Battle of Marathon
By: Monica Dai

The Battle of Marathon is the first of the Persian Wars of Persia and Greece. The Athenian tyrant Hippias was angry at the Athenians for overthrowing him and allied with the Persians. The Persians started the battle with Eretria. The Eretrians closed the city gates but some people let the Persians in the back door of the gates. Eretria was then conquered by the Persians. The Athenians would've been safe behind the city gates, but were afraid of the chance of a betrayer, like the Eretrians. The Persians landed at Marathon in the September of 490 BC. Athens decided to fight the Persians.

The Persian armada of 600 ships accompanied with an infantry and cavalry of 20,000 severely outnumbered the Athenian hoplite warriors of 10,000 both marched to meet each other just north of Athens at the city Marathon. They sent Pheidippides (fie-DIP-IH-dees) to Sparta to ask for back-up. Sparta had the strongest army in Greece and Athens was sure they could defeat Persia. Pheidippides arrived at Sparta in two days, but Sparta would not go help until the full moon, because of religious reasons. Athens allied with the Plataeans, which were neighbors of Athens. Miltiades (mill-TIE-ah-dees), a Greek general, divided the army into three sections, the left and right wing and the center wing. He made the plan to have the center pretend to be defeat and fall back. When the Persians started to chase, the two wings would attack from both sides. About 6400 Persians were killed while only about 192 Athenians were slaughtered.

The defeated Persians retreated for their ships but the Greeks raced after them. When the ships set sail, the Persians were still pursued by the Greeks. There, many Greeks lost their lives. When they saw a sign flash the Persian commanders led their ships to Sunium and Phalerum. The battle at Marathon lasted under three hours!

Even though the battle at Marathon was won, the war was only half won. A messenger was sent 24 miles to tell Athens the news of the victory. When the messenger arrived and uttered the words 'NENIKIKAMEN' (we are victorious), he died of exhaustion and battle injuries. When Athens knew the Persians were coming, they prepared to fight for their lives. Old men, women, and children all prayed to Athena and picked up their weapons, ready to face the Persians. The Athenian warriors arrived just in time and lined up to defend their city. The Persians saw them and immediately headed back to Asia. The Persian king Darius wasn't mad but welcomed the defeated Persians because of the slaves they brought back. Just because of the Persian's retreat, no more Athenians were killed and won the Battle of Marathon with only 192 dead Athenians, according to Herodotus.
Battle of Marathon Image.jpg
The Greek hoplites and Persian infantry and cavalry at the city Marathon, where the so many Persians lost their lives.



Works Cited


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