Presentation on theme: "The Battle of Marathon Soldiers and Weapons The Persian military was considered the greatest power for its day. They relied heavily on their best forces,"— Presentation transcript:
The Battle of Marathon Soldiers and Weapons The Persian military was considered the greatest power for its day. They relied heavily on their best forces, their cavalry. Their strategy usually was to wait until their enemy came into range of their archers, then release volley after volley of arrows followed by a cavalry, and after the sea voyage the cavalry was simply not a factor. The Greek hoplite was a heavily armored soldier with a massive shield and a 9 foot long spear. They formed a tightly spaced attack group called a phalanx that helped each soldier help protect the soldiers around them. They also perfected a fast moving attack that meant they were in the range of the enemy's archers for only a short period of time. At the Battle of Marathon, the Greeks formed a formation with a weak middle with very strong flanks that fooled the enemy into attacking the center. This allowed them to attack from the flanks, overpowering the poorly defended and vastly overmatched Persians. Despite the fact that the Persians were the striking army, their fighting style was defensive. Their main weapon was the bow and arrow, and their key tactic was to wait until the enemy came close, at which time the Persians would "bury" them a heavy barrage of bows and arrows. The Persians are much less heavily armored with leather tops for their best infantry. Then their elite force are the cavalry with lances. The Athenians, on the other hand, had a more offensive doctrine. their main weapon was the long, heavy spear, and they shielded themselves with heavy armament including helmets, shields, and breastplates. they favored close combat battle formations, lacking both cavalry and bows.
The Battle The Persian invasion at marathon occurred on September 9, 490 BC. For eight days, the two armies stood confronting each other. On the ninth day, the Persians started an advance, forcing Miltiades, the commander in chief of the Athenian army, to deploy his army of 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plataeans for battle. according to the historian Herodotus, "when the Persians saw the Athenians coming down on them without cavalry or archers and scanty in numbers, they thought them as an army of madmen running toward their certain destruction." The Athenians were able to surround the Persians, whose bows and short lances were no match for the strong spears of the Athenians. The previously invincible Persians turned their backs and fled as the Athenians chased them back to their ships. There took place the most critical battle, resulting in 192 Athenian casualties and 6,400 Persian deaths. The Persians lost seven ships to the Athenians. However, Miltiades and his Athenian army realized that the Persian fleet could sail and attack the undefended city of Athens. He called upon Phidippides to run to Athens to bring the news of victory and a warning of the approaching Persian ships. Phidippides to run to Athens to bring the news of the victory and a warning of the approaching Persian ships. Phidippides' 26 mile run from Marathon to Athens, the first marathon ever, was successfully completed in about three hours. Phidippides became a martyr, dying from exhaustion after fighting all day and completing the run. However he successfully warned the Athenians, and when the Persian fleet arrived at Athens, Athenian soldiers were ready to protect their land. Upon seeing the prepared Athenian army, the Persians turned and sailed back to Persia in defeat. Thus, the Battle of Marathon marked the end of a ten-year conflict between Greece and Persia. It distinguished the first time the Greeks had beaten the Persians on their own element, the land.
Summary Fought on the Plain of Marathon about 40 km/25 mi northeast of Athens Greeks had a combined force of about 10,000 men Persians had about 25,000 men during the battle. Greeks took advantage of Persians backs facing the sea and thinned out their center line to cover the longer enemy line and attacked enemy wings almost immediately gave way and fled northeast to their ships when the Greek center broke through the wings turned inwards to take in both flanks as it tried to retreat Greeks then pursued the Persians to their ships and although they only captured 7 ships, their victory was complete 6,400 Persians killed 192 Greeks Killed