Xerxes was the King of Persia during the Greco-Persian wars. In the graphic novel 300 Xerxes serves as a gargantuan and somewhat androgynous antagonist to the Spartan way of life. Throughout the story Xerxes is referred to and behaves as a god, passing his judgment from one land to the next. After Leonidas kills his messenger in a hostile reaction to Xerxes' proposition the conflict begins. Xerxes begins to send his massive armies over to the Hot Gates (Thermopolaye) to quell the Spartan resistance. However, continuous failed attempts to eliminate the pesky small legion of Spartan soldiers begin to infuriate Xerxes. That added to the seemingly ignorant responses of Leonidas to his offers of peace at the price of freedom anger Xerxes further. Eventually Xerxes manages to corner and eliminate the Spartan King and his men but not before being sliced across his right cheek by Leonidas' spear. This act proved 'that a god could bleed'.