Talk:Battle of Marathon

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Good article Battle of Marathon has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Good topic star Battle of Marathon is part of the Battles of the Greco-Persian Wars series, a good topic. This is identified as among the best series of articles produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.

Outdated and horrible article[edit]

This entire article reeks of outdated and horrible "scholarship". I'll give a few examples - Miltiades shouted "Rush at them", not "At them". Secondly it is entirely plausible and highly likely that the Greeks ran straight at the Persian lines. Firstly it was necessary so that the Persians couldn't muster their cavalry which would have decimated the Greeks. Secondly they weren't sprinting - it would have been more of a jog and still have taken them ~10 minutes to run what was roughly a mile. Thirdly the weight of hoplite armour has been greatly exagerrated and recent scholarship reflects this; full armour (which few hopolites would have had as they had to supply their own) would only be ~55-70% of previous estimated. Fourthly Greeks of this time were mostly farmers who were used to long, hard physical labour and thus would be in an excellent physical condition - much stronger and fitter than almost all modern men. Fifthly, the order of battle maps are horribly wrong; the Persians assembled in battle line in front of their camp which did not face the sea there and if it did, where were the horses? Why couldn't they have mustered them? That "marsche" was at that time probably sea and the Persian camp was near there, with the horses located beyond it in the hills.


I've added two GIFs depicting the battle of Marathon ܐܵܬܘܿܪܵܝܵܐ 16:21, 2 October 2010 (UTC)


The text of this article states, "Darius learned through Hippias that the Alcemaeonidae, a powerful Athenian family, were opposed to Miltiades and ready to help reinstate Hippias."

This sounds doubtful. The Alcmaeonidae included some of the leading supporters for the democracy, didn't they? In that case they would hardly have wanted to reinstate Hippias, and Miltiades was never really in charge of anything. <- Miltiades was given command of the battle; I'd say that is fairly substantial.

The text also states, "Hippias, tyrant of Athens, had been expelled in 510 BC by his people, with the assistance of Cleomenes, King of Sparta. He fled to the court of Darius to seek assistance." The link for Hippias goes to Hippias of Elis, a Sophist. The article there gives no hint that Hippias of Elis was also the "tyrant of Athens." I presume that these were two different people, so the link is incorrect. If they were in fact the same person, then the article about Hippias of Elis should be updated.

Well, the Hippias problem is for the rest, Hippias may have been lying to Darius to convince him to invade, but I don't really know that particular aspect of the story. Adam Bishop 04:17, 29 Oct 2003 (UTC)

07/19/2004--- News out now that the battle date is possibly off by 1 month. The source I read put the date at August 12, explaining why the runner died after running the distance--heat stroke.

Link for that. It talks about it being a month earlier than the current Sept. 12 thinking, but I think that would be a lunar month, rather than a 30 or 31 day month. So it would probably be more like Aug. 13 to 15 or so.-- John Owens (talk) 19:10, 2004 Jul 19 (UTC)

That info about the moon and the Spartan calendar is interesting, but I wouldn't want to change the date based on the Phidippides story, which may never have happened anyway...I think there should be some corroborating sources as well, this sounds like the sort of thing that might have been published in a journal somewhere. Adam Bishop 03:25, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

This was recently added:

"According to a new interpretation of the legend, Philippides was retreating from the battlefield of Marathon after the Persians gained the upper hand. According to the Dipakavani (an ancient commentary recently found in the Deccan Plateau of India), Philippides was being chased by a battalion on horseback, and could cover the said distance only because of his tremendous skill as a runner, presumably honed while on job as a professional messenger. The original legend concerning the message to be delivered seems to be a corruption entertained by Herodotus as a result of the known resume of Philippides, who was famed as a Olympian runner."

Through Google, at least, there is no evidence for this; Dipakavani does not show up at all. If this has been published anywhere, then we can put it back. Adam Bishop 16:09, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The number of Persian soldiers is exaggerated. They were no more than 20,000, more probably 15,000. These numbers can be derived by the fact that the Greeks, in order to have a front line equal to the Persian one, were compelled to deploy the central tribes on 4 ranks, instead than on 8, as usual: counting the Platea contingent, the Greek army had a front line of about 1,500 m. We can therefore assume the same length for the Persian army. The latter was formed by the 'artisbara' in the middle, the opilites (about 4,000) and the other Persian troops (about 5,000) on the wings, and the Scitian archers (2,000) in front of the 'artisbara'. Subtracting the front of the winger troops from the total (about 450 m) the result is the length of the 'artisbara' formation: about 1,000 m. Even adopting two ranks for the 'artisbara', they could be no more than 10,000 men, that is a 'baivarabam'. The total amount is therefore about 20,000 men. --Panairjdde 17:02, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well presumably the 26 000 comes from adding up the numbers in Herodotus. If so, that's a surprisingly accurate guess, if your estimate is 20 000 - usually Herodotus would have a wildly exaggerated number. Adam Bishop 07:06, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Persian Intentions[edit]

Since it was obvious from the Persians' disposition that they did not intend to march to Athens, the Athenians waited for the Spartans. For eight days the armies peacefully confronted each other.

