their generation. Leonidas wanted to go from the two kings of Sparta, obeying an oracle of the Delphic oracle that said: "Either the city of Sparta will be erased from the map or its king will mourn".