Monday, March 24, 2014

The Battle of Marathon 490 BC

The most important event of the period 491-488 BC for the Athenian Democracy was the battle of Marathon. It is commonly regarded as one of the most significant wars in all of history.

In the year 490 BC, Darius launched a new attempt to conquer Greece. The historian Herodotus presents the campaign as having been initiated against the Greek cities of Athens and Eretria by Darius I in revenge for their support of a revolt within the Persian empire of the Ionian cities of Asia Minor in 499-494 BC.

The Persians decided to invade Greece by crossing the Aegean. After crossing the Aegean Sea, their large force reached Euboea and after a short siege, they captured Eretria.

When the Athenians heard the news, they too marched out to Marathon. Before leaving Athens for Marathon, the generals sent a herald to ask Sparta for help.

The battle took place at Marathon, a plain on Athenian territory 40 km northeast of Athens.

The Greeks emerged victorious and put an end to the possibility of Persian despotism.

The Battle of Marathon marked the first military encounter between Greeks and Persians on the Greek mainland, and although it was won through favorable circumstances and good fortune rather than by military superiority it had a huge ideological impact on the Greeks.
The Battle of Marathon 490 BC

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