What did the Persians intend to do? AFAIK they wanted to march to Athens, but the Greek Army blocked the way in a position that was hard to attack. It should clarified why the persians didn't move. Nevfennas

Casualty Rates[edit]

I find the whole concept of one sided casualty rates such as the Battle of Marathon given as fact a bit too much to beleive. For two armies adding to 30,000 men coming into contact assuming that at least 10% of the men actually engaged each other in hand to hand combat to state such a a low death rate for the Greeks seems more fiction than fact. 3000 men attacking each other at close range would generate more casualty than 300 men on either side.

I also know that the Battle of Marathon derives majority of its facts from the winning side and is part of our folk lore.

As a military history fan I tend to try and recreate battles in my mind to see if they pass the basic math and real life situations. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 22:30, January 4, 2006.

I agree, the fact that only 192 died for greece compared to 6400 persians seems very hard to swallow this would mean every one Greek killed more than thirty persians. I have also heard of an equation or formula used by Herodotus marathon and other greek victories that determined both strength and casualties. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Arvand (talk • contribs) 02:52, January 15, 2006.

I've read that at Salamis the Persians had the habit of multiplyimg the greek casualties by factor 4 for their records. However the large ratio at Marathon may not be as unbelievable as it seem. The Greek Hoplites were far better armoured and had longer weapons. Especially the persian archers were probably ill-suited for close-combat with a Hoplite, so once the Greek managed to get to them after breaking through the Persian Infantry, it was probably a one-sided battle. Nevfennas 10:11, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, as the article suggests, there was enough hand-to-hand combat in the center for the Greeks to retreat. Surely it had to do with casualties. Troops do not retreat from success. Also I played the part of the Greeks charging 200 yards in full armor. Admittedly I am out of shape, but running 200 yards with full battle gear as the article suggests, against a foe that is primarily made of archers (assuming 2 volleys fired; again I would argue perhaps more volleys were fired, assume half of the troops could fire, that makes it 20,000 arrows in the air...), and battling long enough for the middle to collapse and it causing and inadvertent double envelope seems more Hollywood than fact. Either fewer troops fought on that day and the victor, as you suggested, embellished the numbers, or similar to most battles of antiquities, casualty rates were very low due to lack of lethality of weapons and combat tactics. I state these points since the title of the article misleads the reader into thinking that Herodotus' account is factual. It jumps between fact and recount according to Herodotus. I would suggest the title should be "Battle According to Herodotus" unless there are other independent works that tell of the battle factually. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 04:32, January 24, 2006.

Another factor could be that the Greeks held the field at the end of the day- they would have killed any Persian wounded, whereas Greek casualties would have been cared for. Also, the figure may take into account those Persians who drowned in the local swaps. Canislupisbarca (talk) 18:11, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Swap pictures?[edit]

Would anyone have any objections to replacing the landscape scene currently showing in the infobox with Image:Hoplite72.JPG, which shows a hoplite about to stab a Persian? It seems slightly more fitting to me. RobthTalk 20:40, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Eh. Scratch that. The quality's too low. I'd still like to see it replaced with something more battle-related, though. RobthTalk 03:43, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
No I personally prefer the plains of marathon today, its mute testimony to the events that occurred 2500 years ago, I prefer no so bias images.

I have a picture of the plain showing the athenian burial mound with mts in background I took last fall. Any objection to post this picture? GeoTraveller 21:06, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Accuracy of enemy numbers[edit]

Before anyone gives histerical numbers like 210 000 to 600,000 as ancient sources or modern estimates of 50,000-60,000 for persian numbers, can that individual provide some links to back up such funny stats. Also, this site is not intended to show patriotism, in this case Greek patriotism. Thank you.

