Real Name: Cocles
Identity/Class: Normal human (ca. 480 BC) (citizen
Group Membership: Spartan army
Affiliations: Leonidas, other Spartan warriors
Known Relatives: wife (name unrevealed), two
sons (names unrevealed)
Base of Operations: Sparta
First Appearance: Battlefront#9/3 (February,
Powers/Abilities: Cocles was a well-trained
Spartan warrior who was proficient in killing with sword and spear.
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
Profile by Grendel Prime.
Cocles has no known connections to:
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
in Carthage (which was originally a Phoenician outpost).
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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