All About Gorgo – Queen of Sparta in Ancient Greece
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Those of us who have seen the movie The 300 remember most of the main characters in the story, especially Xerxes from Persia and King Leonidas from Sparta. However, Queen Gorgo, Leonidas’s wife, also got considerable screen time. She was a fascinating figure to watch in the movie, and she often was shown standing up for her husband and interacting with male members of the council as an equal. In Ancient Sparta, women had considerable rights and were considered an important part of the culture. Queen Gorgo, to many, is often looked at as a prime example of what being a Spartan woman was all about. Here’s more information about her:
Information About Queen Gorgo
Queen Gorgo was a queen of Ancient Sparta. The daughter and only child of King Cleomenes I, she was raised from a young age to be a strong woman who was capable of ruling Sparta. King Cleomenes was said to have held her opinion in high regard and even heeded her advice from a young age. No one knows for certain, though, the exact date of her birth. It is estimated to have been between 518 and 508 B.C.
We do know that even though Spartan women were held in high esteem in the culture, very few historical writers of the time mentioned them specifically by name. Herodotus, one of the top historical writers of Ancient Greece, did mention her. In fact, she was one of the few women that he did mention in his writings. From what we can gather, her upbringing was similar to most Spartan women and she was well educated and thought to be physically beautiful.
According to Herodotus, Gorgo advised her father not to trust Aristagoras of Miletus, a foreign diplomat, when she was just a child. She thought that trusting him would have a corrupting influence on the Spartans. The amazing thing is, her father listened!
Marriage to King Leonidas
Because Cleomenes had no other children, Gorgo was his heir. According to some sources, she was married by 490 B.C when she was still a young teenager. Her husband, King Leonidas, was her half uncle and together they had one child, Pleistatchus, who eventually became king. There is some debate as to whether or not they had more than one child. Before he could become king, however, he had to come of age. Cleombotus and then Pausanias, filled in as king until he could rule. It was pretty much expected that once Leonidas left for Thermopylae he wouldn’t return. Not much is none about what happened to Queen Gorgo after Leonidas died in battle.
Gorgo of Sparta was a daughter of a king, a wife of a king, and a mother of a king. After Leonidas lost his life at the Battle of Thermopylae, their son eventually became king. We owe much of what we know about Gorgo to the writings of Herodotus, but there were other sources that celebrated her, as well.
Categorized in: Ancient Greek History
This post was written by Greek Boston