In this relief of Leonidas, the great Spartan king and hero of the Battle of Thermopylae is presented in Doric simplicity. Leonidas led the Spartans and died in the defense of Thermopylae against the invading Persian forces in the Second Persian War (480 BCE).

Leonidas wears a Corinthian helmet, characterized by its round shape, prolonged nose and cheek guard, and the projecting guard at the base of the neck. The helmet, which is fitted with a crest down the center, supports an impressive plume of horsehair, indicating the wearer's distinguished martial status.

Sofialakis presents Leonidas with his hair worn long and arranged carefully in wavy locks, recalling the Spartan custom of combing and preparing the hair prior to combat (Herodotus, The Histories 7.209).


  • Title: Leonidas
  • Creator: Nikos Sofialakis
  • Location: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: Sculpture
  • Subject Keywords: Leonidas, 300, Battle of Thermopylae, Sparta, Spartan king, relief, Pentelic marble, Sofialakis
  • Type: Relief
  • Physical Medium: Marble of Mount Penteli
  • Photo Credits: The Nikos Sofialakis Center of Neoclassical Sculpture
  • Gallery: The Nikos Sofialakis Center of Neoclassical Sculpture
  • Exhibitions: Leonidas was first exhibited in 1967 at the Fine Arts Festival of Mediterranean Countries in New York and in Washington D.C. as part of Nikos Sofialakis' first exhibition tour of the United States of America, entitled "The Gods of Greece". It was also exhibited in 1970 at the Fine Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado and again that same year at the Athenaeum of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association in Alexandria, Virginia, during Nikos Sofialakis' second exhibition tour of the USA.
  • Dimensions: 27.5cm x 20cm

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