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Leonidas, King of Sparta
Jake, Age 15, Ashburn, VA

Leonidas led his brothers into a suicide mission to defend the glory of Sparta. He was very persistent and refused to give up. He started training at the very early age of seven. He fought using the most feared Greek fighting formation: the phalanx. He knew that to even have a chance against the massive Persian army he would have to fight in the hot gates, which is a very narrow pass. When he was growing up he was always sent out in the wild to prove himself constantly in order to become king. This is why I think Leonidas, leader of the 300 Spartans and King of Sparta, was a great leader and warrior (Swami).

The great king knew that eventually he would fall, but he still refused to go down. He fought until the very end and always managed to keep his men’s spirits up. It was not until Ephialtes, the Greek traitor, led the Persians behind the hot gates using an old hidden goat path that Leonidas and his men were finally surrounded. Only the 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans remained to guard the rear; the rest of the Greeks fled. This battle even though it only lasted a couple days was known as one of the greatest stands in history by Leonidas and his army, which was tiny compared to the Persians’ huge army. All together the Persians’ estimated numbers were in the millions. Leonidas knew that fighting in the narrow pass known as the gates would give them a chance, and it would have worked if the Persians did not discover the old goat path showed to them by Ephialtes (Silvester).

Leonidas showed no mercy at the three main battles. At the battle of Thermopylae, he killed as many as he could, not sparing any of the countless number of Persians. He was also very consistent and was never pushed back and kept leading his military forces forward and forward. In the end he did everything he could, trying to win even while they were surrounded. He was about forty years old when he died, and he trained almost every single day of his life. When the Spartans found out about the mass numbers the Persians had and were told “their arrows will block out the sun,” Leonidas replied, “Then we will fight in the shade” (Sacks).

Leonidas was not only a great warrior but always a very good king. He basically distracted the Persians long enough for Greece to gather more soldiers to prepare for the battle ahead. His war strategies were very effective and he knew how to trick the enemy. He went to war even though he was not allowed to, just to defend the name of Sparta. So overall he was basically one of the greatest military leaders and kings of all time. Because he had all of the qualities of a great king and warrior such as honor, courage, persistence, and good strategy (Swami).

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