European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday urged European countries to step up efforts to ensure the return of property and possessions seized from Jewish victims during the Holocaust.

Speaking at the opening of an international conference in Brussels titled “Unfinished Justice: Restitution and Remembrance,” Tajani stressed the importance of restitution.

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New European Parliament president ‘fearless proponent of EU-Israel ties’
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Declaring that restitution across Europe was still challenged by legal and technical problems, leaving victims without their property, Tajani said: “Restitution, together with remembrance and reconciliation, is a fundamental element to restore justice after the Holocaust.

“The European Parliament has called on the [European] Commission to develop common principles and guidelines,” he added, highlighting that the 2009 Terezin Declaration provides a clear reference point for restitution and a commitment for all European countries.

Forty-seven countries, including all 28 members of the European Union, approved the Terezin Declaration, which recognizes “the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust era between 1933-45.”

According to the World Jewish Restitution Organization, only a small fraction of private and communal property illegitimately seized from Jewish victims during the Holocaust has been returned or compensated.

WJRO also emphasized that, of the remaining 500,000 survivors alive today, up to half are estimated to live in poverty.

“Progress has been made over the last years. Some countries have done a lot and have even developed best practices. Others should do more,” Tajani said.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute – which commissioned a comprehensive study on the status of restitution in each of the countries that endorsed the Terezin Declaration – called out Poland as being the only country that has yet to enact legislation dealing with restitution or compensation of private property nationalized by the Polish postwar Communist regime.

The conference was hosted by the European Parliament and organized by the European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors, a coalition of members of the European Parliament committed to issues impacting Holocaust survivors, the WJRO and ESLI, together with the European Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith International. The permanent missions of the State of Israel, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom to the European Union and their respective foreign ministries were also partners in the conference.

During the conference, members of the European Parliament called on the European Commission and all member states to each appoint special envoys for Holocaust-related issues, including restitution, to accelerate activities aimed at securing justice for victims.

Gideon Taylor, chairman of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization, praised Tajani’s announcement as a “significant step toward helping Holocaust survivors achieve justice regarding confiscated property.

“The support of the European Parliament sends a strong signal about the importance of fulfilling the pledges countries made under the Terezin Declaration,” he said. “Countries have a moral obligation to ensure that workable property restitution laws are put in place, and we hope that they will respond by reaffirming their commitment to providing justice for the remaining survivors, their families and Jewish communities as a matter of urgency.”

Polish-born British Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott also emphasized the importance of the issue, saying that “committing to a substantial, broad and coordinated program of restitution goes some way to recognizing the suffering, anguish and torment that occurred directly to those Jews present at the time, and the damage it caused for generations afterwards.”

The conference was attended by members of the European Parliament, diplomats, leaders of international Jewish organizations and European Jewish communities as well as Holocaust survivors.





WASHINGTON – Two congressmen introduced a resolution on Wednesday that would highlight the contribution of Israeli-Americans to US society.

The Israeli-American Council pioneered the resolution in its first solo legislative venture with members of Congress. Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-New York) and Grace Meng (D-New York) introduced the measure.


Praising Israeli-American contributions in hi-tech, biotech, cyber-security and water technology, the resolution would have the House affirm “that the Israeli-American community has contributed immensely to American society and culture.”

The IAC is a relatively new Israeli-American organization based in Los Angeles, founded in 2007, with ambitions to expand influence in Washington.Natalie Portman explains Hebrew slang

“”The Israeli-American Coalition for Action is grateful to Representatives Zeldin and Meng for leading this important effort in Congress to recognize the Israeli-American community’s unique and wide-ranging contributions to the United States,” said IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet. “From hi-tech to Hollywood, from agriculture to clean energy, Israeli-Americans are making their mark in the US to strengthen our country’s security, economy and future.

Trump unveils biggest tax reform in over 30 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump proposed dramatic cuts in the taxes paid by corporations big and small Wednesday in an overhaul his administration says will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to America’s middle class. But his ambitious plan alarmed lawmakers who worry about ballooning federal deficits.

The plan would also reduce investment and estate taxes aimed at the wealthy. But administration officials said that action on other key tax code elements would ensure the plan would largely help the middle class instead of the affluent.

