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Greeks | Persian Empire

The Greek characters of 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire.
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The citizens of Sparta. The city was forbidden to raise an army by the Ephors, so King Leonidas chose 300 of the city's citizen-soldiers to accompany him and provide a "welcome committee" for the Persian armies at the Thermopylae.

    In General 
  • Action Dad: Leonidas specifically asked for recruits who have sons to carry their respective legacies.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Believe it or not, they are this in the movie in regards to the original comic where they sometimes went to battle pretty much naked.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The Spartans in the movie are depicted as more heroic compared to the graphic novel, which emphasize their ruthlessness in the story's opening when Stelios stumbles and falls out of exhaustion and gets kicked nearly to death by the captain.
  • Artistic License – History: Real life Spartans went to battle fully armored. These ones fight bare-chested, among many a liberty taken with history.
  • Badass Army: An army of superbly trained Blood Knights, in a nutshell.
  • Badass Cape: They wear red capes and are known for their combat prowess.
  • Blade on a Stick: The other major element of the phalanx besides the shield is the spear. The two combined make the phalanx into a giant and impenetrable porcupine.
  • Blood Knight: They are basically born to crave for battle.
  • Gorgeous Greek: Both the adult men and women are quite the sight for sore eyes.
  • Glory Seeker: There isn't any greater honor than dying in battle for them. And kicking loads and loads of Persian ass at the Thermopylae is just what they need for this.
  • Heroic Build: Spartan men are all ripped, and spend the whole movie shirtless.
  • Javelin Thrower: They don't just use spears to pierce and impale, they are also trained to throw them with deadly accuracy.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The importance of shields is paramount in the Spartans' phalanx.
  • Not Afraid to Die: 300 of them chose to take on a hundreds of thousands-strong army. It speaks volumes.
  • One-Man Army: An entire army of them, in fact, but Stelios, Astanos, and of course Leonidas stand out even from the rest.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: They're born to be warriors, grow up as warriors, and find no greater honor than to die as warriors.
  • Red Is Heroic: They are the heroes of 300 and wear red capes.
  • The Spartan Way: Natch. Elimination of weak babies and Training from Hell as means to create a Badass Army.
  • Unexplained Accent: An ancient Greek king with a Scottish accent.
  • War Is Glorious: For a Spartan, there is no greater source of glory than war.


Played by: Gerard Butler, Eli Snyder (7-8 years old)

The king of Sparta.

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The film removes a literal Kick the Dog moment from the comic in which he punts and punishes Stelios for collapsing while marching. He also suggests Ephialtes to work as a battlefield assistant after rejecting him as a hoplite, while in the comic he is content with dismissing the hunchback and has no more to say.
  • Age Lift: The real Leonidas was sixty years old during the events of the film, while the film implies he is in his later thirties.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Proved his worth in his youth with the agōgē he went through, and never ceased to be a badass leader ever since.
  • Badass Beard: He's bearded, and the leader of a Badass Army. Need we say more?
  • Badass Boast: He's a fountain of these. Most notably:
    • "This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!"
    • "Remember this day, men! For it will be yours for all time!"
  • Badass in Charge: He is the Blood Knight king of an equally Blood Knight city-state.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: His corpse has his arms raised in shoulders length.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The snarkiest Spartan of them all. Best exemplified when Xerxes confronts him and puts on a cool-headed display of laconic wit.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Xerxes chops-off his head from his corpse to display as an example of those who will challenge Persia.
  • Dies Wide Open: His corpse has a blank stare.
  • A Father to His Men: Fights alongside his men, and would gladly die for them just like they would for him.
  • Large Ham: The king of a whole city full of these. It's a wonder how there's any scenery left after Gerard Butler feasted that much on it.
  • Nice Guy: He is surprisingly kind and understanding for a Spartan king. He is not hostile against Ephialtes despite him (by Spartan's laws and customs) having no right to live, and pities his unfortunate existence. He also lets down his offer to join his army in the most gentle way he can, saying he can still treat the wounded or do some other helpful work though he can't use him as a soldier.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: He pauses between words for both "THIS IS SPARTA!" and "TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!"
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like defending their city, and doing so in the heat of battle no less.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: As a young boy, he's played by Zack Snyder's son, Eli.