Herodotus does not give numbers for the Persians as erroneously stated in the warbox. He only says it was "a large and well-equipped land-army" (book VI p. 94), see for example the english Herodotus translation at As for the 50,000-60,000 number see among others Ikokki 08:07, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I am not advocating a Liakopoulos-style claim that Greeks are inherently superior from all others because they are descendants of extraterrestials or gods (take your pick) and thus it is most reasonable that due to their racial superiority they beat up the barbarians despite huge numerical disadvantage. The only advantage that the Greeks had over their enemies was superior armament, superior physical ability and superior tactic. If anything the battle of Gaza in 201 BC showed that there was no racial superiority. I have added a few links to back up these numbers, probably I will add a couple more before I sleep tonight. Anyway the small numbers seem ridiculus. They originate from a time (late 19th- early 20th century), the height of modern imperialism when feelings of superiority of the industrial powers over other cultures lead to excesses. If 20,000 were the expeditionarry force and half of it landed in Eretria and half at Marathon (as originally said in the article) then the 10,000 lightly armed and probably un-athletic archers were an opportunity to attack to get loot for the hoplites, not a threat of the type that would lead half the generals to insist that the best course of action was to get locked up behind the wall. The landing force was most likely larger than the army Athenians and allies could hope to raise. Since there were 34,000 rowers at Salamis and 8,000 hoplites at Plataea, the military potential of Athens (every man between 18-55) was probably over 40,000 in 490 BC. This seems as a minimum rather than a maximum. Ikokki 19:48, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Some believe that the reason the battle occured after the long stalemate was that the Persians had decided to retreat to their ships. This seems believable, as they had to assume that Spartas troops would be arriving soon, so continuing the stalemate would not bring them any benefit (of course this could also explain a persian decision to finally attack the Greeks). If the persians were in the process of embarking and the Greek decided to exploit that with an attack they would have waited until a good part of the persians were already on the ships. This would have eliminated any threat from the persian cavalry, as embarking the horses was a more complex process than embarking the troops and would have been done first. By this way the persians could well have a 6 to 1 superiority in the overall numbers, but far less troops actually able to fight on the battlefield. Add to that the better equipment of the Hoplites and the confusions arising from the unusal fast charge of the Greek and you can easily imagine that the persian troops still on land lost their order during the onslaught. And once the persians were in a rout or pushed into the sea the casualty rate 32:1 starts getting quite believable, cause most of these were not killed fighting the Greek, but killed/drowned trying to run from them.Nevfennas 21:05, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Interesting, so you give me one source other than the proven exaggerated claims of Herodotus, and that is a Greek site, written Greek. Take into consideration that though 20 000 seems like too little for a 600 ship originally expedition, half of the force was wiped out by sea. There may have been anywhere from 40,000-50,000 originally on the Persian forces, but after the storm and by the time they reached the number was indedd closer to 20,000-26000.

Here are some non Greek, non Persian sites, for now they outnumber your's care to show any more sources with such high numbers that are also please not Greek, and show its blind patriotism with a Greek flag on the front.

These sites below all back my stats and arguments.

Also if you ever wish to know a more accurrate stat on persian forces when ever they faced the Greeks, take the Herodotus claimed number and divide it by 10, this usually gives one a far more accurrate reading.

half of the force was wiped out by sea what exactly are you referring to? I can't find these losses in the article unless you mean the ships lost in the storm at Cape Athos. But that was an operation 2 years earlier. The persian army at marathon had not yet suffered major losses, save a possible detached force laying siege to Eretria. Nevfennas 19:39, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

None of the sites you mention how they calculated the numbers. On the other hand I've already put two ways in the text that calculate the big numbers. I'll give you a third: If the Persians had a 2,000-front and fought in thirty ranks as Xenophon mentions in "Cyrus's education" here are 60,000. If and when you change back the number on the warbox GIVE ALSO IN THE TEXT WHY THE NUMBER WAS LOW. Do not create contradicitons between the warbox and the text. When was the storm you mention? Neither Herodotus nor any historian mentions any storm in Darius's second campaign. While there were losses in Eretria, they were not really significant since there was no real battle. I've heard the Herodotus 10 rule. It dates from the time when there was much less respect for his work than now. So, the Persians came with 60 ships? Naxos, Eretria and Athens and Sparta could match that in 490 BC. Were there 170,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry in Thermopylae? The Alliance of Corinth plus Thessaly, Argos, Thebes, Crete and the northern Greek states could match that, why not face the Persian Army in the open plain of the Strymon valley, the limit of the greek world back then? Was the Persian fleet 121 ships? Athens alone had more. Does Herodotus exxagerate? Yes he does. But not THAT much, he was a historian, not a logographos .

