The Battle of Marathon: A Poem

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Advancing Greek Phalanx

The Battle of Marathon is a rhymed, dramatic, narrative-poem by Elizabeth Barrett (later Browning). Written in 1820, when Barrett was just 14, it retells powerfully The Battle of Marathon: during which the Athenian state defeated the much larger invading force during the first Persian invasion of Greece.

When Darius the Great orders his immense army march west to annex additional territories; no-one in the Persian court predicted that some fractious, independent Greek city-states stood any chance against the Persian super-power. And yet at Marathon in 490BC, Darius' plans received a decisive check in the brilliant Athenian offensive overseen by the aged but hardy Miltiades: who overran the Persian army just landed upon their coasts, cutting their opponents down to the last man.[1]

But some of the Greeks' enemies are more than mortal: Aphrodite herself swears vengeance for the actions of their forebears in destroying her beloved Troy generations ago.[2]

  • Can Miltiades continue successfully guiding his fellow Athenians to future greatness; when rival factions led by Themistocles and Aristides grow only stronger day by day?
  • Can even Jove himself protect the Athenians he loves from the whimsical - but fatal - wiles of his daughter, the goddess of love?

References[edit]

  1. ^ Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. London: Oxford University Press, 1908. pp. 5-28.
  2. ^ Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. London: Oxford University Press, 1908. pp. 10-11.

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