Played by: Lena Headey

The wife of Leonidas and the queen of Sparta.

  • Action Mom: She has no qualms taking part in battles if the situation calls for it.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She never loses her composure in unfortunate situations.
  • Ascended Extra: Gorgo only appears in the comic briefly to give a last goodbye to Leonidas. She has a much bigger role in the movie where she is trying to secure reinforcements for her husband. Then she leads The Cavalry in Rise of an Empire.
  • Badass Boast: This line which is attributed to the historical Gorgo.
    Persian Messanger: What makes this woman think she can speak among men?
    Gorgo: Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.
  • The Cavalry: She leads Sparta's army and fleet against Artemisia's fleet to help the Athenians and save the day.
  • Frontline General: She throws herself in battle with the Spartans against Artemisia's fleet.
  • Modest Royalty: Gorgo wears a simple tunic just like all the normal women in the streets and doesn't stand out from them, yet when she walks the streets everyone nods in respect recognizing her as their queen. Truth in Television as Spartan women's dress code dis-encouraged the use of jewelry and makeup, and they tended to dress modestly.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's a beautiful woman wearing Sexy Backless Outfits in a daily basis. And then there is her love-making scene with Leonidas before his departure.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's never seen dressed for battle, but she's no less of a hardass than Spartan men.
  • Widow Woman: After Leonidas' death.
  • Woman in White: She's mostly clad in white in the first film.


Played by: David Wenham

A Spartan soldier who acts as the first film's narrator.

  • Bring News Back: Leonidas sends Dilios back to Sparta in order to tell the rest of the Spartans' of the 300's mighty feats and get them hyped up for war.
  • Composite Character: He is immediately based on Aristodermus, a historical Spartan warrior who fought in the Thermopylae, lost an eye and later returned to fight in Platea. However, he also fulfills the role of Pausanias, Leonidas's historical nephew who became regent after his death and led the Greek forces in the aforementioned battle.
  • Eyepatch of Power: He uses a bandage to cover his damaged eye.
  • Eye Scream: Loses his left eye near the end of the first film.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite losing an eye, he still participates in future battles.
  • Narrator All Along: In the first film.
  • Sole Survivor: He's the only survivor of the titular three hundred Spartans.


Played by: Michael Fassbender

A jokester between the Spartan warriors at the Thermopylae.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: He's much less attractive in the graphic novel. Of course, it tells volumes that he's played by Michael Fassbender in the film.
  • Badass Boast: Tells "Then we will fight in the shade!" after cutting the arm of the Persian emissary and as an answer to "Our arrows will blot out the Sun!".
  • Bash Brothers: He and Astinos mostly fight together.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He is the resident jokester of the Spartans, but is nonetheless one of their best warriors.
  • Friendly Rivalry: He and Astinos love competing on who got the most kills.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's close friends with Astinos.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Says this word-per-word to Leonidas in their Dying Moment of Awesome. The Spartan king feels the same.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: In the film, and rather long-haired Hunk for that matter.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: He is based on Dienekes, who fought at the Battle of Thermopylae and made fun of the Persian arrows.
  • Pretty Boy: He and Astinos are more traditionally handsome than most Spartans in the film.
  • Tragic Bromance: He's visibly saddened by Astinos' death.
  • Undying Loyalty: His first appearance in the movie solidifies this towards his king and to Sparta as a whole:
    Stelios: WE ARE WITH YOU SIRE! For Sparta! For Freedom! To the Death!


Played by: Vincent Reagan

A veteran Spartan captain.

