If you want to look at the greatest warriors ever portrayed on film, the most heroic fighters with blade and shield, the ultimate paragons of fitness, strength, agility, tenacity and the almost inhuman ability to keep going when all others have dropped, you need look no further than Conan the Barbarian or King Leonidas. Both men have become iconic, paragons of male power and brutality, washed in blood and standing defiant atop mountains of bodies. But which was the fittest? Which man would trump the other? In today’s blog post we examine their strengths and weaknesses, and reach what can only be a controversial verdict.

Conan the Barbarian

When you think Conan, you think muscle. You think bulging expanses of tanned flesh, veined and shredded. You picture his steely gaze, his square jaw, you know that he could just as easily tear you in half with his own hands as slice you down the middle with his broadsword. There is in him something primal, something elemental, something of the rock and the sky, the raw elements. He’s not an educated man, a learned man; but nor is he a fool or an idiot. Rather, there is a cunning and wisdom to him that sidesteps the need for intelligence. Intuitive and fast, he reacts with electric speed to new dangers. With a prodigious stamina, tireless and brutally strong, he’s unstoppable in combat.

King Leonidas

It’s all in that willingness to die. To take the cream of the crop, the best warriors of Sparta, a nation dedicated to war, and throw them into the maw of the greatest army ever assembled, 300 versus millions. That strength of will underlies his impressive physical accomplishments, from his rock hard abs to his panther-like speed and agility. Able to move so fast he seems to dance in combat, spinning and ducking under blows and spearing his opponents by the dozens, he seems invincible as he mows down endless ranks of enemies. Able to fight for days without rest, his is the indefatigable strength that comes from an indomitable will.

Ok, ok, so which one is fitter? Enough with the nice writing and fancy descriptions–WHO IS FITTER? Ok, whoa, easy there buddy. First, let’s define fitness, and then apply it to both men with scientific specificity. To be truly fit, you need to excel in the following areas: stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination/agility, and accuracy.


Tough one. Conan is clearly able to last for ages and ages, but Leonidas fought an entire army for days and nights without end, and without losing any of his martial prowess. However, Conan was enslaved and forced to work that grindwheel for years, and also survived being crucified. Incredibly close, but I’ll give this one to Leonidas.


Oh, come on. Leonidas was tough, but Conan is the paragon of strength. No contest.


Interesting match up. I’m going to say that Conan’s bulk works against him here, and King Leonidas’ grace and panther like dexterity gives him the win.


Power is the ability to generate force by applying strength at maximum speed. So while Conan is the strongest, can he apply that strength explosively? King Leonidas can move so fast that the cameras have to slow down to catch his moves, but does that speed translate into power? It’s a close call, but I’m going to give this one to Conan. He’s fast enough that he can beat all swordsmen, and with that strength behind him, his power is unstoppable.


Going to give this one to King Leonidas. Notice how he dances through battle, spinning and weaving and leaving death in his wake. While Conan is a great fighter, he tends to stand and chop, to mow people down before and around him, while Leonidas can actually move through his opponents. Leonidas wins.


Remember that chance that Leonidas had to kill King Xerxes, throwing that spear that just barely missed? Despite the miss, that was a heroic throw, and I think he just barely trumps Conan on this one. I get the impression that Conan would rely a little more on the power of his blows to destroy his opponents, and not be so worried about exactly where he hit them. Leonidas wins.

Grand Total: Conan 2, King Leonidas 4.

Leonidas is the fittest! His blend of agility, speed, endurance and accuracy trump Conan’s explosive power and brute strength. Not that each doesn’t excel in the other’s field; it’s just that their opponent has an edge over them there. What do you guys think? Would you agree that King Leonidas is the fittest? Let me know!