A Boy of the Agoge


Helena P. Schrader holds a PhD in history from the University of Hamburg, which she earned with a ground-breaking biography of General Friedrich Olbricht, the mastermind behind the Valkyrie Plot to depose Hitler. Helena has done extensive research on ancient and archaic Sparta. She has combined her research with common sense and a sound understanding of human nature to create a refreshingly unorthodox portrayal of Spartan society.

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Leonidas: The Hero of Thermopylae

In 480 BC he would defy an army half a million strong.

But who was Leonidas?

The smaller of twins, born long after two elder brothers, Leonidas was considered superfluous — even by his mother. Lucky not to be killed for being undersized, he was raised not as a prince like his eldest brother, Cleomenes, the heir to the throne, but as an ordinary citizen. As such, he had to endure the harsh upbringing of ordinary Spartan youth: The Agoge.

Barefoot, always a little hungry, and subject to harsh discipline, Leonidas must prove himself worthy of Spartan citizenship. Struggling to survive without disgrace, Leonidas never dreams that one day he will be king and chosen to lead the combined Greek forces facing a Persian invasion. Yet these are formative years that forge the man who was to become the most famous Spartan of all time.

This is the first book in a trilogy of biographical novels about Leonidas. The second book, A Peerless Peer, describes Leonidas’ years as a private citizen, and his marriage to a woman in every way his equal: Gorgo. The final book in the series, A Heroic King, describes his reign, the struggle with Persia, and his death.


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