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BIC Excellence Award

The Battle of Marathon
A Historical and Topographical Approach

By Christos Dionysopoulos

The Battle of Marathon

Academy of Athens Award Winner - 2014


Paperback, 272 pages £39.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9789606878084
Format: 297mm x 220mm
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Subjects: Classical Studies and Ancient History, History, Military History

Distributed by University of Exeter Press.

The scholarly interest in the Battle of Marathon reamins undiminished. This book presents all the ancient sources and all the scientific theories concerning the battle of Marathon. It provides a full bibliography (from the 17th century to the present day), richly illustrated with old maps, and proposes interesting and original solutions to all the problems surrounding this historic battle of cosmic importance, fought in 490 BC.

Researchers' interest in Marathon remains undiminished. From the seventeenth century to the present day, numerous distinguished scholars have been involved with the problems this important chapter in the history of mankind presents and have proposed solutions to them. But these proposals are frequently contradictory, because the ancient texts on which they are based leave a wide leeway for theorizing and speculation. Herodotus, who is the principal and most reliable source for research, gives a summary picture of the events and is reticent on certain fundamental details concerning the Battle of Marathon. In order to fill the gaps and shortcomings of the Herodotan narrative, scholars have relied on secondary sources. However, instead of these being used supplementarily, they have led some to arbitrary conclusions and transformed them into creators of imaginary scenarios, since their theories are in complete opposition to the primary source as well as, sometimes, to common sense.

In Herodotus, as in the other sources too, there are some words or phrases that, through erroneous evaluation, may lead us astray, and others that, on first glance, tell us nothing. However, on careful scrutiny we ascertain that their silence is apparent and that they conceal within them truths which are revealed to us, in some cases indeed in stentorian voice.

In this book the author exposits the various theories that have been formulated, he studies the difficulties the issues present and proposes his own view, having as guideline, as far as the textual testimonies are concerned, mainly. He evaluates and utilizes the secondary sources according to their credibility, to the degree that they are consistent with the Herodotan narrative and do not come into conflict with this.

The Academy of Athens has awarded a prize for this study, judging it 'to constitute the fullest, most comprehensive and most scholarly approach to the Battle of Marathon and that the author, with his talent for analysis and synthesis, has contributed an archaeological and historical monograph of great significance for the subject of the battle which will underpin scholarship for many years to come' (Academy of Athens Award, December 2014).

The historian and philologist Christos Dionysopoulos goes head-to-head with 669 authors and 913 articles and books, emerging triumphant not only from the field of battle, but also the field of research, with a detailed study, which casts light on the events, discovers unseen aspects and answers questions which had remained unanswered until today.

At what hour did the battle of Marathon take place? How many Athenians and how many Persians took part? How long did the battle last? Did slaves fight alongside the Athenians and how many of them were there? What were the losses on each side? How many messengers were there who brought the news of victory to the city?

"There are many theories about the battle of Marathon, but the principal source is Herodotus, who left many gaps in his account, which scholars have from time to time filled with their fantasies. In the present study I evaluated and compared all the sources with the result that uncertainty was banished and concrete conclusions achieved," stressed the scholar-'detective' who has been elected a Research Associate of the Academy of Athens amongst other honours. He has shed light into every corner of his study from the site of the battle and the strategy of the opponents to the burial of the dead and the dedications celebrating victory. The Athenians charged at the enemy when the Persian horses were in their stables, that is to say, in the afternoon. They chose that time so that they would not have to face the cavalry as well. They were the first to use the tactic of charging at the run in the last 200m before they clashed hand to hand with the enemy to reduce the effectiveness of the Persian archers. The ingenious battle tactics of Miltiades involved strengthening the two wings, in comparison to the weak centre, so that at the right moment they could surround the enemy.

INTRODUCTION

FOREWORD

THE PERSIAN CAMPAIGN 490 BC

Ι. From Cilicia to the Aegean and Euboea

ΙΙ. Marathon (HDT., VI.102–124)

THE ROUTES

THE FORCES

TIMEFRAME

Ι. The year, month and day of the battle

ΙΙ. The timing of the battle  

ΙΙΙ. The duration of the battle

ΙV. The voyage to Phaleron  

LOCATION

Ι. General overview

ΙΙ. The demes of Marathon

BEFORE THE BATTLE

Ι. The anchorage and the encampment of the Persians

ΙΙ. The Athenian encampment

ΙΙΙ. The battle positions of the opposing forces

THE MONUMENTS

THE BATTLE

THE STRATEGY OF THE OPPONENTS, THE BATTLE LINES AND THE STAGES OF THE BATTLE

AFTER THE BATTLE

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF VICTORY, THE THREAT TO ATHENS AND THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

DEDICATIONS TO THE GODS

THE TROPHY HONOURING THE MARATHONOMACHΟI AND OTHER COMMEMORATIONS OF THE VICTORY

THE REASONS FOR THE PERSIAN DEFEAT AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VICTORY

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VICTORY

ABBREVIATIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

Ι. SOURCES

ΙΙ. PEOPLE, PLACES AND TERMS

The Academy of Athens has awarded a prize for this study, judging it 'to constitute the fullest, most comprehensive and most scholarly approach to the Battle of Marathon and that the author, with his talent for analysis and synthesis, has contributed an archaeological and historical monograph of great significance for the subject of the battle which will underpin scholarship for many years to come' (Academy of Athens Award, December 2014).

CHRISTOS DIONYSOPOULOS Classicist, Historian, Archaeologist. Born in Athens, he studied Classical Philology, History and Archaeology at the University of Athens, Egyptology at the University of Cairo, and Epigraphy, Papyrology and Numismatics at the University of Liége. He has worked as an archaeologist on excavations, as a teacher and head teacher at secondary schools in Greece and abroad, was a research associate of the Academy of Athens and Education Advisor for the Humanities. He also contributed to the effort to prevent the construction of a rowing lake in the battleground of Marathon.



Publication Details:


Binding:
 Paperback , 272 pages
ISBN:
 9789606878084
Format:
 297mm x 220mm
112 colour Illus.

BIC Code:
 1DVG, HBLA1, HBW
BISAC Code:
  HIS002000, HIS027000, HIS039000
Imprint:
 Kapon Editions


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