The battle of marathon: date, summary, diagram


2018-03-18 17:30:22




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In the history of many countries of the world there are iconic battles, which become a symbol for future generations. For Russia's Borodino and Stalingrad, France – the lifting of the siege of Orleans, for the Serbs-battle of Kosovo field. Similar to the role the Greeks played a Marathon battle. A summary of the content, causes and consequences of this battle will be discussed below. Victory in this battle not only allowed the ancient Greeks to assert their independence, but also to create conditions conducive to further unite them into a single force before the external program.


In the VI century BC on the territory of the Middle East was the biggest power of that time-the Persian Empire. In a number of wars in a relatively short period of time she won and conquered such great States as the Medes, Babylon, Lydia and Egypt. The Persians were also seized numerous Greek city-States located on the territory of Asia Minor, in modern Turkey.

marathon battle date

In 499 BC these city-States rebelled against Persian rule. Significant support was provided by Athens, which at that time, due to a number of outstanding statesmen who conducted democratic reforms, have become the most important political and economic role among all the Greek city-States.

But the uprising was crushed by the Persian army. But for the Persians themselves, the intervention of Athens in the Affairs of the Empire was a good opportunity for organization expansion on the Balkan Peninsula, the capture of which they have long dreamed of.


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The Beginning of the war

In 492 BC on the orders of the Persian king Darius I conquered Thrace - a country located at the borders of Greece. Then the master of the Empire sent an ultimatum to all the city-States of Greece, demanding to recognise its supremacy. Almost all policies of Greece, fearing the power of the Persians, humbly fulfilled this requirement, with the exception of freedom-loving Athens and Sparta.

Determined to punish the Athenians for insubordination, Darius I sent in 490 BC to their conquest of the expedition led by the son of his sister Artaphernes. The Persians easily conquered the island Nakoso and landed on Euboea, the island that housed the Union of Athens town of Eretria. During the heavy siege of the troops of Darius managed to capture this policy, taking advantage of the treachery of the local people. The city was amenable to the brutal plunder and its inhabitants were enslaved.

After this the Persian force sailed towards Attica, the Greek region, where Athens was located. There they landed near the small town of Marathon. Exactly what happened is significant for the Greeks the battle of Marathon. Date 12 September 490 BC was truly iconic.

Before the battle

As soon As the Athenians learned of the landing of the forces of Darius near their city, they immediately sent an army to meet them. It was quite a surprise for the Persians decision, because they thought relatively few in number, the army of Athens would prefer to keep the siege in the walls of the city, not to meet in excess of their numbers of the enemy in the open field.

the battle of marathon grade 5

However, the Greeks themselves took this decision, despite the fact that the Athenians came to the aid of residents Plata. But the commander Miltiades managed to convince the Supreme commander of Callimachus in the necessity of this step. His eloquent speech convinced other strategists do not wait for the troops of the Spartans, which was soon to come to the rescue, and as early as possible to start the battle, known in history as the battle of Marathon. The plan consisted in surprise. The General Council command in the upcoming battle Miltiades was requested.

The enemy

According to historians, the Greek army consisted of 9,000-10,000 Athenians and 1,000 plateau. The main force of Hellenic troops were hoplites, organised in a phalanx. To break such a system, composed of disciplined and experienced soldiers, was extremely difficult. On the right flank of the Greek army was the Hoplite, headed by Callimachus, in the center - soldiers from Athens Phil Antioxide and Leontini, under the leadership, respectively, of Aristide and Themistocles, the hero of the future Salaminskiy naval battles, and on the left flank are thousands of plateau.

marathon battle summaries

Far more numerous was the Persian army. According to experts, it consisted of 25,000 foot soldiers and a thousand horsemen. Although ancient historians to embellish the victory of the Greeks lead numbers 200 and even 600 thousand people. But the qualitative composition of the Persian army was much worse than Athens, as it is, in contrast to the monolithic Greek phalanx, consisted of a rather disparate units and different tribes. Not all of them were properly equipped. Besides, the Greeks were much, are motivated, because they fought for their freedom and land, unlike the Persian soldiers going to war for the sake of the interests of the king.

The Battle

The battle of Marathon began with the onslaught of the Greeks. Separating them from the Persians a mile, they literally ran, although this seems unlikely, because the Athenian hoplites were heavily armed soldiers.

battle of marathon

First, the strongest Central part of the Persian armies pushed units Phil Antioxide and Leontini, and began their persecution. But the Hellenic army was pretty strong flanks, while the Persians they consisted of loosely organized and poorly armed tribes. For this reason, in these areas the Athenians and plataci triumphed over the enemy. But, unlike the Persians, they started to chase the fleeing enemy, and turned their guns against the center of the army of Darius. Thus, in this area the Greeks managed to achieve a decisive superiority of forces. This maneuver drew in the panic of the Persian army, and it began to flee to their ships.

This time the Greeks did not stop persecution and rushed in pursuit of a completely lost battle the enemy. As a result, in addition to the many dead, was captured 7 Persian ships, the Greeks concluded with the complete victory of Marathon the battle. The schema of this momentous battle below.

marathon battle scheme

The battle

The Athenians, together with the residents Plata, of course, won the Marathon battle. The plan of Miltiades has fully justified itself. About this serious historians have different points of view. But the number of victims estimates vary considerably.

But reasonable to challenge the numbers announced almost a contemporary of the events, Herodotus, due to the lack of material and documentary base, no one can. He talks about the 192 dead Greeks and 6,400 Persians. And among the dead Greeks were famous figures, such as Callimachus and Cinegear.

Running life

As soon As the battle of Marathon, the Greeks sent a messenger to Athens Eucla with the joyful tidings of triumph. He was so eager to please their peers, which ran 40 kilometers which separates Marathon from his native town, literally in one breath. Ran to the town square, he told the citizens of the Polis the victory and then died of a broken heart.

marathon battle summaries

However, the historical accuracy of this legend is highly questionable, but one of the most popular athletics disciplines, such as running 42.195 km, the marathon is called.

Significance of the battle of Marathon

The Marathon battle by no means put an end to the aspirations of the Persians to gain a foothold in the Balkans, in particular to conquer Greece. It is only 10 years delayed the plan when an even more numerous army of Xerxes, son of Darius, invaded Greece. But it is the memory of this victory inspired then the Greeks a hopeless seemed the resistance. The battle of marathon showed that even a small force can defeat a large but poorly organized army of invaders.

The Memory of the battle of Marathon

The Memory of this victory was not lost relevance over the millennia. Such a significant place in the hearts of the Greeks held a Marathon battle. The date has always been sacred to the Greeks. But this battle was significant not only for one people, she was important to world history. This may testify at least that in any school textbook on ancient history battle of Marathon lit. Grade 5 in Russian schools obligatory studying this topic in history class. Every educated person should know about the event.

Now only the obelisk says that on the spot where now rises a hill, there was a Marathon battle. This photo of the memorial sign can be observed below.

the battle of marathon photo

The Memory of the battle of Marathon lives in every human heart, ready to give their lives for the freedom and independence of the Motherland.


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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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