To hold the Athenian army there with its infantry while its cavalrywas embarked and shipped around to take Athens where traitors wouldopen the gates. The Athenian army would then be trapped between thePersian army and the Persian-held city.


To stay in the hills around the Plain of Marathon, where thePersian cavalry could not get at them, and wait for the arrival ofthe Spartan army.
Cautiously clever.


The Athenians observed the embarkation of the Persian cavalry andran down and defeated the inferior infantry.
Opportunistically clever.

They then realised where the ships were going to, and althoughphysically exhausted from the battle, ran back the 26 miles toAthens to defend it, getting there just in time.
Clever and desperately determined.

The Persians, having lost both their infantry and the chance oftaking the city, went home, taking the prisoners from Eretria whichhad been taken in a similar but successful trick a week before.


Today’s Marathon runners who commemorate the Athenin army’s feattoday should be made to carry armour and weapons and wear sandals,and live on a diet of bread and olive oil, if they want to pretendthat they are as tough as the original runners in 490 BCE.
Not a chance – too hard.

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