I think I now see you problem, we have confused the first expedition and second expedition to Greece. This really large force you are talking about that took on Sparta and Corinth came later on Xerxes, when the grand invasion began in 480 BCE. Marathon occurred shortly after the breaking of the rebellions in Ionia because Darius felt the revolts would never be put down until mainland greece was finished first. On the Persian's first expedition Darius severly underestimated the Greeks taking not many forces. When he gets pushed back, Xerxes plans the second invasion that came ten years after 490 BCE one. Xerxes was present on the first expedition so he decided that to next time take a much larger force. I think you have mistkaed Darius' and Xerxes' expeditions haven't you? By the way, I don't mind the current 20,000-60,000 range, to me that is a good one.

Furthermore, you have shown only Herodotus accounts (known bias and exaggeration) and a patriotic Greek site. If you can find 4-5 other sources that have the same stats then we will have a tie. Also the 10 policy is only meant for stats on the 1st expedition not the second. On the second involving Xerxes, Herodotus just starts pullimg numbers out of his ass like plataea, there is no longer a constant formula he usues to calculate strength and casualties. Like, consider 159 casualties for Greeks at Plataea, I'm sorry thats just bull, it seems to be Greek writers on their own history especially regarding wars are not reliable. Romans do a better job usually, hence Plutarch's number of 1360 casualties at plataea.

Also the war box and article was uniform, until you came along and made several bias changes, several admins had come to a consensus. Don't accuse me, everything was fine and agreed upon before.

There were three Persian invasions in Greece, in 492 BC by Mardonius which ended after a storm off Cape Athos, the second in 490 BC by Datis and Artafernes which ended in Marathon and the third by Xerxes in 480 BC that ended in Plataea. I did not change the numbers mister anonymous without references, which the original article did not have. There is no reason mr anonymous why modern greek writers should be biased on their history, no moral gain comes from claiming to defeat larger forces than they did. Plutarch BTW was Greek, from Kynos Kefales in Boeotia, he only lived in the Grecoroman era (30 BC - 330 AD). His biographies are in 8th grade ancient greek literature courses. Herodotus is biased in favor of his patrons Athens and Sparta, he is not Thucydides, but unlike logographers for example Ecateus he travelled in the Greek world and the Persian empire,as far as Egypt in order to gain information for his book. He was not a thorough checker of his sources but wrote down the numbers he heard from his hosts, he did not make them up out of the blue, mr anonymous. And if you have anything to add in the text why the numbers were small, add them. This is what wikipedia is supossed to be about mr anonymousIkokki 23:21, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Hey bud, Why did the tone get so bad all of a sudden, I would like to add I have no grudges against you right now. Thanks for the correction on Plutarch though. The first operation in 492BCE you were talking about wasn't that not so much the goal to capture Greece but darius' desire to have a foothold in Europe by capturing Macedonia and Thrace. I did not realize capturing Greece was a priority in that mission, I just thought it was to quell rebellions in Ionia and capture Thrace and Macedonia. The current stats in the article I prefer, for you have kindly put both, the sources for 20,000-26,000 with the sources I gave you and the ones you preferred, which I have no objection to, as long as there is both sides of the stories, something with such varying numbers should have both sets of numbers. I also appreciate you inserted those sources and the numbers 20,000 into the article, I was a little hesitant for I am still a little computer iliterate, and feared I would screw up the formatting of the page. I currently like the current state of numbers. We have a wider range of numbers for the Persian numbers with sources backing the lower end and higher end. This way the readers and users have both sets and can make their own interpretations and perspectives and hey, thats all that history is right: interpretations of past ideas, facts and events. I hope I have not behaved rudely, I hope my former comments were not too crude, I was just trying to state my point.

Also Ikokki, 3 out of 4 of these sources you gave advocating the higher end numbers are in Greek (the numbered ones in the article), it would be more useful if the sources were in English, then a higher percentage of the people can see and believe the numbers, don't you think. Also, why would contemporary greeks show patriotism by bloating numbers strength and casualties, perhaps modern greeks would not, but there is without doubt that ancient ones will, we continue to have modern estimates by historians usually lower than the earlier souces, hence Marathon, Thermopylae, and Plataea. And let's not even get into the tales of the idiot Arrian and Curtius. And unforunately too many of the numbers we have today are either closely related to or simply are the same ancient sources that are without a doubt, bias and exaggerated.

