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Forum LockedThe Battle of Marathon

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    Posted: 26-Mar-2007 at 13:31
I am currently doing a Research Paper in my high school class and i need to interview a qualified historian on the strategies and battle tactics of the Battle of Marathon Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adalwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Mar-2007 at 14:18
Perhaps you could do an email interview? I had to do that several times in high school. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote History Student Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Apr-2007 at 21:02
Yeah...that's what i had in mind. I just dont know who to interview... :'(
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2007 at 01:34
Well I am not a qualified student, but do not fail to mention the political effects of the result. Arguements over what part of the army did the Athenians actually face or numbers is irrelevent to the fact that marathon being an Athenian victory over the mighty Persians was thus responsible for the beginning of the rise in Athenian preeminence.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 06:03
The revolting Greeks burned the city of Sardis to the ground, and the Persians wanted to do the same to Athens. The Persians landed near the Athenian capitol of Athens (about 20 miles or so) using a water-based route across the Agean sea. The Greeks assembled and took any willing soilder or citizen to fight the battle. They created a thin line of men across the landscape to match that of the Persian army (Persians outnumbered the Athenians) The Persians had a heavy centre and when they engadged the centre of the Greek army was decimated. The flanks of the Greek army and what remained of the centre enclosed around the Persians. The Persians then were frightened and paniked. They ran back to their ships and tried to sail away, and the greeks followed them. They killed every Persian of the shore that didnt make it onto the ship. (Triremes and Biremes were used) The Greeks captured a few Persian vessals and took the crown of victory
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dexippus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 10:14
Originally posted by History Student History Student wrote:

I am currently doing a Research Paper in my high school class and i need to interview a qualified historian on the strategies and battle tactics of the Battle of Marathon Smile
 
1) Lets be honest, nobody on this forum, myself included, qualifies as a "historian."
 
2) Our best description of the Battle of Marathon comes from the "father of history" Herodatus, who wrote a 9 book "inquiry ('istorie) into the causes of the Persian wars. Reading his description of the Battle of Marathon might be a good place to start before you let us "qualified historians" qualify you to death.
 
3) That being said, you should be skeptical of the historian Herodatus' account. He claims the Athenians ran a full mile in their armor, a feat that would have in reality exhausted the Athenian hoplites, leaving them in no condition to fight a battle. Herodatus' battle narratives in general are not terribly percise, and thus it might not even be prudent to try to deduce too keen a notion of tactics from his description. But on the whole his account seems pretty good: for example he gives 192 as the number of the Athenian dead, a figure that is intriguingly confirmed by the number of horseman on the Parthenon, who likely represent the Marathon dead.
 
 


Edited by dexippus - 04-Oct-2007 at 19:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 10:19
Originally posted by dexippus dexippus wrote:

1) Lets be honest, nobody on this forum, myself included, qualifies as a "historian."

In fact, we have quite a number of "professional/qualified" historians here at AE (no, I'm not one). Aelfgifu, Reginmund, Dawn and numerous others have diplomas, graduates, post grads.etc in different areas of history. I should probably let them speak for themselves though.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 11:24
Originally posted by dexippus dexippus wrote:

for example he gives 192 as the number of the Persian dead, a figure that is intriguingly confirmed by the number of horseman on the Parthenon, who likely represent the Marathon dead. 
 
Actually the Athenian dead were 192. Persians were  (according to Herodotus) 6,400.
 
The tomb of the Athenians still stands there: Lieux%20publics%20Administrations%20Τύμβος%20Μαραθώνα%20%28Marathonas%20tomb%29
 
Excavations have confirmed Herodotus story, the burned bones of approximatelly so many Athenians were found in the tomb as well as remains from the last supper that was hel in their honour. Usually Greeks would take the bodies to be buried at their city, still -as a sign of ultimate honour- they decided to bury these on the field of battle. Same has happened with the Platean dead.
 
When it comes to how long the Athenians run to engage the persians, the answer seems obvious to me. We know that the range of Persian arrows was 150-200 meters. The Athenians would have reached this limit at a relaxed pace, with the rythm of the flutes, and then they'd run the last 200 meters to engage the enemy - no small feat for someone carrying all this equipment and would have messed up their formation.
 
(Spartans would have their famous 3-paced rythm: 3 steps and a small pause and so on till the time they would start to run towards the enemy. That helped them keep their line in perfect formation and usually scared their opponents to the death)
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 16:47
Well, look at it this way - Persian forces usually wicker shield and daggers. Greek forces, usually full throax hoplite armour, hoplon, sarrisa pike and short sword. When simply viewing their equipment it's hard to see how they couldn't have won!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2007 at 18:26
Sarissa wasn't used yet at the time of Marathon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2007 at 01:59
Exactly what I was thinking. Aster you're thinking of the Macedonian pikes - Sarissas. The standard Greek hoplite was equipped with an aspis (shield), and xiphos (sword) and a dorru (pike), plus armour. The Greeks as you said had vastly superior equipment on the whole, and it would have been daunting just looking at the shiny row of men. Pity numbers were not on their side - that was the thing the Greeks had to overcome.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2007 at 12:06
I thought that "Sarissa" was a work which applied to all Greek spears, not just those used by the Hellenistic Phalangites.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2007 at 12:54
I always thought the sarissa was first developed by Phillip II. It was a much longer (and thus heavier) pike, rather than the shorter "Pre-Phillipian" dorru.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2007 at 17:13
wasn't the Sarissa invented by the Athenian Iphicrates?

Edited by Temujin - 04-Oct-2007 at 17:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Oct-2007 at 21:53

Only if you believe in the Iphicrates’ myth, err reform.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2007 at 06:31
The Sarrissa was invented by Macedonia durring the Philip II era to outlengthen and therefore outmanouver the other Greek city states. The spear was about 16 feet in length, about double the length of their sisters

Edited by Darius of Parsa - 05-Oct-2007 at 06:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2007 at 09:51
Quote Only if you believe in the Iphicrates’ myth, err reform
 
Iphicrates' maxim was mountain ambushes - the main forces that he reformed were peltasts and Endrioki (light hoplites). There is no way that the use of such large weapons could have been considered by him.
 
Also, Thuycidides mentions Iphicrates, and so do Xenophon, and as Athenian citizens (Thuycidies contempary to Iphicrates, Xenophon after the Peloponnesian war) they must have had some knowledge of the man and his remarkable reforms
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