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This article is about the King of Sparta. You may be looking for The False Leonidas.
"He was Sparta's last true hero. We'd all be under the yoke of the Persian Empire if it wasn't for his courage. The same blood courses through your veins."
―Myrrine, describing her father to Kassandra, 429 BCE.[src]-[m]

Leonidas I (Λεωνίδης; c. 540 BCE – 480 BCE) was a king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, best known for his involvement in the Battle of Thermopylae against the Achaemenid Empire in 480 BCE.

A direct descendant of the Isu, Leonidas possessed a proportionally-higher level of Isu genes than usual; consequently, so did his descendants.[1] He also wielded an Isu spear, which was later passed down to his daughter Myrrine, and then his granddaughter, the misthios Kassandra. Through his granddaughter, Leonidas was an ancestor of Aya of Alexandria, one of the co-founders of the Hidden Ones.

For his defiance against the Cult of Kosmos, Leonidas' descendants came to be targeted by the Cult, who sought to have his bloodline wiped out such that they would no longer face opposition against their plans.


Opposition against the Cult[]

Cultist: "Enough! We have grown tired of your insolent tongue! Sparta will not go to war, the Pythia has spoken!"
Leonidas: "The Pythia says what you tell her to say! She's been your puppet for far too long, the time has come to cut her strings!"
—Leonidas opposing the Cult's wishes, 480 BCE.[src]-[m]
ACOD Bully the Bullies - Cult of Kosmos

Leonidas confronting the Cult of Kosmos

In 480 BCE, Greece was invaded by the Achaemenid Empire under the reign of Xerxes I, who was secretly backed by both the Order of the Ancients[2] and the Cult of Kosmos. Leonidas consulted the Pythia in Delphi about going to war against the Persians. The Cult, who had manipulated the Pythia for generations, were present during his consultation and threatened Leonidas not to go against their plans. However, Leonidas defied the order and commanded his officer Dienekes to gather the army for battle.[3]

Battle of Thermopylae and death[]

"The Persians come to make slaves of us all. I have a better plan. I say we drench the gods with their blood."
―Leonidas to his soldiers before the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BCE.[src]-[m]

Leonidas and his army gathered at a narrow passage way in Malis, where the Persians would have to pass through in order to reach mainland Greece. Prior the battle, Leonidas reminisced to Dienekes about how he would have liked to have gone fishing with his son. Upon spotting the arrival of the Persian fleet in Malis, Leonidas briefed his men and braced for the attack. During the first wave, Leonidas clashed and defeated a Persian officer, Kurush.[4]

ACOD Memories Awoken Leonidas Death

Leonidas' death

In the aftermath, one of the Spartans revealed that they had been betrayed by one of the Greek soldiers, Ephialtes of Trachis, who revealed a path behind the passage which allowed the Persians to maneuver around. Nevertheless, Leonidas refused to retreat and ordered his men to defend the pass.[4] The Spartans were able to defend the passage for seven days, though they were eventually overwhelmed. Soon after Dienekes' death, Leonidas himself perished, but not before killing the Persian officer who delivered his fatal injury.[5]


"Think of Leonidas. He had great courage. And he made a great sacrifice. You share in his blood and the strength he possessed. We are able to feel certain things happening around us. That is our family's gift."
―Myrrine to Kassandra, after giving her Leonidas' spear, c. 451 BCE.[src]-[m]
ACOD Statue of Leonidas Sparta

Statue of Leonidas above his tomb in Sparta

Following Leonidas' death, Xerxes, who was otherwise recognized for his civility and honor when dealing with his fallen foes, was so deeply infuriated by Leonidas' defiance that he had his head cut off and impaled on a pike. His remains, along with his spear, were later recovered and returned to Sparta, where he was buried in a tomb southwest of the city, while his broken spear was handed down to his daughter, Myrrine, who in turn passed it on to her daughter Kassandra.[5]

In addition, a statue was erected where he had been placed to rest in Malis.. The lion statue served as a monument for both Leonidas and the deceased Spartans who fought in the battle.[5] Leonidas' story remained alive in word of mouth, even to the extent of inspiring a mercenary to imitate Leonidas, to the point of being called False Leonidas during the Peloponnesian War.[6]

When the Isu Aletheia created a simulation of Elysium for Leonidas' granddaughter Kassandra to better learn how to wield the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus, she included a simulant Leonidas within. After meeting this simulated version of her grandfather, Kassandra convinced him to join Adonis' human rebellion against Persephone's rule over Elysium.[7] Later, Persephone discovered Leonidas' ties to the rebellion and offered Kassandra a deal to resurrect one of her deceased loved ones in exchange for killing Leonidas to hinder the rebels.[8]

In 2018, Leonidas' memories during the Battle of Thermopylae were relived by the Assassin Layla Hassan in the Animus HR-8.5,[4] after she had recovered his spear and extracted a sample of his DNA from it.[9]

Personality and traits[]

"Today was a day the Persians will never forget. Tomorrow is a day the world will remember."
―Leonidas to his men prior to the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BCE.[src]-[m]
Introduction - Leonidas - Assassins Creed Odyssey

Leonidas and Dienekes shortly before the Battle of Thermopylae

Leonidas was shown to deeply care for Sparta and those who inhabit it, as he was willing to defy the Cult and defend his home. Following the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas was noted for his great courage, as he bravely fought to the death against the Persians despite their overwhelming numbers.[6]

Leonidas was also mentioned as having a hard to control temper. A good example of his temper would be from the Battle of Thermopylae; when presented with a Persian soldier gloating about Leonidas' imminent defeat, Leonidas immediately thrust his spear through the man's mouth to silence him.[5] This temper, and Leonidas' trouble keeping it in check, was also well-remembered after Leonidas' death, as Archidamos noted when meeting Kassandra around 429 BCE.[10]

He also had a sentimental side, as during the Battle of Thermopylae, he told Dienekes how he would've liked to have gone fishing with his son Pleistarchus,[4] and while fishing with Kassandra in the Elysium simulation, he recalled how his mother had told him that his spear carried a certain burden. Leonidas was also very cunning, as while fishing with Kassandra, he was able to immediately deduce that Persephone had sent her to kill him.[8]

Behind the scenes[]

Leonidas I is a historical figure who features as a playable character in "Battle of 300", the prologue sequence of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (2018). He is voiced by Elias Toufexis.


Leonidas (Λεωνίδης) is a Greek name meaning "lion-like".