Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blog Number 41 - The age of King Leonidas in Frank Miller's '300'

In Chapter 2, Frank Miller writes about King Leonidas, 'All his fifty years have been a straight road to this one gleaming moment of destiny.'

While it has been established that King Leonidas of Sparta died at the battle of Thermopylae in August, 480 B.C., very little is known about the year of his birth, or for that matter, his formative years. Paul Cartledge, the distinguished scholar and historian who has written countless volumes relative to the Spartans, has narrowed the date of the birth of King Leonidas to around 540 B.C. Therefore, if we go under the assumption that Leonidas was born anywhere in the years subsequent to 540 B.C., this would have placed him in the 50+ year old range.

Since we can't say with absolute certainty what the age of King Leonidas was when he fought at Thermopylae, the age attributed to him has come under scrutiny. To the naysayers, it might sound improbable (not impossible, mind you) especially in this day and age for a man in his 50's to have endured the rigors of ancient warfare for several days. When you factor in the stifling heat and humidity of Greece in August, along with the heaviness of his armor which probably would have comprised about half of his body weight, then I believe you must arrive at the conclusion that this was an extraordinary individual whose presence on the battlefield inspired his 300 Spartan warriors and the other Greek allies to heroic lengths.

What age range do you think King Leonidas as portrayed by Gerard Butler will be in '300'; his thirties, forties, or fifties?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since Gerard Butler is in his mid-thirties, I think he can be made to look anywhere between 35-50. I would say definitely in the 40's is more probable. Those panels you all have posted of the King sure look like a guy in the prime of life and verrrrrry fit!

Jane(purplelady)

arion said...

Before Gerry stopped smoking, his face looked older and he could have played 45 plus easily. Since he has stopped smoking and slimmed down and started regular workouts, he looks 30! So I guess they want Leonidas to look age-indeterminate but fit and heroic. Gerry will be that. Check out the new fans pics at GB.net. He will certainly look Spartan and kingly.

Dragon Slayer said...

According to the graphic novel, Leonidas would be 50 years old. Whether or not Gerry will be made to look that old won't be known until we see the movie. He does have gray in his hair which is dyed right now in the latest pics from Montreal. It could be anywhere from 35-50 in my opinion.

John Trikeriotis said...

Greetings Jane, Pam & dragon slayer~

I think that you are all correct and that '300' will have Gerry Butler portray King Leonidas looking war weary, battle scarred and looking like he is in his 40's.

Thanks to all of you for your comments.

Cheers,

John

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I too think gerry will play leonidas looking in his 40's. He looks so manly now and can easily look a bit younger or older when needed. I am not so sure he will look weary though, i think they are going to make sure he gets all the ladies hearts racing and will be strong and sexy in the role, as well as commanding. I love these bloggs and finding out so many new things about the story.



rose

John Trikeriotis said...

G'day Rose~

Thanks for the comment and there will be many more blogs to follow!

Cheers,

John

Miyuki said...

I'm not nervous about the age of the king.I think Gerry matches the role just as he is.Many of the audiences are free to interpret the age as suited ones, unless there isn't a king's birthday scene in the film.

John Trikeriotis said...

Hi Miyuki~

I think you've made an excellent point! Even though historical accounts have Leonidas' age in the 50's, possibly 60, with the right makeup, they can age Gerry Butler so that he has the look of a mature warrior.

Cheers,

John

Miyuki said...

Hi John,
Thanks for the information.Then the king seems to be almost the same age as I.The fact is,I'm pleased.

John Trikeriotis said...

Hi Miyuki~

King Leonidas at the time of Thermopylae was in his 50's/early 60's. He had to have been in excellent condition and probably appeared younger than his years. In 'The 300 Spartans' Richard Egan looked as if he was in his 40's and I believe this is the age that Gerry Butler will look.

Cheers,

John

Anonymous said...

Having just finished GATES OF FIRE- which by the way was terrific! Steven does reference Leonidas as older, however considering the life training the Spartans had, one would have to assume that his DNA was exceptional to make it to that age..I believe there is a culture in the Andes where people don't reach their prime till after 50, etc Teri S (can't seem to sign in)

Miyuki said...

I was afraid of aging Leonidas at first.But now I can't wait seeing Gerry as 'a mature warrior'especially on 'The Third Day',after hearing about the challenges of other actors to shape their character.

John Trikeriotis said...

Greetings Teri & Miyuki~

King Leonidas was in his late 50's/early 60's when he fought at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. The Spartan king would have to have been an exceptional warrior since he was fighting men that were probably half of his age. It still amazes me!

Cheers,

John