This blog, written by Thomas E. Rutledge, focuses primarily on business entity law in Kentucky. Postings on contract law, contractual and statutory construction, and the entity law of other jurisdictions appear as well. There may as well be some random discussions of classical, medieval and renaissance history.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Athenian Forces Defeat Invading Persians at Marathon
Forces Defeat Invading Persians at Marathon
Today might be the anniversary of the
great battle, fought in 490 at Marathon, at which the forces of Athens defeated
the Persian invasion sent by Darius the Great. The exact date of the battle is
subject to controversy, although there is something of an alternative consensus
on the 21st.
At the time of the battle, the Persian
Empire extended from the western boundaries of what is today India across the
Middle East, Turkey and to Southwest Europe.Darius had decided that the land we refer to today as Greece, inhabited
by a variety of city-states, would be next incorporated into his empire.An invasion fleet landed its troops some 26
miles northeast of Athens at the Bay of Marathon.Working with collaborators in Athens, it was
thought that the army could be drawn away and destroyed even as the
collaborators led an internal revolt, taking control of the city and making it
available to Darius.It would not turn
out that way.
At news of the landing, Athens sent word
to Sparta seeking its assistance, the Spartan hoplite troops being the
strongest force in the region.Famously,
the Spartans were unwilling to send their forces in light of an upcoming
religious festival. In consequence, Athens would stand alone.The Athenian army, well smaller than the
Persian forces, camped facing their enemy for over a week.On the 8th day, seeing that the Persians were
re-embarking some troops onto ships and fearing that they intended to launch a
direct assault on Athens, the Greek forces attacked.Although outnumbered, by skillful flanking
maneuvers the Greeks were able to envelop the Persian forces.While the historical records recite what must
be grossly inflated figures, certainly the Persians lost in excess of 6,000 men
while the Greeks lost fewer than 200.
Although not recounted in the contemporary historic record,
a runner took off to announce the victory to Athens.Just over 26 miles later, he entered the
city, announced “nickomen” (“victory”) and dropped dead from exhaustion.Meanwhile, the balance of the Persian army embarked
on their ships and set out from the Bay of Marathon with the intent of directly
attacking Athens.The Athenian army
force-marched itself back to the city, manning its walls as the Persian fleet
approached.The Persians decided that another
attack was not in their best interest and they withdrew.
A decade later, the Persian forces under
Xerces, son of Darius, would again invade Greece.They would ultimately fall victim to the
Spartan and allied forces at Thermopylae, the Greek naval forces at Salamis and
again the allied forces at Plataea.