Greco - Persian Wars

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Battle of Marathon

The Battle of Marathon took place on 12 September 490 BC between the Persians and the Athenians. It ended in victory for Athens and marked the end of the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars.

In this battle, the Persians were outnumbered (roughly 20,000 to 30,000 men against 10,000 to 11,000 men), but the Greeks had superior weaponry, both in arms and armour.

The Greeks began the fight with a fierce attack, closing the distance between the troops as they ran to minimize the time of the Persian archers. According to the plan, the Greeks reinforced their flanks, so the Persians stopped the Greek centre and gradually began to push it back (using elite Persian troops). But the stronger Greek wings destroyed the Persian ones and began to encircle the Persians. The Persians noticed this, however, and gave a retreat, which their elite units no longer managed, and they fell in this battle. On the Greek side, however, their commander Kallimachos was killed. In the whole battle, about 6,400 Persians and only 192 Greeks were killed.

After the Persians fled to their ships, they decided to take advantage of the situation and attack Athens. Their plan failed, however, because the Athenian army was able to return in time.

The Olympic discipline of marathon running was named after this battle. Legend has it that a military messenger, Pheidippides, ran from Marathon to Athens with the result of the battle. After saying the words "We have won." ...he died of extreme exhaustion.