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Marathon(mâr`əthŏn), village and plain, ancient Greece, 20 mi (32 km) NE of Athens. Here the Athenians and Plataeans under MiltiadesMiltiades
, d. 489 B.C., Athenian general who commanded at Marathon. He succeeded his uncle as ruler (c.524 B.C.) of an Athenian dependency in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He accompanied (c.513) Darius in the Persian expedition into Scythia.
..... Click the link for more information. defeated a Persian army in 490 B.C. (see Persian WarsPersian Wars,
500 B.C.–449 B.C., series of conflicts fought between Greek states and the Persian Empire. The writings of Herodotus, who was born c.484 B.C., are the great source of knowledge of the history of the wars.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
an ancient Greek settlement on a plain of the same name in Attica (40 km northeast of Athens), in the vicinity of which a battle occurred on Sept. 13, 490 B.C., during the Greco-Persian Wars.
The Greek forces (11,000) were formed into a phalanx by the military leader Miltiades at the entrance to the Marathon valley; as a defense against a flanking movement by the Persian cavalry the strengthened flanks of the phalanx were protected by forested mountain spurs and abatis that were brought out in front. The Greeks attacked the Persians (about 20,000), who had landed by ship, with a “running march,” but they were counterattacked by Persian infantry bowmen, who broke through the weak center of the Greek phalanx. At the same time the strong elite detachments of Greeks overran the Persian cavalry and light infantry on the flanks and then defeated the Persian infantry in the center. Since the Greeks interrupted their pursuit of the Persians fleeing to the shore in order to bury their dead (192 men), the Persians managed to board their ships and sail to sea. At Marathon, Greek hoplites, moving in phalanx formation, defeated the more numerous but less organized and cohesive Persian Army.