Mardonius's campaign in 492 BC probably did not have the intention of conquering Athens and Eretria but since he crossed the borders of the Hellenic Republic it is written in our history books as the first invasion. I am very well aware that most of the links I added are not english as the two more references I will add, but this is because there are few sources in English who claim large numbers. This probably is because the consensus that formed 100 years ago in Oxbridge and spread to the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world was that the numbers were small. The change of tone came when I thout I read that by adding referenced data I screwed up. Now if we can add up more references I think we can get featured article status. About Curtius I don't know since we didn't do Latin in school (except those going for literature). As for Arrian, the first Greek governor of a Roman province, I disagree but this is not the appropriate page. Oh and the battle of Gaza was in 201 BC as I fixed Ikokki 10:00, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm certainly no expert on things ancient, but is there anyway of cutting down the article's discussion of numbers? It really detracts from the article, it seems there is too much on every greek man and his dog's estimation of the size of the force. I understand that it's a debated issue, but it's really too much.--Evilbred (talk) 17:11, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Merge of Agroteras Thusia[edit]

It is because of the non-significance of such an event in our days. It was way important when associated with the Battle of Marathon and that is why the EB 1911 had a topic for that but we do not really need any topic for that since it is part of the past and so few tangible sources can be used in improving the two lines of text present on the article Agroteras Thusia. Lincher 17:47, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

You will have no contest from me. I think we need to add section where they write about this sacrifice, the appearance of Theseus on the side of the Athenians during the battle (mentioned by Plutarch) and perhaps the claimed supernatural event of 1930Ikokki 18:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I also vote for the merger. DocWatson42 17:36, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Since much more than 5 days have passed without contest I have proceeded with the merge. Now we have a new section that needs expansion...Ikokki 12:33, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

WP:MilHist Assessment[edit]

Likely quite worthy of GA-status. The infobox picture is a nice touch. And the maps taken from USMA are gorgeous and perfect. I love articles with lots of pictures and maps. This article is long and detailed and thorough, and worthy of the subject it tackles. Just one criticism - expand the introduction to indicate the battle's fame and importance in the eyes of modern military historians, and mention the connection to the origin of the concept of the Marathon (race). LordAmeth 13:16, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Information needed in article[edit]

Who are the Plateans? Who was Kallimachus? - Samsara (talkcontribs) 14:22, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

I've dropped by to do a GA review of your article. I'm impressed by the readability, the fine and informative graphics and info boxes and the good balance between vocabulary and readability. All it needs for promotion to GA status is a longer lead, written to the WP:LEAD standard, inline references for the historical sources and background sections. I need to see at least one reference per section and prefer at least one per paragraph. The objective is so that a curious reader can jump to your sources to read more, if they're interested.

I'll put the article on hold to let you all take a look at these issues. --CTSWyneken(talk) 19:51, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I've expanded the lead section, as for inline references I'll add at a later time. At this point I'm dedicating more energy at the main article Greco-Persian Wars Ikokki 00:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you! The lead now meets the standard. Does anyone else have time to do the inline refs? --CTSWyneken(talk) 18:47, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, I passed the article anyway. I'm making the assumption you all intend to keep at it. I'd suggest next a peer review on the road to FA. --CTSWyneken(talk) 22:14, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Disposition of Forces[edit]

What do people think about a section discussing the disposition of forces prior to the battle? The common view, that the Persians were fighting with their backs to the sea, is known to be controversial and seems odd in several respects. If the Persians were responsible for beginning the battle, why would they choose such an unfavorable position? It also leaves their left flank completely exposed to the Greeks approaching from the west. Herodotus also never mentions that they were boarding the ships at the time, which would possibly explain it. The Osprey publication on the battle (Marathon 490 BC) offers what I think is a better explanation, namely that a perpendicular orientation with the Persians' left flank anchored on the shoreline makes much better sense from a tactical perspective. I'm not talking a major revision of the article, just a mention that there are other possibilities.

The article mentions the boarding the ships hypothesis without adopting it. A new disposition section would be good if it is properly cited, though generally a section takes more than one paragraph. The biggest stumbling block for the advancement of the article is copyediting, not lack of content. By the way it is best to sign one's commnents using the four wikis ~~~~ Ikokki 11:12, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Greek Epigram[edit]

I have a few problems with the translation of that epigram. My Greek isn't the greatest, but that translation bears only the slightest relationship to what was actually said. Anyone want to clean it up?

