The Essence of a Hero

Heroes are an interesting concept, each civilization has their own culturally relevant heroes but these people all tend to have a set of qualities in common. King Leonidas of the Greek Spartans was without a doubt one of the Greeks greatest heroes. King Leonidas sacrificed his life for not only Sparta, but all of Greece and every one of her inhabitants. Leonidas personifies a heroes bravery, selflessness and honor so perfectly and effortlessly that he is considered by many the embodiment of a hero.
The first quality that King Leonidas demonstrated during his life was his immense bravery. Leonidas “the Lion of Sparta” lived by a simple Spartan mantra, “return with your shield victorious, or on it” (320), and these words epitomize bravery. Leonidas, upon hearing of the invasion of Greece courageously pulled together 300 of his own Spartan warriors to face down 250,000 of Persia’s finest warriors simply to delay the invasion just long enough for all of the Greek city states to band together in an attempt to defend themselves against the Persian scourge. Leonidas accomplished this mission, but paid the ultimate price of his life, this is a quality of a true hero.
The second quality that Leonidas displays that supports his heroism is his complete and utter selflessness. This point does not need too much explaining, Leonidas sacrificed his own life on the field of battle to protect his home and his people. With the death of Leonidas came the unification of all of Greece and the formation of a sort of makeshift “unified Greek army” (513). Without Leonidas sacrifice this may have not been possible, many historians credit the death of Leonidas as the catalyst for the unification of Greece. King Leonidas and his selflessness exemplify heroism in the most complete way.
Finally, the last quality that associates Leonidas with heroism was his unwavering honor. Each civilization has their own ideas about honor but it cannot be argued that Leonidas embodies the notion of...