  • Adult Fear: His son got beheaded with him not being able to do anything.
  • Badass in Charge: Downplayed. While he is The Captain of the Badass Army, the King is obviously in charge, leaving Artemis as the official Number Two.
  • Berserk Button: Loses it completely after his son is killed in the battle.
  • The Captain: His official rank, but since him and the army are fighting with the king, he's relegated to Number Two.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Artemis is the name of a Greek goddess.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He did not take his son's death well.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He met his end after getting fatally stabbed by a spear.
  • Looks Like Jesus: He sports a Badass Beard and long hair.
  • Made of Iron: Is mortally wounded by two Immortals and a Persian spearman. He manages to kill all three of them before succumbing to his wounds.
  • Named by the Adaptation: His name is never said in the comic book; he is only called captain.
  • Number Two: He has the second highest rank in the Badass Army led by the King of Sparta himself.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: He sees his own son fall into battle.
    • While no less tragic, this is mitigated by the fact that he does have other sons, something he brings up when Leonidas is initially reluctant to take Astinos, and Astinos would ave had children of his own given how Leonidas only took men with sons for his honor guard.
  • Mook Horror Show: After his son is killed, he is completely blind with grief and rage as he slaughters anyone on his way, and his agonized cries are said to frighten the Persians more than any battle drum.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Couple this trope with Proud Warrior Race Guy, and you have a hell of a Mook Horror Show as he cuts his path to try and reach his sons' beheaded corpse.
  • So Proud of You: He has this expression in his face upon seeing his son into battle. Unfortunately, this is the second last thing his son sees before getting beheaded by a Persian rider.


Played by: Tom Wisdom

The son of Captain Artemis.


Played by: Kelly Craig

The Oracle of Sparta.

  • Adaptational Heroism: In the graphic novel, the Pythia is Ambiguously Evil at the best, as she recites her prophecies in inteligible Greek and while looking lucid, thus implying she is in the Ephors's secret plan or at least coerced into playing along. In the film, she speaks dreamily in some arcane language and it needs an Ephor to translate the message, which all but states the priest is actually making the prophecy up out of trance babble or tweaking it to fit their designs.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": She's never addressed by her name, only by her title.
  • Magical Barefooter: Probably both for being a sacred slave and for practical reasons, as her rituals include sensual dances.
  • Ms. Fanservice: To her eternal detriment, the Oracle's attire reveals more skin than clothe it.
  • Seer: As her title suggests, she can have visions from the future.
  • Sex Slave: What she is to the Ephors when she is not having visions.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: The Ephors only pick the most beautiful Spartan girls to be their oracles and Dilios says their beauty is cursed for their masters have the needs of men and souls black as Hell.
  • Vapor Wear: She wears a very thin (read: transparent) garment.
  • Woman in White: She's wearing a very thin white garment.

    The Ephors 

Played by: Greg Kramer (Ephor #1) & Alex Ivanovici (Ephor #2)

Prophets of the Greek Gods.

  • Adaptational Ugliness: The historical Ephors were regular Spartan elders elected by the popular assembly rather than the disgusting and putrid beings we see in the movie.
  • Corrupt Church: The Ancient Greek variant of this trope, since they are religious leaders that are secretly in league with the Persians.
  • Dirty Old Man: A definitely evil example since they demand that only the most beautiful Spartan girls can be their oracles. In fact, they throw their lot with Xerxes when he promises them girls being given to them on daily basis from every corner of the empire.
  • Karma Houdini: We never see the Ephors being punished for betraying their country, since they are not seen again after their first scene. Though it's presumed the Spartans were able to figure out their treachery after Theron was exposed.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The historical Ephors didn't betray Sparta. Not from what we know, at least.
  • Magical Barefooter: In their case, because their feet are so deformed that they probably don't get comfortable in Greek sandals.


Played by: Dominic West

A corrupt Spartan politician secretly in league with Xerxes.