I would translate it more as something like 'Fighting for Greece, the Athenians at Marathon laid low the might of the gilded Medes'

Ελλήνων προμαχούντες Αθηναίοι Μαραθώνι
χρυσοφόρων Μήδων εστόρεσαν δύναμιν
Word to word:
Ελλήνων: Of the Hellenes
προμαχούντες: Fighting first
Αθηναίοι: Athenians
Μαραθώνι: In Marathon
χρυσοφόρων : Bearing gold, gilded
Μήδων: Medes
εστόρεσαν: humiliated
δύναμιν: force/power
To write "fighting for Greece" is totally wrong, the idea of naming a country "Greece" or "Persia" or "Libya" is a Roman concept, ancient Greek sources refere to the states as "the Greeks","the Persians" and "the Libyans".Thus a translation would be something like
Athenians, fighting first for (or among) the Greeks in Marathon
Humiliated the force (or power) of the gilded Medes
Problem is, I ain't a poet and most definitely I do not want the mess of translation of the epigram at Battle of ThermopylaeIkokki 10:57, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Part of the problem with the translation of the epigram is that it misses the flavor of the original. The attributive participle προμαχούντες implies not only those fighters out in front, or vanguard, but also those who provide protection for others, and in that sense, champions. The aorist εστόρεσαν means strew or spread, or perhaps here, scatter. So, trying to keep word order as close to the original as possible:

The Greeks' champions, the Athenians at Marathon, did the power scatter of the gold-bearing Medes.

Frumentarius 08:36, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Dear Frumentarius
You're absolutely right about προμαχούντες, and I've tried to render it in my recent edit as 'fighting in the forefront'. 'Gilded' is a good translation for χρυσοφόρων, but the adjective could mean 'wearing gold' or 'carrying gold'. I suspect that Simonides may have been thinking of the golden apples famously carried on their spearheads by the Immortals, so perhaps 'gold-bearing' might do it.
Djwilms (talk) 03:16, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


I think the article could be much better written. I have made a start with the first two sections. Rintrah 14:17, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your assistance. I am not a native english speaker, thus my contributions tend to be a little messy. Ikokki 18:00, 25 October 2006 (UTC)


This needs expansion: In 510 BC, the Athenian people, with the assistance of Cleomenes I, King of Sparta, expelled Hippias, who had ruled as tyrant of Athens.[5] Fleeing to the court of Darius, he sought the emperor's aid.[6]. On its own it seems isolated. It does not connect strongly enough with the rest of the section. Rintrah 11:44, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

The whole Background section needs expansion. It is difficult to read because many events are described without their context. Rintrah 08:59, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Size of Opposing Forces[edit]

Currently the third paragraph of Size of Opposing Forces is very messy. I suggest it be rewritten to be made readable. I can see this article is slowly getting better. Rintrah 08:55, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I am very tied up, else I would expand what was necessary Ikokki 16:22, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

I think we are making really good progress on the article. It is much better than what it was when I first encountered it. Much of it is a joy to read. Let's get to work on fixing the whole article (I haven't gone through everything yet.) I should also give credit where credit is due: your work on the article is invaluable. Rintrah 17:28, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


From the last section:

Evidence that the runner did exist and did run is given by the following popular legend. . .

Did the authors cited make the rather astounding claim that a folktale first recorded in the 19th century is evidence of events that took place more than 2000 years earlier? If they do, do they give any kind of supporting argument for the far-fetched claim that there's an unbroken oral chain of transmission stretching back to the time of the battle? One that gives a version of the story so similar to the written accounts? (Imagine a 2500-year-long game of Chinese whispers.) Even if they do, do we need to repeat their claims without question?

It's certainly interesting and relevant that there were fairly modern Greek folktales about the battle, and I'm glad they were included here, but I really don't think they should be presented as evidence for any of the stories; it should suffice to say they existed. —Charles P._(Mirv) 05:44, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Kakrides compiled a book about how the ancient Greeks were seen in later legend. In his book he includes a longer version of this passage. In the E Istorika dedicated to the battle of Marathon, the last article (about 4 pages long with pictures) is about the Marathon run where, after a rather long discussion with references over whether there was a runner and which route he took this legend is given as further evidence (it is called weak evidence though) that the runner existed. Treat it like the other tales mentioned by Kakrides, like that from Aetoloacarnania that the ancient Greeks were 6 meter tall. Ikokki 15:05, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

A picture[edit]

The picture which has a caption of lancers is only partially correct. Those are Persian Immortals. AllStarZ 02:21, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Map With Location Needed[edit]

Page needs regional map with Marathon clearly marked.

