By Peter Krentz

How did the city-state of Athens defeat the invaders from Persia, the 1st global empire, at the simple of Marathon in 490 BCE? shrewdpermanent students skeptical of our earliest surviving resource, Herodotus, have produced one inventive idea after one other. during this stimulating new publication, guaranteed to galvanize controversy, Peter Krentz argues that Herodotus used to be correct after all.

Beginning his research with the Athenians’ first formal contact with the Persians in 507 BCE, Krentz weaves jointly historic proof with tourists’ descriptions, archaeological discoveries, geological surveys, and the stories of contemporary reenactors and squaddies to inform his story.

Krentz argues that prior to Marathon the Athenian military fought in a far much less geared up approach than the traditional view of the hoplite phalanx indicates: as an irregularly armed mob instead of a disciplined formation of identically built infantry. At Marathon the Athenians outfitted all their combatants, together with archers and horsemen, as hoplites for the 1st time. simply because their apparatus weighed purely part up to is mostly notion, the Athenians and their Plataean allies may well cost nearly a mile at a run, as Herodotus says they did. Krentz improves in this account in Herodotus through displaying why the Athenians desired to do one of these dicy factor.

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Extra resources for The Battle of Marathon

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12 By 507, Greeks in Asia and on the northern Aegean coast knew the Persian military well. What’s missing is any record of Greeks fighting Persians in the open field. When Cyrus the Great defeated Croesus, king of Lydia, his former Greek subjects fortified their cities. But they did not come out to fight. The Persians built earth mounds against the city walls and captured them one by one, except for Miletus, which had made a treaty with Cyrus earlier, and two others, whose inhabitants abandoned their cities and sailed west.

In the 1960s looters sawed in two the wooden beam on which it was painted (Figure 12). The beam ended up in the Archäologische Staatssammlung in Munich, where it remained largely unnoticed until a German scholar, Lâtife Summerer, rediscovered it. It shows a Persian force, coming from the left, defeating a Scythian force coming from the right. In the center, the Persian commander pulls the Scythian leader forward by his beard as he stabs him in the stomach with a dagger—a stock execution scene in Achaemenid art.

The inconsequential role of Miltiades and therefore an inadequate explanation of why the battle occurred when and where it did. • The absence of the Persian cavalry, despite the fact that Herodotus says the Persians landed at Marathon because it was good cavalry country. 14 I propose to apply two principles when interpreting Herodotus. ” So, for example, when considering whether to believe Herodotus’ statement that Datis had a fleet of 600 ships, we should look at the numbers Herodotus gives for other Persian fleets.

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