Friday, October 28, 2005

Blog Number 46 - The translation of the name of the leader of the '300' Spartans, King Leonidas

The legend of King Leonidas it seems has grown exponentially since his death at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Herodotus' account of the self-sacrifice of Leonidas & the '300' along with the warriors of Thespiae led Hollywood to make a movie which premiered in 1962 entitled 'The 300 Spartans'. With a tentative release date in 2006, this theme will be revisited with Frank Miller's '300' which is currently being directed by Zack Snyder in Montreal, Canada.

More is known about King Leonidas' exploits on the battlefied of Thermopylae than what occurred during his lifetime. What is known is that Leonidas' name loosely translated means 'he with the spirit of a lion' and that he was born into the royal house of the Agiads around 540 B.C., perhaps a little later. The Agiads claimed descent from Heracles (Latin - Hercules), the mythological Greek strongman who killed a lion with his bare hands. Therefore, what better name was there to bestow on the male child who would become a future royal of the militaristic city-state of Sparta?

As a testament to his bravery, a stone lion was soon erected after the Battle of Thermopylae marking the place where Leonidas was to have fallen.

Thanks Elisa & Efharisto Maria!

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