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Nikolaos of Sparta, also known as the Wolf of Sparta, was a Spartan general who lived during the 5th century BCE. With Myrrine, the daughter of King Leonidas, he was the father of Alexios and step-father of Kassandra.[1] He was also the adoptive father of Stentor.

Because his step-daughter was descended from Leonidas, Nikolaos had high hopes for her to live up to their grandfather's fame and valor. However, a catastrophe befell the family one fateful day when an Oracle prophesied the destruction of Sparta at the hands of Myrrine's children. Following the apparent death of Alexios as a result of Kassandra's actions, she was sentenced to death. Nikolaos reluctantly stood by this sentence and personally attempted to carry it out, only for Kassandra to survive, and, in exile, grew up to become a legendary mercenary.

Biography

Incident on Mount Taygetos

At some point, Nikolaos met and married Myrrine, the daughter of King Leonidas I of Sparta. Myrrine previously had a daughter Kassandra from her past relationship with the philosopher Pythagoras. Despite this, Nikolaos treated Kassandra as his own while keeping it a secret together with Myrrine. In 446 BCE, the two had a son named Alexios.[2]

That year, tragedy struck when the Cult of Kosmos manipulated the Pythia Praxithea into giving a false prophecy, proclaiming that Alexios would lead to the fall of Sparta. As a result, the newborn was condemned to be killed in order to prevent the polis downfall, a decision which Myrrine opposed. Nikolaos and his family were brought to Mount Taygetos, where they await the sentencing surrounded by the Cult. Despite pleas from Myrrine, Nikolaos refused to budge, as he was strictly adherent to Spartan law. When Alexios was about to be thrown off the cliff by a priest, he was stopped by Kassandra, who unintentionally pushed both him off and seemingly killing both him and Alexios. As Kassandra's action was considered against Spartan law, Nikolaos was compelled by the Cultists to punish her accordingly. Myrrine plea for him to spare Kassandra, which he ignored and promptly held her by the hand before throwing her off the cliffs to her seemingly death.[2]

Reunion with Kassandra

The Wolf of Sparta - Kassandras choice - Assassins Creed Odyssey

Kassandra preparing to throw Nikolaos off the cliffs

Years after the incident, Nikolaos rose up the ranks in the Spartan Army, eventually becoming a general, helping to contribute numerous victories to his polis. His victories made him a war hero and gave rise to his title as the Wolf. During this point, he also adopted a son named Stentor, who served and fought with him during[2]

By 431 BCE, Nikolaos was posted in Megaris to conquer the city of Megara with Stentor. The army was later assisted by a mysterious Spartan misthios, who aided the Spartans in sabotaging Athenian supplies and eliminating the mercenary Athenian-hired mercenary Hyrkanos the Cunning. When the Spartans succeeded in conquering Megara, Nikolaos requested to meet the misthios in person, waiting on the edge of a cliff. The misthios revealed herself as Kassandra, who had survived the fall years ago.[3] Though desiring revenge, Kassandra ultimately sparred his life. Nikolaos later revealed to her that he was not her biological father and that her mother was still alive, before abandoning his post.[3][1]

Two years later, Nikolaos returned to his post, secretly assisting his adopted son Stentor in his efforts to conquer Boeotia. To this end, Nikolaos went after Aristaios, one of the Boeothian champion who was stationed in Gla at Lake Kopais. While executing Aristaios outside the fort, he was found by Kassandra, who had been dispatched by King Archidamos of Sparta to assist Stentor.[4]

Trivia

  • Nikolaos (Νικολαος) means 'victory of the people', from which the English form, Nicholas, is derived.
  • While Assassin's Creed: Odyssey allows the protagonist to choose between sparing Nikolaos or killing him, the official novelization confirms that Kassandra spared him during their reunion in Megaris, and later helped him reunite with Stentor after his 'official death.' [citation needed]

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