The Battle of Marathon and the Origin of the Marathon
The Battle of Marathon is one of Top 10 Battles that changed history. This was a battle that took place in 490 BC between the Athenian army and the army of the Persian Empire. The Battle of Marathon had a profound effect on ancient Greek history, as well as creating major consequences for later wars. This battle marked the beginning of a new era in human history, and that is why it is still remembered today. In this article, we will dive into the analysis of the Battle of Marathon and its major influences on history.
Historical background of the Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon took place in the autumn of 490 BC, between the Athenians and the help of Plataea with the mighty Persian empire of the “king of kings” Darius I. Before that, in 551 BC, Darius The Great Emperor defeated the Media dynasty and then united Persia with the surrounding countries such as Lydia, Babylon… to become the largest empire in the world at that time.
Even the Greek city-states bowed to him. On the opposite side, ancient Greece was not what it is today, which was not a single country or distinct geographical entity but made up of many city-states. The Greeks not only lived in Greece, but also migrated to many other places such as the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Italian peninsula, the Sicilian region and even the waters of Asia Minor.
There, they formed settlements, which were the city-states at that time such as Athens, Thebes, Corinth, Sparta… and many of them developed independently, autonomously, and were not influenced by the empire. Persian regime. To expand his influence, Darius I sent messengers to Greece and demanded that the city-states pay tribute of land and water as a sign of submission, but the Spartans and Athenians refused. Angry at that action, Darius I decided to bring his army to punish and also to conquer all of Greece.
Developments of the Battle of Marathon
With more than 600 warships and nearly 100,000 troops, the Persian empire easily won over Asia Minor, then entered the sea of Attica, landed on the shores of Athens, on the beautiful Marathon field. At this time, the mighty army of Persia consisted of 60,000 infantry and 1,20,000 skilled cavalry. Most of their cavalry are nomadic, mountainous people, so they are very good at riding horses, archery or 1-1, but the disadvantage is that fighting in a systematic formation does not promote their full potential.
In addition, although this army was very large, but it came from many different small countries that had been conquered by Persia, so the connection was not high, there was a strangeness in them. In contrast, the Greek side only had 11,000 troops, but all fought with the spirit of death to keep the land and the country, would rather die than lose their freedom. The Greeks and mainly Athenians fought at least once with their comrades, although they did not have cavalry but were well trained, often fighting in Phalanx formations.
At the beginning of the battle, the Greeks arranged a Phalanx formation up to 1200m long with 8 rows of troops with the aim of fighting directly, which really surprised their opponents but still full of confidence because of their superiority in numbers. quantity. To deal with the above Greek formation, the Persian generals deployed their troops in horizontal formations, with the intention of hitting the strongest frontal part of the opponent. Despite their best efforts, due to their thin force, much less than the enemy’s, the Greek army was gradually pushed back.
The Persian cavalry and infantry took the initiative, charging in and splitting the Phalanx formation. Just like that, the two sides struggled little by little, the Athenians had to withdraw to the old line and were chased by the Persians right behind. Anticipating this possible scenario, the leader of Athens, Miltiades, suddenly ordered the two left and right sides of the Greek army to both rearrange their formation and turn to attack the flanks of the Persians. This deadly blow of Miltiades put the enemy in a difficult position, surrounded by the sons of Athens.
In a cornered situation, the Persians tried to counterattack with the desire to show their strong fighting style, but they could not defeat the Greek army’s shield, armor and high patriotism. Faced with increasing casualties on the 1st, the Persians under the command of Datis and Artaphernes decided to retreat and fled to the sea. The Greek army immediately organized a pursuit, but due to heavy armor and lack of mobility, it was not possible to kill many enemy troops.
However, this is also a historic victory for the Athenians, although the difference in force is huge, but thanks to patriotism, a reasonable fighting style and smart tactics of commander Miltiades, they won. before the most powerful empire in the world at that time. In the end, the Persian army lost more than 6,400 people, while the Greek side only had 200 killed, an unbelievable number when facing 720,000 Persian troops!
Historical significance of the Battle of Marathon
After that victory, a Greek warrior was assigned to report the victory of battle of Marathon to Athens. He ran 42km non-stop to his hometown, but unfortunately, this warrior collapsed right after he heard the good news. It is also the proud origin of today’s marathon sport.
But not only possible, Greece’s victory over Persia was only the beginning of more than 40 years of later fighting between the two sides. The latter are the landmark battles, affecting the development of the world such as Salamis, Plataea or the Battle of the Fire Gate of the Spartans, but battle of Marathon is an equally important victory, it cheers the spirit. of the Greek people, it was the historical base for the battles for more or less enemies before Persia.