Datis Killed?[edit]

Having read Herodotus inside and outside on several occasions I don't remember him (with his authority on the matter) claimng that Datis, one of the Persian maritime and Land Forces Command being killed in action (KIA) at Marathon. Ikkoki correct me if I am wrong but Herodotus never claims this - correct? To the best of my knowledge this is probably Cteisas' claim. I understand that there is an appropriate question mark in the warbox, but isn't there a better way to illustrate the conflicting views of Herodotus and Cteisas, perhaps by adding their names in brackets somewhere or in the article? Sorry is I am being a little nit-picky. --Arsenous Commodore 04:43, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Herodotus does not claim so, in fact he has him returning a statue to Delos. It is Ctesias who claims so and claims that the failure of the Athenians to return his body caused Xerxes' invasion (something unlikely, the Greeks returned the bodies of the dead when asked) Ikokki 09:50, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

A-class review[edit]

I do not have something more to add to this article. The only real task left if the rewrite is complete is to renominate for A-class status Ikokki 12:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

recorrection of name[edit]

the place Marathon is in greek Μαραθών genitivus Μαραθῶνος.It is derived from the once abudance there of the plant μάραθον genitivus μαράθου plural μάραθα genitivus μαράθων. Your correction was totally wrong.
Thanatos666 21:53, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Interesting, I never knew that. In any case, shouldn't the definite article match the noun "mache" in case, number, and gender? Τη Mάχη? As it is now, it looks like it would be translated: battle of the Marathons. - Christopher 23:22, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


I'm using standard latin transliteration for speed.
mache belongs to first or alpha or (-as) -es (for male) -a -e (for female) declension (same-analogous to latin -a).
Marathon to third or labial and velar declension(same-analogous to latin 3-5 declensions meaning if you're accustomed to other classification , declensions other than -a and -us-um).
I don't understand why you said that the article should match the noun.
It's " He mache tou Marathonos".
article-noun matching (as almost everything else) is pretty much the same in greek as in latin.(latin ofcourse doesn't have an this I mean noun matching in general)
for more greek see wiki Ancient Greek Grammar or the rest of the internet for broader treatises.

N he mache ,ho Marathon
G tes maches ,tou Marathonos
D tei machei ,toi Marathoni
A ten machen ,ton Marathona
V o mache ,o Marathon

Plural    (plural of Marathon not widely used) 
N hai machai ,hoi Marathones
G ton machon ,ton Marathonon
D tais machais ,tois Marathosi
A tas machas ,tous Marathonas
V o machai ,o Marathones

Dual       (dual of Marathon not widely used) 
N/A to macha ,to Marathone
G/D toin machain ,toin Marathonoin

at your service
Thanatos|talk 01:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Who is Kynaigeirus? I can not find anything on google about him, except for the same paragraph about him placed here, though on many different sites. Source needed, I think!

GA Sweeps Review: On Hold[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria. I'm specifically going over all of the "Conflicts, battles and military exercises" articles. I believe the article currently meets the majority of the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. In reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that may need to be addressed, and I'll leave the article on hold for seven days for them to be fixed. Add inline citations for:

  1. "However, he was born a few years after the battle, and it is believed he wrote his book after the Peace of Callias (449 BC/448 BC)."
  2. "In order for the Athenians to revolt, two things would need to happen: the populace would need to be encouraged to revolt, and the Athenian army would have to leave Athens so that they could not crush it."
  3. "Some of the poor who remembered Peisistratus well, since he had given them jobs, probably hoped for a victory of the Persians and a change in regime to give them more power, which is one of the reasons Hippias ordered the landing in Marathon where the vast majority of local inhabitants were from these social classes."
  4. Some claim that Artaphernes took part of the Persian army and laid siege to Eretria, while the remainder of the army crossed with Datis and landed in the Bay of Marathon.
  5. Others claim that the events happened consecutively: at first Eretria was besieged and fell, and later the whole army landed at Schinias beach.
  6. "It states: "The cavalry left. When Datis surrendered and was ready for retreat, the Ionians climbed the trees and gave the Athenians the signal that the cavalry had left. And when Miltiades realized that, he attacked and thus won. From there comes the above-mentioned quote, which is used when someone breaks ranks before battle"."
  7. "Proponents of the former opinion note the following arguments: the ancient Greeks—as indicated by the surviving statues—were in very good physical condition (the hoplite run had recently become an Olympic sport), and if they had run the entire distance, it would have been covered in about 5 minutes, whereas if they had marched, it would have probably taken 10, enough time for the Persians to react, which they did not."
  8. "Some modern historians doubt they traveled so fast."
  9. "The tomb was excavated in the 1880s by German archeologists."
  10. "See D.W. Olson et al., "The Moon and the Marathon", Sky & Telescope Sep. 2004, pp. 34—41.1" Convert this to an inline citation.
  11. "This phenomenon appears to have also been reported in the modern era: according to newspapers of the time in the year 1930, visitors to the region claimed to have heard a sound of metal clashes and screams coming from the battlefield."

