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Real Name: Cocles

Identity/Class: Normal human (ca. 480 BC) (citizen of Sparta)

Occupation: Soldier

Group Membership: Spartan army

Affiliations: Leonidas, other Spartan warriors

Enemies: Carthaginian pirates, Persians, Xerxes II

Known Relatives: wife (name unrevealed), two sons (names unrevealed)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Sparta

First Appearance: Battlefront#9/3 (February, 1953)

Powers/Abilities: Cocles was a well-trained Spartan warrior who was proficient in killing with sword and spear.

Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Dark brown


(Battlefront#9/3 (fb) - BTS) - Cocles was born and raised in Sparta, and trained as a soldier. He knew the high value and honor associated with a Spartan holding onto his shield in battle. He married and had two young sons.

   Circa 490 BC, King Xerxes I of Persia led a failed campaign with two million troops against Greece. Ten years later, his son, King Xerxes II, set forth with three million Persian and Asiatic troops to conquer Greece, targeting Sparta first.

(Battlefront#9/3) - On night watch, Cocles encountered a raiding party of Carthaginian pirates and challenged them. Despite his fighting skills, he feared death against overwhelming odds and foolishly flung his shield to the ground while running away so that he could alert the City Guard. His fellow Spartans were surprised at his absent shield, but he lied he had lost it while fighting off the raiders. The City Guard stopped the pirates, who surrendered. Having no shield, Cocles stayed away from the skirmish, but the pirate leader told the City Guard captain of Cocles' cowardly action. Although Cocles protested, the captain alerted other local Spartans of Cocles' disgrace.

   The next morning, Cocles was ignored by other Spartans, including his sons, and his wife spurned him, preferring he had died rather than lose his shield and honor. However, Xerxes II's forces approached and the Spartan King Leonidas resolved to stop them at the narrow pass at Thermopylae. Sure of defeat due to overwhelming numbers, funeral services were held before the Spartan soldiers marched to battle. All except the shamed Cocles farewelled their families. Cocles was part of the Spartans battling the Persians. He heard words of shame in his heard; this fueled his furious attacks, despite his lost helmet, and impressed Leonidas. Several days of battle passed, but the Persians kept coming and moved to block the Spartans' hope for retreat. Leonidas sent Spartans away to protect the mainland, keeping 300 Spartans to impede the Persian advance. Cocles chose to stay with the 300 Spartans and died with honor on the battlefield. His corpse was later retrieved by fellow Spartans and carried back with dignity on his shield, a smile on his dead face.

Comments: Created by uncredited writer and Joe Sinnott (art).

In ancient Sparta, the shield was considered of utmost importance to a soldier, particularly as multiple shields were needed to form a protective fighting phalanx. Losing a shield was a sign of disgrace and going home without a shield was considered the mark of a deserter.

Cocles looks more Roman than Greek (Spartans were Greek), especially with his rounded scutum (shield) (Spartans usually had discs as shields). Indeed, the story seems to borrow from the legend of the Roman soldier Horatius Cocles, who defended a bridge from an invading army, combining it with the Spartan stand at Thermopylae (a Spartan even invokes "Pluto", the later Roman form of the Greek god Hades). Further, historically, it was King Xerxes I who fought the Spartans, while King Xerxes II had a very short (and insignificant) reign. Also, historically Carthage (based in central north Africa, modern-day Tunisia) was geographically much closer to Rome (modern-day Italy and Sicily), so the pirates encountered by Cocles were plundering out of their usual domain.

This is such a mish-mash of history that it could even be considered another Earth, should Leonidas and Xerxes appear elsewhere (and more accurately) in the Marvel universe.

Check out historical info on Sparta and the Battle of Thermopylae.

Profile by Grendel Prime.

Cocles has no known connections to:

Carthaginian pirates

A boatload of Carthaginian pirates, numbering about 20, landed at night, hoping to raid Spartan homes. The pirates were spotted and challenged by Cocles, who was on night duty. However, with the odds of surviving overwhelmingly against him, Cocles turned and ran, dropping his shield as he did so. Cocles alerted the City Watch, who fought the pirates until they surrendered. But the pirate chief spoke with the City Watch's captain and told him of Cocles' flight away from the initial encounter. This led to the public shaming of Cocles. The pirates' final fate is unrevealed.

The crew were multi-ethnic. The captain (with winged helmet and ax) appeared northern European, so perhaps they were disguised or had mercenaries amongst them, and the pirates were just based in Carthage (which was originally a Phoenician outpost).






images: (without ads)
Battlefront#9/3, p3, pan6 (main image)
   p3, pan8 (headshot)
   p2, pan1 (pirates)

Battlefront#9/3 (February, 1953) - uncredited writer, Joe Sinnott (pencils & inks), uncredited editor

First posted: 06/21/18

Last updated: 06/21/18

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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