Published on December 11, 2007
BATTLE OF MARATHON, 490 B.C.: BATTLE OF MARATHON, 490 B.C. Learning objectives Explain the political situation which provided the backdrop of the battle Explain Darius’ military strategies Explain conduct of the battle from the Persian perspective Explain conduct of the battle IRT geographic factors and 2 competing military systems Battle of Marathon, 490 b.c.: Battle of Marathon, 490 b.c. SITUATION Darius previously squashed Ionian revolt, which Athens supported in 494BC. Darius undertakes Marathon campaign to: punish, secure supply lines, gain foothold for attk in Thrace, prevent another Greek revolt, expand his empire Possible courses of action: Land or Sea? Slide3: ATHENS SPARTA Slide4: CONDUCT OF THE BATTLE POLITICAL Athenians - Miltiades - Head ofAthenian aristocracy. Hegemonic general and leader. Persians Darius - Master of the Empire. - Hippias- exiled Athenian - Athenian democrat. MILITARY Athenians - Miltiades w/ 10,000 troops Coalitians- Spartans, 600 Plataeans Persians- Datis w/ 10-15,000 troops Artaphernes w/ 600 galleys early CATF/CLF Slide5: Factors affecting decisions to use the sea vice through Macedonia. Darius’ Failed Thracian campaign of 492B.C. (land campaign supported by the fleet, which was destroyed while trying to pass the promontory of Mount Athos in a storm). Punish Athens for supporting Ionian revolt. Embarrassment.. Slide7: Persians land near Marathon, where the beach is favorable and the terrain favors their cavalry and long range tactics, hoping to sucker the Athenians out and leaves Athens undefended. Recommended by Hippias, a 80 year-old exiled Athenian. Athenians take the bait, marching out with their army of soldiers to meet the Persians 26 miles away at Marathon. Persians offload and establish beachhead uncontested. Militades watches and waits in the hills, waiting for Sparta. Callimachus,the polemarch and Militades use the terrain to protect theirArmy. Slide8: BATTLE OF MARATHON Detachment of Persian Fleet During Battle Persian Fleet Before the Battle Promontory GREEK ENCAMPMENT Slide9: being Hoplites, (from the name of their large round shields called hoplons). They were armed with a long spear or pike and sword. Hoplite armies fought each other hand-to-hand in the dense Phalanx formation. Fighting at close range in such a formation required a commitment to training and discipline that became a way of life. Hoplites were the best infantry soldiers in the world for many centuries. U Slide10: Datis knew that Athens was defenseless with all of its soldiers at Marathon. The Persians decide to reembark and double around Cape Sunium Athenians humped the 26 miles back to Athens and were in position to defend before Persians could arrive at Athens. When Datis and his fleet arrived, they lingered awhile off shore but had no intentions of fighting a second battle. Out-smarted twice in one day, the Persians went back home. Cape Sunium ATHENS Slide11: DISCUSSION POINTS shock action of the Athenians vs. the Cavalry and missiles of the Persians (the wishbone vs. the run and shoot) USE OF AMPHIB CAPABILITY MANEUVER STRENGTH VS. WEAKNESS SURPRISE AUDACITY- speed- Athenians closed the last 200 m very rapidly, negating the effects of the Persians’ missiles Slide12: DISCUSSION POINTS The first large scale amphib op in recorded history. To carry their cavalry, the Persians used special horse transport ships - not used at Marathon. When did the Greeks attack? Why? Slide13: DISCUSSION POINTS Which terrain favored who?? Could they have landed other places? Had Marathon gone the other way… (Nice to know info) The most popular of the architectural wonders of Athens was the Acropolis. This was built on top of a hill, and was the ancient temple of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, practical arts, and warfare.