Gates of Fire


Steven Pressfield

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Bruxieus Character Analysis

Bruxieus is Xeo’s family’s household slave. He was initially enslaved and blinded by the Argives as a young man. He was acquired by Xeo’s father past the age of 40. He is loved by the entire family, and he and Xeo have a special bond. Bruxieus lives with Xeo and Diomache in the hills after the destruction of Astakos. He forces the children to learn portions from Homer by heart, afraid they’ll become uncivilized if they’re not tutored in the virtues. Before he dies, he sends them to Athens so that they will once again have a city of their own.

Bruxieus Quotes in Gates of Fire

The Gates of Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Bruxieus or refer to Bruxieus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of Gates of Fire published in 1998.
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Listen to me, boy. Only gods and heroes can be brave in isolation. A man may call upon courage only one way, in the ranks with his brothers-in-arms, the line of his tribe and his city. Most piteous of all states under heaven is that of a man alone, bereft of the gods of his home and his polis. A man without a city is not a man. He is a shadow, a shell, a joke and a mockery. That is what you have become now, my poor Xeo. No one may expect valor from one cast out alone, cut off from the gods of his home.”

Related Characters: Bruxieus (speaker), Xeones
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Bruxieus began to fear for us. We were growing wild. Cityless. In evenings past, Bruxieus had recited Homer and made it a game how many verses we could repeat without a slip. Now this exercise took on a deadly earnestness for him. He was failing, we all knew it. He would not be with us much longer. Everything he knew, he must pass on.

Homer was our school, the Iliad and Odyssey the texts of our curriculum […] Bruxieus tutored us relentlessly in compassion, that virtue which he saw diminishing each day within our mountain-hardened hearts […]

We must have a city, Bruxieus declared.

Without a city we were no better than the wild brutes we hunted and killed.

Related Characters: Xeones (speaker), Diomache , Bruxieus
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bruxieus Character Timeline in Gates of Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Bruxieus appears in Gates of Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
On Xeo’s family’s farm lived a slave named Bruxieus, beloved and deferred to by the entire family. Bruxieus was captured and partially blinded by... (full context)
Chapter 4
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
...refugee. He and Diomache do not, after all, go into the city. They reunite with Bruxieus the next day. Their city has been annihilated, and not just physically: “the very spirit... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...The Argives sing a hymn to Zeus. Right after that, the soldiers restrain Xeo and Bruxieus, take Diomache outside, and brutally rape her. Bruxieus has to carry her away. As they... (full context)
Chapter 5
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Xeo, Diomache, and Bruxieus spend months drifting through the wilderness. Diomache is never quite the same. They occasionally run... (full context)
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
...there. Finally, after dark, Diomache sneaks in and releases him; his hands are mangled, and Bruxieus carries him off. (full context)
Chapter 6
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
That winter, Xeo, Diomache, and Bruxieus suffer through the cold in the mountains. Xeo refuses to go into the city for... (full context)
Chapter 10
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
Warfare and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Alexandros asks Xeo to tell him about his survival in the mountains with Diomache and Bruxieus. Xeo tells him that by the second summer in the hills, he and Diomache were... (full context)
Cities, Identity, and Belonging Theme Icon
But finally, Bruxieus decides that Xeo and Diomache must have a city. He wants them to go to... (full context)
Chapter 27
Faith and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Fear, Courage, and Love Theme Icon
Female Strength and Influence Theme Icon
Diomache then tells Xeo a story that she’s only told her temple sisters and Bruxieus. After she was raped by the Argive soldiers, she had had an abortion, followed by... (full context)