Athens and Sparta and Crete, Oh My!

I’ve enjoyed learning about history as long as I can remember; one of the perks, I guess, of having a huge history buff for an older brother! Ancient societies have always been of particular interest to me. These civilizations’ mythology, culture, aesthetics, military techniques, inventions, and philosophies have long outlived them, granting them outsize legacies in the modern age.

Of the civilizations of antiquity, I find few more fascinating than ancient Greece. So, when I had the idea to make some minifigure collections (“figbarfs,” in LEGO fan parlance) about the ancient world, a Greek one was a no-brainer! Read on to learn more about the figures I’ve devised.

Ancient Greek Minifigures

From left to right, these are our characters:

Jason, a disciplined guard. As one of the protectors of Athena’s Parthenon, Jason takes his work very seriously; he won’t stand for any tomfoolery near his city’s sacred heart!

The helmet and breastplate that this minifig sport were designed explicitly for a Greek soldier, coming from LEGO’s 2010 collectible Spartan Warrior. In my efforts to differentiate this minifigure from that one, I had my fiancée take a nail polish brush to the plume, making it dark blue instead of its original red. I really like the pose I achieved on this figure, especially that secretly-supported spear.


Xander, a gifted sculptor. Don’t get in the genius’ way while he’s working; he’s almost nailed the chiton dress around his masterpiece’s feet, and doesn’t take kindly to being interrupted.

Xander himself, while a dynamically-posed figure I’m reasonably happy with, isn’t the centerpiece here. I’ve intentionally positioned him facing backwards for a few reasons: first, because back angles like these add visual interest to the full composition; second, because Xander’s torso doesn’t look as Grecian from the front; third, and most importantly, because I want your eye to go to his statue instead. I initially tried to make this into the Venus de Milo, but found I couldn’t quite get the delicate posture even with my “augmented” posing tricks. So I went generic.


Arcadius, a wise philosopher. Leader of his own academy, Arcadius teaches his pupils about everything from science to poetry, from strategy on the battlefield to strategy at the fishmonger’s. He almost never stops talking.

How, I wondered, could I give a LEGO minifigure a cloth toga? The answer was less-than-purist: cut a traditional minifig cape, wrap it around, and add a little piece of scotch tape on the back to hold loose ends in place. Don’t worry, though: I use the cut portion of that LEGO fabric elsewhere in this figbarf! I think the strong color blocking at play and the subtle texture of the fabric help to offset Arcadius’ simple design.


Euripides, an awestruck student. Young Euripides’s can hardly handle all the jaw-dropping knowledge his teacher Arcadius shares… one educational walk around the acropolis, and his brain feels like olive oil!

Here’s the same toga design and body combo as I employed on Arcadius, only these are in dark blue rather than dark green. The fabric of Euripides’ garment is LEGO’s flexible cottony cape, rather than their more traditional paper-fabric type, so I could fold and crease it much more easily, and didn’t need to cut any of it away. I’m particularly happy with the expression I chose for this character… you can basically see the learning happening in real time!


Nektarios, a brave warrior. An exemplary follower of the Spartan lifestyle both on and off campaign, Nektarios has proven himself in a dozen battles against a dozen different city-states.

I wanted my Spartan warrior to be as different as possible from LEGO’s 2010 version, but I also wanted to take advantage of the historically accurate details from the original. So, I’ve spruced up the helmet’s plume a little (I used a Sharpie), given my Spartan a decorated shield, armed him with a sword instead of a spear and—of course—made his skin peachy instead of yellow. The legs here are from Princess Leia as Jabba the Hut’s slave in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.


Hipparchia, a theatrical poet. Although women are not allowed to perform in the theater, Hipparchia’s excellent dramas and comedies made her the star of last spring’s Dionysia festival, a wave of success she’s been riding ever since.

There’s that piece of cut fabric I mentioned earlier! What a terrific and lucky use arose for the rejected cropping of Arcadius’ toga. I just adore how the draping looks here. To me, it seems tremendously dynamic and adds a splash of “kapow” to an otherwise simple minifig. The closest thing I could get to a Greek theater mask was this head from Ninjago, but I think it works decently enough… or, at least, it doesn’t upstage anything else in this picture!

Thanks for reading! If you have any other questions or comments about these minifigs, feel free to leave them in the comments below