- "A city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick."
Gorgo (c. 495 – 429 BC) was a queen of Sparta, daughter of king Cleomenes I, wife of king Leonidas I and mother to king Pleistarchus. She is notably one of the few female historical figures named by Herodotus, and was known for her great political judgement and wisdom. She leads the Greeks in Civilization VI.
Gorgo, Queen of Sparta; glory to you and your loyal hoplite armies! Greece savors the blessings from Ares that every victory brings. And your people applaud your thoughtful governance and cultural marvels. Stand proud, for the legacy of Greece, and of your achievements, will be told over and over again for generations.
Gorgo's unique agenda is With Your Shield Or On It. She never gives up items in a peace deal, prefers leaders who haven't yielded in a peace deal, and dislikes any leader who has surrendered in a peace deal or any leader who has never engaged in war. In Gathering Storm, Grievances against her will decay at twice the usual rate.
Her leader ability is Thermopylae. It provides her with Culture equal to 50% of the base Combat Strength of each enemy military unit defeated, and her units with +1 Combat Strength for every active Military policy card in her government.
Greece leads the early game in Culture output. With Gorgo, it is by going to war and getting Culture from kills, or by putting an Acropolis on a Hill right in the center of her city's districts and wonders. Coupled with a free Wildcard Policy slot, Greece is the government power player throughout the game. Researching the civics that boost their victory strategy, they will have a full slate of Policies in place to help them along the way. The government system is flexible to support any victory path, though a Culture Victory is an easy fit for Greece.
Gorgo is voiced by Angeliki Dimitrakopoulou. She speaks her native Doric dialect of Ancient Greek recognizable from the fact the long e (η) sound in most words is instead replaced by the long a sound (α). So you have "αγεμών" instead of "ηγεμών" (hegemon).
|Codename||Quote (English translation)||Quote (Doric Greek)||Notes|
|Agenda-based Approval||You would make a good Spartan… resilient, strong, brave.||Σπαρτιάτης καλός είησαν. Καρτερός, ισχυρός, ανδρείος. / Spartiátis kalós eíisan. Karterós, ischyrós, andreíos.|
|Agenda-based Disapproval||Are you such a coward, to avoid bloodshed? To yield so easily? Where is your honor? (lit. "Are you so bold/courageous as to avoid blood (bloodshed)? How can your honor be so lacking?")||Ούτως θρασύς εί ώστε το αίμα φεύγειν; Πη ένδει α τιμά τέος; / Oútos thrasýs eí óste to aíma févgein? Pi éndei a timá téos?|
|Attacked||You must not know: Spartans only return with their shield, or on it. (lit. "The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. And thus it will happen to you.")||Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν. Καί ούτως τοι γίγνεται. / Dynatá dé oi proúchontes prássousi kaí oi astheneís xynchoroúsin. Kaí oútos toi gígnetai.||The audio file for this line appears to have been switched with her Declares War line. The first sentence is an exact quote from the famous Melian dialogue from History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (5:89.1).|
|Declares War||Now, we will test your strength! Prepare yourselves!||Νυν πειρασόμεθα τάς υμετέρας δυνάμεως. Παρασκευάζεσθε! / Nyn peirasómetha tás ymetéras dynámeos. Paraskevázesthe!||The audio file for this line appears to have been switched with her Attacked line.|
|Defeated||Ares has abandoned us. Sparta is defeated.||Ἄρης ἁμμε ἀπολέλοιπε. ἁ Σπάρτα ἐσσῆται. / Áris amme apoléloipe. a Spárta essítai.|
|Greeting||I am Gorgo, Queen of Sparta and leader of the Greeks. Who are you? What victories can you speak of?||Γοργώ ειμί, α βασιλεία τάς Σπάρτας, και αγεμών των Ελλήνων. Τις εί συ; Τίνας νίκας οίος τε συ αγγέλλειν; / Gorgó eimí, a vasileía tás Spártas, kai agemón ton Ellínon. Tis eí sy? Tínas níkas oíos te sy angéllein?|
|Quote from Civilopedia||A city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.||Οὐκ ἂν εἴη ἀτείχιστος πόλις ἅτις ἄνδρεσσι, καὶ οὐ πλίνθοις ἐστεφάνωται. / Ouk án eíi ateíchistos pólis átis ándressi, kaí ou plínthois estefánotai.||This is an exact quote from Parallel Lives by Plutarch from the part dedicated to Lycurgus of Sparta, paragraph 19.|
Accepts Delegation from Player: Spartans are not interested in material goods, but I thank you for the gifts your delegation brought me.
Accepts Player's Declaration of Friendship: You have proven to be a good friend of Sparta. I will accept on behalf of my people.
Rejects Player's Declaration of Friendship: Sparta does not need your friendship.
Denounced by Player: Your words are meaningless compared to our deeds.
Denounces Player: You are worse than sophists. Let the rest of the world know.
Invitation to Capital: What is your capital like? Tell me, and I will tell you of Sparta.
Invitation to City: We have a city nearby. Would you like to visit and sample our hearty black broth?
Daughter of a king of Sparta, wife of a king of Sparta, mother of a king of Sparta, perhaps the most remarkable thing about Gorgo is that we know much about her at all considering the near complete absence of women in classical Greek history. Even queens are rarely mentioned in the works of Herodotus, Xenophon and Thucydides. Not surprising, for most of the ancient Greek historians were Athenians, and Athenians held that women should not be seen – much less heard – in public. As Pericles supposedly said in one of his speeches: “The greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about, whether they are praising you or criticizing you.” Gorgo, by that view, was a stunning aberration.
