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).