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Osprey Campaign 108 : Marathon 490 BC : The First Persian Invasion of Greece

The campaign of Marathon is one of the epic stories of the ancient world. When the Ionian Revolt broke out in 499BC, led by the city of Miletus, the Ionian cities requested assistance from Greece. Sparta refused, but Athens and Eretria (on the Island of Euboea) sent small land and naval contingents. Having crushed the revolt the Persian King Darius decided to punish Athens for supporting the Ionian cities. He decided to send an amphibious expedition across the Aegean to attack Athens and Eretria. The Persians sacked Eretria and then landed at Marathon some 26 miles from Athens. The Spartans had promised help but would be delayed by a religious festival. About 9000 Athenian hoplites and supporting light troops marched to Marathon where they were joined by a small contingent from Plataea. It is probable that the absence of the Persian cavalry allowed the Greeks to advance onto the plain to face the Persians. Miltiades the Greek commander launched his hoplites against the Persians and in heavy fighting the Persians were driven back to their ships. The Persians reputedly lost 6,400 killed - the Greeks 192. A runner was sent to Athens to deliver news of the victory in the first Marathon run. Text by Nicholas Sekunda with illustrations by Richard Hook.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Historical Background
  • The Opening Stages of the Campaign
  • Greek Preparations
  • The Athenian Army
  • The Pre-Battle Phase
  • The Opening Battle
  • The Persian Rout
  • The Place of Marathon in History
  • Visiting the Battlefield
  • Bibliography
  • Index

 

Osprey Campaign


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