Born around 513 BC, Gorgo was the only child of the Agiad king of Sparta, Cleomenes. Besides ruling Sparta with an iron fist, he pursued an often unscrupulous foreign policy, crushing Argos, intervening in Athenian affairs, helping forge the Peloponnesian League. Gorgo learned a lot from her darling dad. Virtually nothing is known of her childhood; she was likely plain (or mention of her “beauty” would have found its way into the “histories”) but clever, as when she advised her father not to trust Aristagoras of Miletus who was seeking support for an Ionian revolt against the Persians. She was no doubt raised and schooled as were other Spartan girls of noble lineage: taught literacy and numeracy, dancing and singing, to ride bareback and to drive a chariot, encouraged to strenuous exercise daily (including wrestling and gymnastics).
Whatever her other attributes, Gorgo was the quintessential Spartan woman, self-confident and outspoken. Neither vain nor materialistic, if Herodotus’ tales are to be believed (and that’s a stretch, as he was more given to hearsay than fact), she showed Spartan scorn at affectation, once thinking that a visitor to court had no hands because he had slaves dress him. According to another story, a grown Gorgo accused an elegantly dressed visitor of not being able to “play even a female role” among true Spartan women.
It appears that Gorgo was married to Leonidas I, her half-uncle, by 490 BC when her father died. Sparta was unique in that it had two kings, serving simultaneously. Although both technically had equal power, when Leonidas came to the throne, succeeding Cleomenes in the Agiad dynasty, Gorgo managed to elevate her husband over the other king Leotychidas in terms of influence and decision-making. As queen of a militaristic city-state, her “cleverness” served Sparta in good stead numerous times. Prior to the Persian invasion of Greece in 480, the exile Demaratus sent a warning to Sparta about Xerxes’ plans; to conceal the message, he had it engraved on a piece of wood and then covered with wax. When it arrived, neither the kings nor the five ephors (advisors to the kings elected by the citizens) knew what to make of the seemingly blank slab, until Gorgo advised Leonidas to clear the wax from the wood. There are several instances mentioned in the histories in which she is present in council giving advice to the kings or assembly.
It is unknown whether the proud queen gave Leonidas more than one child – his son Pleistarchus I – but given her schedule before Leonidas marched away to die at Thermopylae, it is perfectly understandable if she didn’t. And, while other Spartan queens had been accused of adultery (notably Helen), Gorgo is repeatedly portrayed as virtuously rejecting unwanted advances. But then, she is famously cited as having stated that only Spartan women produced real men … so maybe no one else was worthy. According to the later historian Plutarch, aware that his death was inevitable when the 300 Spartans marched north, Gorgo asked her husband what he wanted her to do. Leonidas told her “to marry a good man … bear good children.” There is no record that she followed his advice.
It is likely that, both before and after the Persians invaded, Gorgo travelled throughout Greece helping Leonidas rally the Greek city-states to a common defense. Virtually all of Leonidas’ reign was dominated by Sparta’s efforts to forge a coalition, especially an alliance with Athens, the leading maritime power. Gorgo in Athens must have been a sensation; after all, in Athens it was considered scandalous for a woman – married or not – to be seen in public … and Gorgo was driving a chariot through the streets. Even more scandalous if while riding about she wore traditional Spartan female attire, consisting of a short, thin skirt and tunic with arms and legs bare, while Athenian women wore heavy clothing that concealed everything save face, feet and hands. Spartan women at the time enjoyed a status and respect unknown by their gender in the rest of Greece, and no doubt Leonidas and Gorgo made the most of that in their negotiations, alternating shock with charm.
Upon the slaughter of the 300 at Thermopylae, Gorgo’s son became king, with first his uncle and then his cousin acting as regent until Pleistarchus assumed the crown himself in 478 BC. Although it is likely that she continued to offer advice to him and the ephors of Sparta through the rest of the Persian war, with her husband’s death, Gorgo disappears from the recitations of Greek historians. There is no record of her own demise.
- Gorgo's leader ability references the Battle of Thermopylae, while her leader agenda references what Spartan women allegedly said to men before they left for battle.
Win a regular game as Gorgo
|Civilization VI Leaders |
|Alexander1 • Amanitore1 • Ambiorix1 • Bà Triệu1 • Basil II1 • Catherine de Medici • Chandragupta • Cleopatra • Cyrus1 • Dido • Eleanor of Aquitaine • Frederick Barbarossa • Gandhi • Genghis Khan • Gilgamesh • Gitarja1 • Gorgo • Hammurabi1 • Harald Hardrada • Hojo Tokimune • Jadwiga1 • Jayavarman VII1 • João III1 • John Curtin1 • Kristina • Kublai Khan1 • Kupe • Lady Six Sky1 • Lautaro • Mansa Musa • Matthias Corvinus • Menelik II1 • Montezuma • Mvemba a Nzinga • Pachacuti • Pedro II • Pericles • Peter • Philip II • Poundmaker • Qin Shi Huang • Robert the Bruce • Saladin • Seondeok • Shaka • Simón Bolívar1 • Suleiman • Tamar • Teddy Roosevelt • Tomyris • Trajan • Victoria • Wilfrid Laurier • Wilhelmina|
|1 Requires a DLC|