Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn September 12, 490 BCE, a vastly outnumbered group of Athenians defeated Persian forces at the Battle of Marathon, Greece. The battle inspired a legend that led to the creation of the marathon race, although the legend is untrue.The Athenian military used a flanking maneuver to defeat the Persians, who were hoping to launch a major invasion of Greece. The Athenians put their strongest soldiers on the outside, or flanks, of their battle formation. The Persians kept their strongest soldiers in the center. On the flanks of the Persian formation were slaves or people the Persians had forced into battle. The Persians initially had success, but ultimately failed when their forced laborers abandoned them and the Greek flanks closed in.The legend of Marathon surrounds the Athenian messenger Pheidippides, who allegedly ran about 42.2 kilometers (26 miles) from Marathon to Athens to inform the Athenians about their victory. Exhausted from such a run, Pheidippides promptly died.Many historians think the legend confused Pheidippides’ earlier, even more-impressive journey. Before the battle, Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta, asking the powerful Spartan army for help. Pheidippides ran more than 225 kilometers (140 miles), and arrived in about a day. (The Spartans refused to help, and Pheidippides ran back to Athens.)
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry abandoned Adjective
supposed or presumed.
military land forces.
violent encounter during a conflict.
city where a region's government is located.
Encyclopedic Entry: capital confuse Verb
to bewilder or mix up.
to tire or drain of energy.
to be or place at the side of something.
specific arrangement of things.
person who studies events and ideas of the past.
to provide knowledge.
to influence to act.
an attack or move to take possession.
voyage or trip.
to start or instigate.
traditional or mythical story.
a skillful movement.
42.195 kilometer (26 mile, 385 yard) foot race.
to live or be situated next to.
to be greater in number.
empire that dominated Mesopotamia from about 550 to 330 BCE. Most of the ancient Persian empire is in modern-day Iran.
on time or quickly.
person who is owned by another person or group of people.
person who serves in a military.
final or maximum.
huge and spread out.
success or triumph.