If sources can't be found, either consider removing them or inserting them into hidden comments until one is found. If these are not addressed within seven days, the article may be delisted. If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. I will leave notices on the talk pages of the main contributors to this article along with related WikiProjects to ensure that the above issues are addressed by the appropriate people. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page. Regards, --Nehrams2020 20:17, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I have delisted the article as a GA at this time since the above issues were not addressed. If they are fixed at some point, please renominate again at WP:GAN, it should have little problems passing. The article was a very interesting read, and I hope it is returned to GA status. If you disagree with this review you can seek an alternate assessment at Good article reassessment. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page. I have modified the page history to reflect this review. --Nehrams2020 17:56, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
It's been a while since the above review, but I have finally got round to editing this article to (hopefully) return it to GA status. I have substantially reworked the article to increase its logical progression, to improve the quality of the English, and to remove irrelevant information. I have also removed the offending statements listed above. I think this article now exceeds the requirements for GA, and I hope it should be possible to work this article up to featured article status relatively easily. If anyone would care to give some feedback on what might be required for FA status, please do! MinisterForBadTimes (talk) 20:24, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

use of units in marathon distance[edit]

The page says (at least, in my locale) "The distance eventually became fixed at 26 miles (42 km) and 325 yards (297 m)". Clearly it is inappropriate to make two separate unit conversions - 26 miles 325 yards is certainly not equal to 42km 297m as a reader might infer from this text.

It should read something like "The distance eventually became fixed at 26 miles and 325 yards (42 km)" but I don't know enough syntax for the Convert macro to make this edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 24 November 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone know if the 2.500 year memory of the battle is going to be celebrated this summer in Greece, or among classical scholars? Not too often you have an occasion to fete an event with a fixed date this far back into history. Strausszek (talk) 02:17, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

You may see the Greek 2 Euros' commemorative coin in the Greek article. ---Pagaeos (talk) 23:18, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


Miltiades ordered the two tribes that were forming the center of the Greek formation, the Leontis tribe led by Themistocles and the Antiochis tribe led by Aristides, to be arranged in the depth of 4 ranks while the rest of the tribes at their flanks were in ranks of 8.[73][74]. I read those sources, and neither Herodotus not Plutarch state that it was Miltiades who ordered this. I may be interpreting the sources incorrectly, but I am pretty sure that this part is incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

"the Battle of Marathon, even as an event in British history, is more important than the Battle of Hastings"[edit]

Its included in the introduction and then is included in the body of the article verbatim. The introduction sentence needs to be summarized and rephrased. I will summarize and rephrase the introduction if no one else does. You have 24hours. (talk) 00:57, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Sources: "Many changes that were subsequent with ancient historians ..[edit]

"Many changes that were subsequent with ancient historians, despite following in his footsteps, criticised Herodotus, starting with Thucydides."

The grammar of this sentence is obscure, it seems we have different subjects in the first ("Many changes that were subsequent with") and second half ("ancient historians ... starting with Thucydides.".

Can someone explain and maybe rephrase? (talk) 18:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC) Marco Pagliero Berlin

Really outdated[edit]

The historiography of this article is really outdated! In 2010 was published Peter Krentz's The Battle of Marathon and in 2014 Dennis Fink's The Battle of Marathon in Scholarship, a synthesis of all the studies about the battle written from 1850 to 2014. I used this books to rewrite the article on and I want to suggest you to traduce it, because the present version of this article is obsolete and a lot of aspects of the battle aren't treated at all (e.g. the reconstruction of the battlefield)! --Epìdosis (talk) 10:04, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Why only thin the center?[edit]

If the intention was to match the length of the Persian line and not get outflanked, why did Miltiades only stretch the center and leave the sides 8 men deep? Why not thin out the entire line by a smaller margin? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Tyrant Hippias and semi-colons[edit]

How many times are you folks going to mention Hippias was a tyrant. You only have to do it once - not three times. I do not find the article's usage of semi-colons enjoyable. I think in this article, semi-colons are misused. This is a good article - but you folks have some redundant phrases (half-baked sentences) - Don't respond. I am only only reading the article and will never be back again. Good luck! (talk) 09:40, 17 July 2015 (UTC)


It says that 'greek victory' is "informative enough" however this is far from correct - we should always be as detailed as possible. The way I see it, it was definitely decisive since this battle was the turning point. So why not decisive? Green547 (talk) 19:29, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

No objections? Green547 (talk) 19:58, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

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