Battle of Marathon Facts
In 490 BC ancient Greece was under attack by the seemingly unstoppable Persian Empire. In August or September of 490 BC the Persians sent their fleet down the coast of
attack the Greek city-state of Athens. The Persians landed approximately 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) north of Athens at the bay of Marathon where they were met by the
Greatly outnumbered the Greek warriors would emerge victorious winning what many historians call one the most important battles in history. In the facts listed below
discover just why this battle is considered so important, how the outnumbered Greeks won, and other interesting information about this battle.
Interesting Battle of Marathon Facts
- The battle of Marathon took place during the first Persian invasion of Greece. The invasion was launched by the Persian ruler King Darius who wanted to subjugate
the people of
- This was an extremely important victory for ancient Greece. It was the first time they were able to defeat the Persians and gave them confidence that they could
hold off the
invasion of the mighty Persian forces.
- Many historians regard the Greek victory at Marathon as one of the most important events in history. This is because the victory spurred ancient Greece on to repel
invasion and allowed Greek civilization to continue and enter its golden age which contributed so much to the world and was the foundation of western
- Legend has it that after the battle a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran from the battlefield to Athens, a distance of about 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) in order
deliver the good news that the battle had been won. It is said that upon arriving in Athens and delivering his message he dropped dead from exhaustion. This legend is
modern day marathon race gets its name.
Battle of Marathon Details
- In either August or September of 490 BC the Persian King sent his navy to attack Athens. He sent the Persian navy down the Greek coastline where they landed
miles (40.2 kilometers) north of Athens at the bay of Marathon.
- The Greek Army was led by the Athenian general Miltiades.
- The Persian Army was led by the naval commander Datis and Artaphernes a Persian general who was the nephew of Darius the Great.
- To protect Athens the Greek Army blocked in the Persian Army at Marathon.
- The Athenians were greatly outnumbered by the Persians. It is estimated that around 10,000 Greek soldiers faced a force of at least 25,000 Persians; with some
- The Athenians requested help from the powerful Greek city-state of Sparta. Sparta did not send help due to their being in the middle of a religious festival. They
did say they
would send help after the festival.
- About 1,000 soldiers from the ancient Greek city of Plataea did rush to help the Athenians and proved crucial in the battle.
- After several days of a standoff and without assistance from Sparta, the battle began. It is unclear how it started. One theory is that the Greeks believed the
loading their ships to sail up the coast to Athens and the Greeks attacked to prevent this. Another theory is the Persians attacked the Greeks which was followed by an
Greek counter attack.
- The Main reason the Greeks were able to defeat the Persians were their ability to protect themselves from the arrows launched by the Persian archers. The tight
knit Greek battle
formation known as the phalanx involved soldiers locking shields together for protection. They quickly launched their assault against the archers who the Persians were
on to decimate the Greeks.
- The Greek advance was fierce and surrounded the Persians causing them to flee back to their ships; several of the ships were captured.
- After the battle the Athenians rushed back to Athens to protect the city from a possible second attack by the Persians. The Persians sailed back to Asia giving up
invasion of Greece.