  • Ascended Extra: He, or at least a guy who looks a lot like him, can be seen as an unnamed extra next to Gorgo in the comic. However, his role was created solely for the movie.
  • Corrupt Politician: Not only is he sleazy as Hell, but he serves as The Quisling to the Persians.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can put up a friendly facade when out in the open, but lets out his inner sleaziness leak out when in private.
  • Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: The fact that Theron had Persian coins on him when he died served to convince the assembly that he was a traitor. Turns out that having the money of an enemy empire on him is rather suspicious.
  • Karmic Death: He is shanked by his own rape victim who gives an Ironic Echo of the words he used when raping her.
  • Kick the Dog: As if sexually abusing Gorgo wasn't bad enough, he tells her that "This will not be over quick. You will not enjoy this". Later on he tries to have her accused of adultery in front of the Senate.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Gorgo guts him like a fish, causing him to die without dignity and be exposed as a Persian spy when gold coins stamped with Xerxes's face come spilling out of his robes as he collapses.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Theron's offer to Queen Gorgo goes like this: "Have sex with me and I will help you convince the senate to send reinforcements to your husband."
  • Smug Snake: Theron is truly insufferable when he thinks he is on the top of everyone.


Played By: Andrew Tiernan

A severely deformed hunchback from Sparta whose family fled from their home to spare him from infanticide. He follows the 300 when they make their stand at the Hot Gates and offers to join them, but he is unable to fight due to his severe handicap, as such he is turned down. He ends up revealing a secret passage to the entrance that allows the Persians to win the battle.

  • Adaptational Modesty: In the comic, he is nude while in his meeting with Xerxes, implying he has already tasted some of his harem before talking to him.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The real Ephialtes was a Malian, not a Spartan.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: The film makes him emotional, cowardly and hammy in a pathetic light, whereas the Ephialtes from the graphic novel is grumpy and stoic, almost professional in his interactions with Leonidas and Xerxes. He even tries to commit suicide bitterly after having lost his original purpose, and it is after unexpectedly surviving that he decides to try luck with the Persians.
  • Anti-Villain: Unlike Theron, who is motivated by greed and power, Ephialtes only wanted acceptance from his kin, and when he got refused he went for the other side willing to accept it from them. Even after his betrayal, he still cares for his countrymen and tries to get Leonidas to surrender to save his men.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Played with. Ephialtes is very sympathetic in spite of his deformity and initially wants to fight alongisde the Spartans. However, after being turned down, he throws his lot with the Persians and teaches them a secret passage to outflank the defenders.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the graphic novel, Ephialtes jumps to his death after being refused to join the Spartan army by Leonidas though he survives. He doesn't do this in the movie, as instead he merely throws his spear and shield away and yells "you are wrong, Leonidas!".
  • Face–Heel Turn: He initially wanted to join the Spartans, but after being refused he threw his lot with Xerxes.
  • The Grotesque: Ephialtes not only has a hunchback, but his face is extremely mishappen with one eye larger than the other, and his arms are asymmetrical and twisted.
  • Historical Beauty Update: A rare inversion where he is depicted as a hideous hunchback, even though no historical record says that the historical Ephialtes looked anything other than normal.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: A relatively minor case, but still there. He was loyal to his countrymen until being deprived of his chance to gain a sense of belonging, and joined up with the Persians in the hopes of satisfying his emotional need for it. Even after his treachery, he still begs Leonidas to surrender and spare his life and those of his men, showing that he doesn't actually want them to die. The real Ephialtes betrayed his comrades for a reward, and there is no evidence that he tried to persuade Leonidas to surrender.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. His actions lead to the Persians ultimately winning the Battle of Termopylae and he is rewarded with riches, women and everything the Persians have to offer. However, he looks very dejected by Leonidas' last words to him "may you live forever", which are essentially the worst insult you could give to a Spartan, since they are expected to die in battle. And while the movie doesn't show it, anyone who knows history will discover that Ephialtes' good fortune would end after the Battle of Salamis.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Even after he betrays the Spartans, he still begs for Leonidas to surrender and spare his men during the first movie's climax, showing that he still cares for his countrymen. In the comic, he also looks down in grief when the Immortals massacre a Thespian guard despite Ephialtes insisting they were going to retreat anyways.


