2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

The Battle of Marathon: Origins, Players and Significance
James E. McDonald
Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentor

The plain of Marathon is seemingly ordinary-- flat grassland interrupted by a few hills-- but in the year 490 B.C. this site was the location to one of the greatest and unexpected turning points in history: when a small inexperienced Greek army managed to defeat the then unstoppable Persian military machine. Although the story is shrouded by inconsistencies, deriving from the only narrative of the battle being told by Herodotus, military knowledge and speculation combined can help us create a likely tale of the battle. This narrative explains the advantages of geography and the hoplite phalanx that allowed the unlikely Greek victory to occur. Although speculation is needed to access the battle, the lasting significance and the path the battle put history on is much more apparent. This paper, combined with my experience while traveling in Greece in May 07, tells the narrative of Marathon and its prodigious significance.

Keywords: Marathon, Greece, Ancient history, Persian wars, Military upsets, Herodotus, Battles, Athens


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 36-1
Location: OP 2111
Time: 1:15

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