Today is the traditional date for the Battle of Marathon, fought between the citizens of Athens and a Persian military force in 490 BC.
The Greek victory drove the Persian stronghold out of Greece and gave the Athenians a boost of confidence without the help from the more military city-state of Sparta.
It began what eventually became a 200-year rise of influence and the establishment of the Classical Greek civilization.
The runner, Pheidippides, is the inspiration for today’s marathon races and the reason the word “marathon” became associated with long distance running. Pheidippides was sent to ask the Spartans for help, running 140 miles, only to return to say that they were observing a religious holiday and would not help.
Legend has it he then ran to Athens, 26.2 miles, to announce the victory over the Persians and died of exhaustion after uttering the victorious message.
Moral of the story: limit yourself to one marathon at a time.
This map of Greece by Teesdale is from 1831.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.