Published to coincide with Marathon's 2500th anniversary, a riveting history of the historic battle.
The Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. is not only understood as the most decisive event in the struggle between the Greeks and the Persians, but can also be seen as perhaps the most significant moment in our collective history.
10,000 Athenian citizens faced a Persian military force of more than 25,000. A Greek victory appeared impossible, but the men of Athens were tenacious and the Persians were defeated. Following the battle, the Athenian hoplite army ran 26.5 miles from Marathon to Athens to defend their port from the Persian navy. Although they had just run the great distance in heavy armor, the Athenians won the battle and drove the Persian forces from Attica. Greek freedom ensued and the achievements of the culture became much of the basis for Western civilization.
In this comprehensive and engrossing treatment, Richard Billows captures the drama of that day 2500 years ago and the ramifications it has had throughout Western history.
"Acutely sensitive... Billows, taking the long view, sees Marathon as preserving Athenian democracy and thus all that we think of as our classical heritage." (Wall Street Journal)
"The story's a classic: An outnumbered band of Athenians pushes back the mighty Persian army. But the battle of Marathon, 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece, left a legacy that extends far beyond the name of a famous race." (National Public Radio)
"Even if you¹re tough enough to survive the New York City Marathon, you'd probably have little chance to survive the original race in which Greek messenger Pheidippides ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the Persians. Historian Billows argues that Pheidippides' run, which inspired the modern marathon race, introduced at the Athens Olympic Games of 1896, was a lot more challenging -- a 280-mile round-trip jog to Sparta to ask for aid, with the entire Greek army in tow." (New York Post )
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Effectively evokes the world of ancient greece
- Nikoli Gogol