The White House has yet to spell out how much of a hole the tax cuts could create in the federal budget, maintaining that the resulting economic growth would reduce — if not eliminate — the risk of a soaring deficit.

The outlined changes to the tax code are the most concrete guidance so far on Trump’s vision for spurring job growth.

“The president owns this plan; don’t be mistaken,” said Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, joined by National Economic Director Gary Cohn, speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cohn said Trump and his administration recognize they have to be “good stewards” of the federal budget. But the plan as it currently stands could cause the federal deficit to climb, unless it sparks a massive and lasting wave of growth that most economists say is unlikely.

The threat of a rising budget deficit could erode support for the plan among lawmakers in Trump’s own Republican Party. Administration officials intend to hash out additional details with members of the House and Senate in the coming weeks for what would be the first massive rewrite of the US tax code since 1986.

“We know this is difficult,” Cohn said. “We know what we’re asking for is a big bite.”

As Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained it in an interview, the plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets to three from seven: rates of 10 percent, 25% and 35%. It would double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, while keeping deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments. The administration plans to provide tax relief for families with child care expenses, too, although the specifics have yet to be included.

On the other hand, the proposal would also trim other deductions utilized by wealthier Americans. This would include deductions for state and local tax payments, a change that could alienate support from lawmakers in states such as California and New York with higher state taxes.

“It’s not the federal government’s job to be subsidizing the states,” Mnuchin said.

The administration has emphasized that the plan was focused on simplifying the tax code and helping middle class Americans. The median US household income is slightly above $50,000 (NIS 182,000) annually.

Still, the proposal could reduce the tax burden for the wealthy as well.

It would also repeal the estate tax, the catch-all alternative minimum tax and the 3.8% tax on investment income from President Barack Obama’s health care law. The proposal has yet to be vetted for its precise impact on top earners, as several details are still being determined.

On the corporate side, the top marginal tax rate would fall from 35% to 15%. Small businesses that account for their owners’ personal incomes would see their top tax rate go from 39.6% to the proposed corporate tax rate of 15%. Mnuchin stressed that the change for small business owners — a group that under the current definition could include doctors, lawyers and even major real estate companies — would be done to ensure that wealthier Americans could not exploit the change to pay less in taxes.

US envoy Haley: ‘It’s a new day for Israel at the UN’

“It’s a new day for Israel at the UN,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told delegates at the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

In front of a crowd of some 600 Jewish activists and leaders from 90 different countries, Haley emphasized that the US will not remain silent when Israel is attacked at the UN.

“Silence is not my thing anyway,” she said, “but that’s especially true when it comes to standing up for America’s friends. And we have no better friend in the Middle East than Israel.”

Last month, Israel announced it would reduce its annual membership payment to the United Nations by $2 million following recent “anti-Israel” votes in the organization’s bodies.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the decision was taken following votes critical of Israel at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, and condemned the “obsessive discrimination against Israel on the part of the United Nations and its agencies.”

Israel is the only country in the world that is the subject of a permanent agenda item at the HRC, a fact that former US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power also took issue with in a speech similar to Haley’s in December 2015. Power blasted the “absurdity” that Israel, “not Syria, which gasses its citizens,” was singled out at the UNHRC.

Members of the UN Security Council vote in favor of condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 at United Nations Headquarters. (Manuel Elias/United Nations via AP)

In her Tuesday speech, Haley urged UN member states to accept the US view that Iran’s influence in the region deserves the attention wrongly directed at Israel.

“The truth is that Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. The truth is that Iran is the number one source of instability in the Middle East,” she said.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told WJC delegates that he too would stand up against anti-Israel bias at the international organization, vowing to stand “on the front lines in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

How a New York Hotel Deal Could Still Be Earning Trump Profits Right Now

Since the start of his presidency, there have been concerns that President Donald Trump would violate the emoluments clause, which says that no person holding a federal office of profit or trust may accept any “present, emolument, (or) office . . . from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

Now it turns out that there is a similar provision of the Constitution, the so-called “domestic emoluments clause,” that Trump may be in the process of violating.

