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A new age has begun. An age of freedom. And all will know that three hundred Spartans gave their last breath to defend it.
— Leonidas

Leonidas I is the main protagonist of 300, a comic book by Frank Miller, and its film adaptation.

Leonidas was the king of Sparta and a widely respected and feared among his subjects. When he heard of the Persians wanting to invade Greece, Leonidas gathered 300 of his best men and set out to meet the Persians at the narrow cliffs of the "Hot Gates". Before the battle Ephialtes, a deformed Spartan, begs Leonidas to let him fight but is rejected due to his hunchbacked form. This caused Ephialtes to become depressed and throw himself off a cliff.

The Spartans and their allies were able to hold off the Persians for two days until Xerxes showed up and offered Leonidas wealth and power for his surrender. Leonidas refused the deal and thus the fighting continued.

Meanwhile, Ephialtes had awoken from his fail suicide and betrayed the Spartans by telling Xerxes a pass that would allow Xerxe's troops to attack the Spartans from behind. Eventually, all the Spartans and their allies were killed leaving Leonidas the sole survivor. Xerxes give Leonidas one last chance to kneel for him and surrender, instead Leonidas throws his dory at Xerxes, wounding him. Leonidas was then killed by a rain of arrows.