The 300 Spartans don't fight alone at the Thermopylae, they are joined by an army of volunteers from Arcadia (North of Sparta in central Peloponnese). Arcadians didn't train for war all their life and are less experienced and organized in combat than Spartans, but they are nonetheless brave and eager to fight.

    In General 
  • Blade on a Stick: They use mainly spears in battle.
  • Lightning Bruisers: They are lightly equipped compared to the Spartans. It's all for the better when they charge the Immortals by surprise.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Their carry light shields that are made of wood and leather. They don't use them in a phalanx unlike Spartans with their bronze shields.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: They all wear brown leather in some form or another, but some are shirtless. Some wear helmets and others don't.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: They are levied militiamen instead of professional soldiers, and as a consequence lack most of the Spartans's uber-competence and discipline, as well as being more lightly armed in comparison. However, that is not saying they are not badasses in their own right: even although they receive several losses, they still score their own fairly share of kills against the Immortals, who are supposed to be the most dangerous men in the Persian empire. In fact, given that they act through guts and shrewd tactics instead of lifelong training and heavy weapons, one could argue that not being overpowered by Xerxes's elites actually makes a much more impressive feat for the Arcadians than for the Spartans.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: None of the Arcadians Leonidas asks about their profession is a warrior by trade. There are potters, sculptors, blacksmiths among them. Truth in Television, not just for Arcadia but for just about every Greek city besides Sparta. The only other city to have any part of their army be made up of professional soldiers was Thebes, whose professional contingent was a 300 strong battalion of homosexual lovers called The Sacred Band.
  • Weak, but Skilled: They are nowhere as tough and organized as the Spartans at war, and their weapons and shields are light in comparison, but they make for competent ambushers and are sure as hell not afraid to take on the Immortals.
    Stelios: (narration) They shout and curse, stabbing wildly. More brawlers than warriors. They make a wondrous mess of things. Brave amateurs. They do their part.


Played by: Andrew Pleavin

The leader of the Arcadians.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He can be seen taking down a couple Immortals entirely by himself before the camera cuts away, and later gets out mostly unscathed from where several Spartans have been killed.
  • Badass Beard: A fierce and bearded warrior (well, "brawler" according to Dilios).
  • Bald of Awesome: He's bald in the film, and fearlessly leads his men against the Immortals.
  • The Cameo: In a blink-and-youll-miss-it moment, Daxos is briefly seen at the end of the sequel. When The Cavalry shows up, Themistocles mentions not just Sparta, but four other city-states coming in, including Arcadia. Artemesia first looks to her right, and sees Gorgo leading a Spartan fleet, then looks to her left and sees another fleet, led by Daxos.
  • Determined Defeatist: He's constantly fearful, superstitious and almost whiny in comparison to the savagely stoic Spartans, but is absolutely not scared of fighting and only bows out when the battle becomes literally hopeless.
  • Only Sane Man: Though he is eventually dismissed as a coward or weakling by the Spartans, he comes across as this since all things considered, he'd react accordingly to anyone who isn't a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He clearly cares for his men and is not willing to lead them to what would be a Senseless Sacrifice for the Arcadians. If he were more fleshed out, he might be A Father to His Men just like Leonidas.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Ephialtes betrays the secret passage to the Hot Gates, he realizes the battle is lost and retreats alongside his men. Leonidas isn't particularly bothered by him leaving (though he takes offense at his suggestion of retreating or surrendering) and in fact tells him to spread the word about the Persians' coming.
  • Supporting Leader: He leads the Arcadians in battle to provide support to the 300 Spartans.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He's surprised that Sparta only sent 300 soldiers at first, not quite figuring yet that each one of them is a One-Man Army.


