Thursday, September 12, 2013
September 12 - Battle of Marathon
September 12, 490 BCE, is the likely date of the Battle of Marathon, fought in Attica in southern Greece during the first invasion of the Persians who, under generals of King Darius, sought to subjugate Athens and mainland Greece after a revolt by Greek colonists in Asia Minor. Athens' army was far less than half the size of the Persian forces, which had advanced across the Aegean Sea, but it blocked the two exits from the plain of Marathon and encircled and defeated the Persians. It then thwarted a surprise attack on Athens by quickly marching back to the city. The Persians fled to their ships and would not return again for another 10 years. The victory at Marathon was a pivotal moment for the young Athenian democracy, marking not only the start of its classical “golden age” – lasting nearly three centuries – but also fundamentally the birth of Western civilization. The story of the Greek messenger, Pheidippides, who brought news of the victory to Athens, then collapsed and died, is historically inaccurate but is the source of the modern “marathon” footrace.