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The Legend of Tutanekai of Sparta Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021

Totanekai was his name a not so ordinary boy or name, his mother was the daughter of Anaxandridas II and sister of Cleomenes king of Sparta a noblewoman (1) but as with most Spartan women unmentioned. His father Cleombrotus (2) was king of Sparta after Leonidas’s death. He was among the 300 who died with Leonidas at Thermopylae.

Rumor has it that Cleombrotus and his mother were both Children of Anaxandridas (4) making him a child of Royal Incest unthinkable even in Sparta. Because of the scandal of his conception, he was sent to Athens and raised in the temple of Athena (7) (8) where he learned Athenian concepts of Law and Justice. Another reason why he was sent away was that he was a small baby. Cleombrotus himself would have cast the child away to die (6) had not his mother intervened and offered to have him sire another, stronger child with her.

Nothing is said of his childhood other than the fact that he was raised as an Athenian boy (9) But at the age when boys return from the Agoge (trials of Spartan boys), he came back full wrought to manhood (10). He is quickly accepted by the Spartans for his martial prowess with some thinking he was blessed by Athena because he did not grow up a corrupt boy-lover like the Athenians are reputed to be in Sparta. But before he was accepted as a Spartan he was given a quest to slay the Thespian Whore, an evil Thespian Succubus who drains Spartan men of their vital essence rendering them useless for warlike Sparta.

The Thespian Whore proves to be a worthy foe. Aside from her deadly charms, she is blessed by Aphrodite with a girdle of loveliness, she is also an able warrior being part of Amazon. Neither by Spear nor Sword does Totanekai slay it. Instead, Totanekai uses his Athenian charms to seduce the demon and kill it while pretending to make love to it (11). As a reward for ridding Sparta of Thespian Whore, Leonidas I, King of Sparta, gives Totanekai his sister’s hand in marriage and makes him heir to one of the two kingships of Sparta (12) [Sparta always had Two co-Kings].

A respected Lord and Councilor, Totanekai is loved by all. He introduces reforms to the Spartan system which improves the standard of living for Women and reduces the mortality rate of the Agoge (15). He made it illegal for women to be beaten by their husbands for refusing to have sex with them, his law is probably the earlier marital rape law in the world. He also made it illegal for Helot farmers to kill the children undergoing the Agoge trials. It was still legal to beat them but not to the point of death.

However, when he tried to reform the Law on Helots and give them more rights he locked horns with Vested interests (16). The Warrior Caste that predominated Sparta’s citizenry and body politic did not want to grant citizenship to the Helot slaves because then they would be badly outnumbered in council meetings. To dishonor him, his enemies plotted to have a Helot slave testify that he was having homosexual relations with him. Pedantry is not necessarily punished among warriors and their squires but to do so with Helots was beneath contempt. They accused that he wanted to uplift them because of the favors the ‘dirty Helots’ were giving him. Ashamed and dishonored Totanekai was forced into exile (17).

During his exile, he was often seen atop a hill singing songs of lament over his miserable fate (19). He hears that his only son died in the Agoge (20). His wife also committed suicide after learning of the incident with the Helot slave boy. Before slitting her own throat she is reputed to have said; “Why wasn’t I enough for you?” Never the less he is eager to regain lost honor. When Leonidas calls for warriors to go with him, Totanekai returns to Sparta in full battle-harness demanding a chance to redeem himself or at least die with some honor.

During the battle, Persians fled from his face. He fought without his helmet so that the Persians could see the face of a desperate Spartan with nothing left to lose. His eyes were as white-flame, his blade clove through Persian armor, flesh, and bone as if they were no more than Spartan air. So fell-handed was Totanekai that even Leonidas could barely keep up with his furious bloodlust. Cleombrotus has forgotten the Greeks who saw him fight that day claimed he was the spawn of Achilles nay, of Ares himself (5). After all, how could so fell a warrior be fathered by a mere mortal? During the first two days of battle, his tale of kills surpassed any Greek, Spartan, or otherwise.

On the third day when the Spartans were surrounded and abandoned by the cowardly Greeks, Leonidas ordered an attack against Xerxes camp. Totanekai was again at the forefront. He slew three of Xerxes’ brothers and their guard leaving their broken bodies and decapitated heads for Xerxes to breakfast with. But when Leonidas ordered a retreat to the hill where they made the final stand he was not with them.

Legend has it that Totanekai would not suffer even this minor retreat. He stood his ground in Xerxes camp facing fell beasts and all manner of Persian creatures. Until exhausted he fell to the ground pierced by dozens of Persian arrows. Xerxes in final mockery, ordered his corpse fed to his pet Lion but before his servants could lay hands on the body it spontaneously combusted leaving not even ashes to remember Totanekai (21).

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