Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon (ancient Greek: Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος) was one of the most significant battles of the Greco-Persian wars between Athens and the Persians. e. In 490. The armies of Darius I collided with the Greek army led by Miltiades. The battle, which ended in Greek victory, is largely known from the description of Herodotus.
The place of battle in the history of war
I. e. In 500/499, the Ionians of Asia Minor, led by the Aristagorean militian tyrant, revolted against Persian rule. The Ionian uprising was also supported by two Greek polis, Athens and Eretria, with more symbolic forces.
Persian ruler Darius I — although he successfully defeated the uprising — was convinced by events that his rule over the Aegean would only be solid if he secured it from the west, in mainland Greece as well. The excuse for the war was that the Athenians violated the i. e. In 508 he made a treaty with the Persians.
The first attack i. e. It started in 492, but failed without any substantive battle. Darius then tried diplomatically: he sent envoys to Greek cities to ask for land and water. Several areas complied with the demand, acknowledging the supremacy of the Persians.
(The symbolic power of the request for land and water lives on in Hungarian history, see the saying of the white horse.) However, according to Herodotus, the Athenians and Spartans not only rejected Darius' claim, but also killed the ambassadors, which was equally contrary to contemporary law. as it is today. In Athens a mess was thrown into a ravine, and into a well in Sparta, saying that they would bring the land and water from there to the king. This was followed by a second attack, the main target of which was Athens. The main battle of the campaign took place at Marathon.
After the battle, there was a ten-year hiatus in the Greco-Persian war, partly in Darius. e. Due to his death in 486 and the rebellions of other peoples against Persia. By no means, however, can this interpretation be interpreted as meaning that the Battle of Marathon would have shaken the Persian Empire.
The Persian Force
The main strength of the Persians lay in the cavalry and infantry archers, who dealt an unexpected blow to the enemy with a rapid movement and then retreated to attack from another direction. Therefore, the Persians avoided melee because the bows were effective from a greater distance and because their light blood and shields did not provide sufficient protection.
The two leaders of the army were the sons of Dathis and Arthaphren, or Artaphernes, the brother of Darius of the same name. As a military adviser, they also took with him the son of Piscistratos, Hippias, the expelled Tyrannos of Athens, who had previously lived in the Persian court, and whom Darius now wanted to head to Athens to represent his interests on Greek soil. and ions) also served in large numbers, probably not in part by the Persians. The infantry archers were mostly the sons of various subjugated peoples belonging to Asia Minor, Central Asia, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Egypt, and the Persian Empire. Part of the cavalry was not Persian, but consisted of equestrian nomadic warriors from Central Asia or present-day Afghanistan.
The Athenian Army
The Athenians made only heavy infantry, hoplites, for the battle, equipped with a short iron sword and a three-meter-long, iron-tipped spear. Their bronze helmets also protected their noses and faces. They wore breastplates, leg armor, a skin bandage on their hands, and protected their bodies with a heavy bronze shield (aspis). This equipment made them suitable primarily for melee combat.