A Los Angeles investment fund known as the CIM group has received millions of dollars from public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states. These include both state-run and city-run pension funds, which pay the CIM group millions of dollars in quarterly fees to manage their investment portfolios. The CIM group also owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in Manhattan, according to a report by Reuters. Becasue Trump can still withdraw money from his businesses at any time, the president is placed in a compromising position by the fact that the CIM group pays Trump International Hotels Management LLC for 5.75 percent of the hotel’s annual operating revenues.

According to Article II of the United States Constitution, the president is prohibited from receiving payments beyond his salary from state governments. This is colloquially known as the “domestic emoluments clause” because of its similarity to the better-known “emoluments clause,” which enforces a similar prohibition in terms of foreign governments. The domestic counterpart says that a president may not receive “any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”


Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

Marathon: How the Athenians Defeated a Superior Persian Force


The mountains look on Marathon—
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream’d that Greece might yet be free
For, standing on the Persians’ grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

— Lord Byron, “The Isles of Greece”

Rekindling the stories of old

The stories of old, those which lie at the very foundation of our civilization and culture, and those which help us define our identity, can be invaluable to us in an otherwise dark time.

In an age where the values and very pillars of our civilization have come under sustained attack, and where dark forces seek to eradicate our sense of unity altogether, we need the rekindling of such stories more than ever.

And there are fewer better places to start than Marathon.

The story of Marathon

The seeds of Western civilization could well be argued to have been sown on the plain of Marathon on September 12, 490 BC, when an Athenian army of some 10,000 men overcame the odds to triumph over a numerically and tactically superior Persian force. This critical engagement not only saved Athens, Greece and large parts of Europe from certain Persian expansion, but also set in motion a whole cascade of events which altered the course of human history forever.

Victory at Marathon not only preserved the fledgling democracy of Athens; it also greatly catalyzed the Greco-Persian conflict, which in turn stimulated the rise of the Golden Age of Greece, the destruction of the Persian Empire, and the later ascendancy of Greco-Roman culture – all of which were of pivotal importance in the rise for European and Western civilization.

Moreover, the East-West cultural divide underscored by this critical battle of antiquity is still very much with us to this day.

What is covered in this article

This article aims to provide a strategic and tactical breakdown of the events of this historic conflict, discussing various factors such as the armour, weaponry and tactics of both sides, in addition to the political manoeuvres, psychology, logistics, geography, and terrain involved. A breakdown of how the battle most likely unfolded is then presented. [1]

Discussing the strategic and tactical details of this historic battle to any depth, while attempting to maintain a narrative flow worthy of the Marathon saga, makes it impossible to present this topic as a short piece, and it is my fond hope that you will enjoy this account as more of a journey than a mere article.


This presentation is arranged into 43 short sections, all of which are numbered. This allows the reader to scroll down to desired sections should this be desired. The account of the actual battle begins in section 29 (Twilight breaks: “a madness which must be fatal”). The notes section at the end of this piece is of course optional.

1. Background events: the road to Marathon
2. Persian diplomatic strategy isolates Athens
3. The Athenian and Persian armies: two polar opposites
4. Skirmishers
5. The warrior culture and psychology of either side
6. The commanders
7. The Persian strategy
8. The Athenian fifth column and Hippias
9. The first Persian strategic error
10. The Persians land at Marathon
11. The Athenian reaction
12. The size and composition of the opposing armies
13. Spartan help is sent for
14. Time: a critical factor
15. Logistics
16. The Athenian strategy for Marathon
17. Athenian garrisons and Persian options
18. Neutralizing Persian advantages with terrain
19. Disrupting water supplies and employing biological warfare
20. The eight-day stalemate
21. Tactical dilemmas
22. Chinks in the Persian armour begin to appear: archers and cavalry
23. Weaknesses in the Persian infantry appear
24. The Persians split their forces
25. The waiting game ends
26. The Athenian strategy is finalized
27. Battle formations
28. The darkest hour just before the dawn
29. Twilight breaks: “a madness which must be fatal”
30. The Persian cavalry’s tactical dilemma
31. Contact is made
32. The Persian wings collapse
33. The Persian cavalry withdraws
34. The Athenian centre ruptures
35. The trap is sprung
36. The final confrontation on the beach
37. Pheidippides’ run to Athens: the inaugural marathon run
38. The march back to Athens
39. Staring down the Persians at Phaleron
40. The Spartans arrive
41. The cost
42. Why did the Athenians win the battle? An overview
43. The legacy
Photo gallery