The citizens-soldiers of Athens led by Themistocles. They lost their home city to the land army of the Persian Empire, but they are still determined to stop the Persian fleet.

    In General 
  • Blue Is Heroic: They are the heroes of 300: Rise of an Empire and wear blue capes.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: They fight at sea whereas Spartans fought on land. Spartans are quite the braggarts, are eager to throw themselves in battle for glory and wear red capes while Athenians are much more humble, wear blue capes and fight for survival, and they don't paint themselves as a Proud Warrior Race but rather want to protect their people at all costs. They also employ various crafty ambush methods against the humongous Persian fleet whereas the Spartans more or less rely on making themselves into an impenetrable wall of men, spears and shields at the Thermopylae.
  • Cool Boat: The Athenian triremes are smaller than the big Persian galleys, and it's all to their advantage, being faster and much more maneuverable, which is perfect for ramming.
  • Doomed Hometown: Persians have submitted Athens to Rape, Pillage, and Burn after finally defeating the 300 Spartans at the Thermopylae. Its army and part of its people have taken refuge in a creek near Salamis.
  • Shirtless Scene: Like Spartans, they spend the movie's screentime armorless and bare-chested. Although in this case it completely makes sense, since they mainly fight at sea — falling at sea while wearing a heavy armor means sinking like a stone.
  • The Smart Guy: Compared to the Spartans, the Athenians rely more on technical strategies and tactics to conquer battles. Their city-state namesake is Athena, goddess of warfare and wisdom.
  • Weak, but Skilled: They are not lifelong heavy warriors like the Spartans, but their soldiers are fearsome in their own right thanks to their wide variety of tactics and artful hand-to-hand style.


Played by: Sullivan Stapleton

The commander of the Athenian fleet and its strategist.


Played by: Hans Matheson

Themistocles's second in command.

  • The Lancer: To Themistocles.
  • Warrior Poet: He fought in the Greco-Persian wars and went to become a famed tragedian in real life.


Played by: Callan Mulvey

Themistocles's master spy and ambush expert.

  • Action Dad: Callisto's father, as well as The Spymaster and ambush expert for the Athenian fleet.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar on his chin.
  • Composite Character: The real Scyllias of Scione was a Greek mercenary who deserted from the Persian army and brought the Greeks information about their fleet. His film self, however, has also elements of Sicinnus, a slave to Themistocles who served as his spy and contributed to his trap in Salamis. Sicinnus was also the mentor to Themistocles's children, a role which 300 switches around by having Themistocles mentoring Scyllias's son after his death.
  • Human Pincushion: Artemisia kills him by riddling him with arrows from a distance.
  • The Spymaster: He successfully infiltrates the Persian fleet and even Artemisia's own ship. It's only by rotten luck that Artemisia notices him and blows his cover, and he still escapes alive after butchering a few of her guards.


Played by: Jack O'Connell

Scyllias's son.

  • The Baby of the Bunch: He's the youngest named character among the Athenians.
  • Diving Save: A variation; Callisto uses his shield to push Aeschylus out of the way of a Persian spear, then throws back one of his own at the enemy responsible.
  • Military Brat: His father is the Athenian navy's spymaster.
  • New Meat: He's new to warfare, but soon proves to be a great soldier.
  • Pretty Boy: He has boyish looks.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He's very similar in a lot of ways to Astinos.
  • Tagalong Kid: The youngest member of Themistocles' fleet.
  • This Means Warpaint: After his father is killed by Artemisia, he paints his face up to resemble a skull during the final battle at Salamis.
  • You Killed My Father: His father is slain in battle by Artemisia. Themistocles tells Callisto to use that to motivate him at Salamis.
    Themistocles: [as Callisto passes him] Your father watches you!


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