Marathon, Battle of


A famous battle in the fifth century b.c., in which the ancient Greeks defeated a much larger army of the Persian Empire.

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notes for Marathon, Battle of

According to legend, news of the victory was carried to Athens (see also Athens) from the plain of Marathon, a distance of about twenty-six miles, by a messenger who collapsed and died of exhaustion after delivering his message. The distance of the modern marathon foot race is based on this legend.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.