1. Background events: the road to Marathon

We travel back in time some 2,500 years. In the leadup to the showdown at Marathon in 490 BC, no concept of a unified Greek nation existed. Greece was instead composed of a number of independent city-states, some large and powerful, others small and vulnerable. The two biggest players and rivals were Athens and Sparta, with Athens, a newly-established democracy, having become powerful by way of its economic prosperity, while Sparta had become powerful by way of its military might.

On the other side of the Aegean Sea, the Persian Empire was at the very height of its power, and was the largest empire the world had ever known. It was ruled by the aggressively expansionist King Darius I, with its borders stretching all the way from ancient Egypt, across the entire Middle East, parts of Central Asia, and up to the borders of India. By comparison, Athens was a tiny dot barely visible on the map.

Although Greece and parts of Eastern Europe were earmarked as logical areas for further Persian expansion at some point, events were dramatically catalyzed eight years before Marathon in 498 BC when the Athenians, together with their allies in the nearby Greek city of Eretria, led an incursion into Ionia (along the western coast of modern-day Turkey) in order to assist fellow Greeks against recently-established Persian rule. After the regional capital Sardis had been put to the flame, a wrathful King Darius swore vengeance against both Athens and Eretria, resolving to sack both cities and to have their populations bought before him in chains.

2. Persian diplomatic strategy isolates Athens

After being delayed for seven years quelling dissent within his empire and subjugating territories north of Greece, Darius in 491 BC launched a diplomatic campaign intended to politically isolate Athens from the other Greek cities by sending heralds throughout the lands to demand the customary offering of “earth and water” – the token of submission to Persian rule. While most parts of Greece agreed to this demand out of fear of Persian military might, neither Athens nor Sparta would submit, with the Persian heralds dispatched to them being promptly seized and hurled to their deaths down deep wells, an act which King Darius saw as nothing less than a declaration of war.

A furious King Darius now realized that failure to deal with Athens by force would send all the wrong messages and set a dangerous precedent. An amphibious task force was finally launched across the Aegean Sea the following year in 490 BC to carry out a punitive campaign against Athens and Eretria.

War clouds now gathered. The stage was set for one of the most critical battles of the Ancient World.

3. The Athenian and Persian armies: two polar opposites

The Athenian and Persian armies had evolved in entirely different contexts and represented two completely different styles of warfare. They differed from each other in virtually every way – in terms of armour, weaponry, organization, and tactical doctrine, and this would play a central role in how the Battle of Marathon unfolded.

Persian military tactics involved a combined arms approach which utilized coordinated action between archers, cavalry and infantry. This represented a flexible, mobile style of warfare in which the Persians would firstly wear down their opponents at a distance with archers and cavalry before sending in their main infantry to deliver the final blow.

Although each of these three elements working alone was not particularly decisive, when coordinated as a team, the effect was almost unstoppable.

The Persian infantry themselves operated as light infantry, being designed only to mop up broken enemy lines. They required little to no armour, carried lightweight wicker shields, and were mostly armed with swords. The Persian cavalry were also light units, and mostly comprised of archers.

In total contrast, the Greek armies of the time designed their armies around the concept of direct frontal assaults using shock tactics with heavily-armoured infantry. This involved a singular cohesive infantry line known as a phalanx, which was composed of multiple rows of disciplined and tightly packed soldiers, very heavily-armoured from head to toe in bronze, and who all pushed together as one once enemy contact had been made. [2] The tight unit cohesion of the phalanx was the key to its success.

Along the front row of the phalanx ran a long, solid, interlocking shield wall. The shields making up this formidable barrier were known as hoplons, and gave rise to the term hoplite to describe the Greek soldiers who wielded them. Unlike the light wicker shields carried by the Persians, the hoplon was large, round, composed of thick wood faced with bronze, and could withstand horrendous punishment. The hoplon was the most important element of the phalanx.

