What Will The PERSIANS Do? What Will The GREEKS Do?
Persia was known as an Empire which allowed conquered foes to keep local government, local customs, and religions. All they needed to do was show allegiance and submission to Persia. (see clip from 300). The Athenian colony of Ionia refused to submit to a king. Darius was compelled to teach them a lesson.**Their weapons were a leather and wicker shield , a short spear with an iron point and a counterbalance on the other end, a bow with cane arrows, a quiver for them and a dagger or short sword . The regiment's uniform consisted of a tiara or soft felt cap, an embroidered long-sleeved tunic, trousers and a coat of mail.Darius inquired upon finding so many coins from Athens in destroyed Sardis; Who are the Athenians? He was informed that they had bankrolled the Ionian rebellion. He then moved against Athens with the guidance of the Athenian ousted tyrant Hippias.**The route Dariuss second attempt to quell the Athenians took. Eretria also aided in the Ionian revolt and must also be attacked.Pheidippides ran 140 miles to Sparta in 24 hours to request aid. They delayed action for a month so Pheidippides returned to Athens, 140 mile run, within days of his original trip with the bad news.**Heavily armed and armoured. The Greek's army doctrine on the other hand was of an offensive nature. Their main weapon, the long, heavy spear, their heavy armament (helmet, shield, breastplate, greaves) and their battle formation, the phalanx, favored close combat. The Greeks used neither bow nor cavalry at this time. Overlapping shields and coordinated marching which was much easier to teach citizen soldiers than hero warfare (1v1) like Achilles.*Mountains overlooking the plains of Marathon where Greeks saw the Persian arrival. And Temple of Hercules located.*The Athenian army took up its position in the Valley of Vrana, outnumbered three to one. The battle lines were about one mile apart and the Athenians did not have enough troops to cover the entire valley. Therefore, their leading General, Miltiades, set a weak center and strengthened the wings. Here were the characteristics of the two opposing armies. The Persian army consisted of infantry and excellent cavalry. Their tactics were of a defensive nature since their main weapon was the bow. Their usual tactic was to wait for the enemy to come close and then to "bury" him under a barrage of arrows.**Miltiades attacked at dawn. The Athenians charged at a run. The Persians waited, not really believing that anyoneone could run that far and still fight well. They routed the Greek weak center and charged up the valley. The Greeks retreated, pulling the Persians forward and extending their lines. Then the Greek wings fell upon the Persian flanks while the center suddenly stood firm. The Persians broke ranks and began to retreat. As the Greeks pressed, the retreat became a rout. The Greeks harried them all the way to the beach and followed them into the water, swimming out after the boats and capturing seven Persian ships.
Battle continues where the Greeks surround the Persians and force main body to flee to remaining boats. Herodotus writes that the Greeks chased them to the beach and into the sea, capturing 7 Persian Ships.
**The number 6400 is 33 1/3 times 192 an obvious exaggeration by HerotodusIn 1884, a German officer excavated a site near the Athenian tomulus and corroborated a local farmers claim that he found a burial pit with bones representing 100s of dead. It was a big win.
The Persians went on around Attica to attack Athens by sea but the Athenian army hurriedly marched back to the city ahead of them and the Persians went home.
*Realizing the potential for attack on Athens, the Greeks sent Pheidippides on yet another run from Marathon to Athens a distance of 21.4 miles. Why is the modern marathon 26.2 miles?Fast forward to the1908 Olympic Games which were held in London, England. Youre not going to believe this, but because the royal family wanted the marathons finish line to be in front of the royal familys viewing box, the course was lengthened to 26.2 miles. (The king and queen wanted the end of the race to come to them, and so the runners had to go even farther!) **Pheidippides ran to the distance and due to extreme heat died of heat exhaustion. Or so legend has it.