Who Really Won the Battle of Marathon

A Bold Re-appraisal of One of History’s Most Famous Battles

The Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, where an Athenian-led Greek force defeated a Persian invasion, is one of the most decisive battles in Antiquity and has been studied for centuries. It is famed as a triumph of the Greek hoplite heavy infantry phalanx against massively superior Persian numbers. But this exciting re-assessment of the evidence, including new archaeological findings, overturns many long-held assumptions.

The authors have looked at available sources, they feel they have also discovered the whereabouts of the Greek encampment. They suggest that Greek numbers where higher than previously thought as the hoplites were accompanied by light infantry who seem to been forgotten in the aftermath of battle.

Apparently one of the big bones on contention with this battle was the role of the Persian heavy cavalry as some historians has argued they did not take part.  It seems odd that 1000 of the most feared heavy cavalry of time simply didn’t get involved. However, the authors feel the cavalry had a central role, but the Greeks use of the terrain meant they were defeated.

I did feel the title of the book was going to be one of those books that presented a new view without much evidence. This is a well researched and laid out book.  There are lots of original sources and a large reading list.

I can see this being used by wargammers to recreate this version of the battle.   I won’t spoil the authors’ views of our famous marathon runner…. 

I also like the Agincourt comparison nugget right at the back of the book. It is a very interesting read…

You can buy the book here from Pen and Sword books.

Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.