Even though a typical phalanx was only about eight rows deep, the collective strength of all hoplites pushing forward at once transferred an enormous amount of force to the front shield wall. From behind the shield wall, the hoplites would use long thrusting spears to drive into the enemy ranks.

This combination of heavy armour, shield wall, muscle, and spears made the phalanx formation almost invulnerable and virtually unstoppable when faced head-on, and would have been something the Persian force at Marathon had never before faced. [3]

Despite the formidable strengths of the phalanx, the formation did have two potentially fatal weaknesses. The first of these was that any loss of tight cohesion made the formation immediately vulnerable to unravelling and disintegration. This mostly happened if the a phalanx was hit on a flank, or if the pressure hitting the formation from the front was simply too overwhelming.

The second Achilles heel of the phalanx was its limited mobility in only being able to hold position or move forward. Sideways or rotational movement, in addition to redeployment to another position on the field, required the hoplites to break tight formation temporarily, rendering the formation immediately vulnerable until tight rank cohesion was restored.

In the final analysis, as long as mobility was not a concern, the phalanx held an overwhelming advantage over lightly-armoured infantry such as the Persians possessed. However it was an entirely different matter if a phalanx was pitted against a highly mobile, flexible combined arms team such the Persian archer-cavalry-infantry combination. Such a contest would inevitably see a phalanx being outflanked, enveloped, worn down, and destroyed, and this was the handicap the Athenians would have to overcome at Marathon.

4. Skirmishers

The Greeks also utilized skirmishers (light infantry) to provide secondary support for the phalanx in times of war. These men wore no armour and were usually armed with slings and javelins. They deployed in a loose formation and conducted small-scale actions such as hit-and-run, harassment, and most importantly of all, flank protection.

5. The warrior culture and psychology of either side

Both sides possessed a warrior ethos. The Persian war machine was a highly-tuned outfit of full-time professional soldiers accustomed to victory, and held Greek fighting ability in low regard, and it was precisely this overconfidence which would play a central role in their undoing at Marathon.

The Athenians may not have possessed the same level of experience as the Persians, but were certainly no dilettantes in the art of warfare. For almost two decades prior to Marathon, Athens had been a nation in arms, surrounded by hostile city-states allied to Sparta. Not only had Athens been engaged victoriously in intermittent warfare against these hostile armies, but had also lived under the threat of attack from mighty Sparta herself. [4]

An additional ingredient behind the Athenian will to resist domination was their desire to preserve their newly-established democracy, a mere 17 years old at the time. Furthermore, within Greek culture at the time, men were bought up to aspire to the heroic deeds of the figures of legend such as Heracles (Hercules), Achilles and Agamemnon. For an Athenian, being wealthy enough to afford hoplite armour and rise to the hoplite class was a highly esteemed position.

6. The commanders

The Persians were under the overall command of Datis, an admiral with experience on land as well as sea. Artephernes, a younger and less experienced general who was the nephew of King Darius, was placed second in command.

On the Athenian side, it is universally accepted that Miltiades was the commander and hero of Marathon. However, Lacey (2011) makes a convincing case that it was in fact Callimachus, the commander-in-chief of the Athenian army, who was the true tactical genius behind the Athenian victory. [5]

I personally feel that Lacey’s case is strong enough to warrant merit, and accept that it was most likely Callimachus who was in overall command. Miltiades, who had been pressed into military service by the Persians for several years and was somewhat familiar with Persian tactics, was meanwhile promoted to the rank of general in order to serve in a critical advisory role.

7. The Persian strategy

Given the mountainous geography of Greece, we can readily see why an amphibious landing at Marathon was the preferred Persian strategy. Essentially, there were three options open to the invaders:

(1) An amphibious landing at or near Athens
(2) An amphibious landing away from Athens near mountainous terrain
(3) An amphibious landing away from Athens with an open plain

The first option risked the Persians being pinned against the sea, which could have led to heavy casualties and a forced withdrawal. The second option could allow the Athenians to block and ambush the Persians along the narrow defiles through which the Persians would have to pass in order to reach Athens.

The only feasible option was the latter: to land at a location with an open plain on which the Persian cavalry could operate, before drawing the Athenians out from the city into battle. After crushing their opponents in a swift victory, the Persians could then march onto a sparsely-defended Athens.

Marathon Plain, with its wide expanse, natural harbour, proximity to Athens (40 km, or 25 miles – about one day’s march), and the wide, flat coastal road connecting it to Athens, was the ideal location.

8. The Athenian fifth column and Hippias

Where possible, the Persians employed the assistance of fifth-columnists to aid their military campaigns, and Athens, which had been a hotbed of political intrigue for generations, provided a ripe opportunity for this.

A political faction sympathetic towards Persian collaboration had formed within the city, and playing a role in this conspiracy was Hippias, a former Athenian tyrant who had been deposed some 20 years earlier, and who had gone over to the Persian side. Hippias, who was hoping to be reinstated as ruler, now accompanied the Persian task force as an advisor, and it was he who had suggested Marathon as the ideal landing site to the Persian commander Datis.

9. The first Persian strategic error

Despite being supremely confident of victory, the Persian commander Datis had already committed a serious strategic error even before landing at Marathon. En route to Athens, he had exacted retribution on the Greek city of Eretria (as ordered by King Darius) for its role in the Ionian revolt eight years earlier, sacking the city and enslaving the entire populace, even after the city had surrendered. Logically, this should have been done after Athens had been subdued, as it now sent an unmistakable message to the Athenians that even surrender would not spare their city from being reduced to slavery. This had a profound effect on the psychology of the Athenians, steeling their will to fight, and, just as importantly, undermining a good deal of Persian good will in the minds of many fifth-columnists within the city.

10. The Persians land at Marathon

On about 3rd September, the Persian fleet sailed into Marathon Bay and began the laborious task of disembarking and setting up camp. The arrival of the invader would have been signalled to Athens within the hour via smoke signals from posted sentries.

11. The Athenian reaction

Immediately upon seeing smoke signals coming from the direction of Marathon, it is likely that a vanguard force of perhaps several hundred mounted hoplites (the Hippeis – those wealthy enough to own horses) dashed out along the main coastal road to man pre-prepared defences and await the arrival of the main hoplite force setting out on foot.

Some hours later the main Athenian force began to arrive from all directions, both along the main coastal road and the mountainous overland routes behind Marathon. This influx would have continued for several days as men continued to arrive from the surrounding areas of Attica.

12. The size and composition of the opposing armies

Although the Athenians could have raised a total force of approximately 16,000 hoplites at the time, only 9000 of these could be deployed at Marathon, with the remainder being desperately needed to defend key strategic positions along the coast and inland to guard against any Persian breakthrough or secondary axis of advance. In addition to this, a further garrison was also needed in Athens itself to quell any attempts by fifth-columnists to seize control of the city. [6]

The Athenian force at Marathon was soon bolstered by an additional 1,000 hoplites from the city of Plataea, their faithful allies 70 km to the north-west, an act for which the Athenians would be forever grateful. This now boosted the total hoplite force at Marathon to 10,000 men.

The 10,000 hoplites at Marathon would be greatly outnumbered by the Persians, however, with the invaders boasting a total force of about 35,000 archers / infantry, in addition to approximately 1000 cavalry. [7]

The Persian force would have also consisted of about 50,000 sailors and rowers to transport such an army, resulting in an enormous 86,000 mouths to feed. [7]

13. Spartan help is sent for

Immediately upon the arrival of the Persians, the Athenians sent a dispatch runner, Pheidippides, to request help from their former Spartan enemies. [8] But the Spartans, observing their religious festival of the Carneia, were unable to march out to war until the full moon on 9th September, which meant a delay of about eight or nine days before the Spartans could be expected at Marathon. [9]

Thanks to the advice of Hippias and Persian intelligence, however, the Persian commander Datis would have been well aware of the request for Spartan assistance.

14. Time: a critical factor

With about eight or nine days before the arrival of the Spartans, both sides realized that time would be a critical factor, working both for and against either side. Every day that passed not only placed cumulative strain on Persian logistics and brought the Spartans closer, but also increased the likelihood of Athens being betrayed by internal Persian sympathizers.

15. Logistics

The logistics situation was a key factor in this battle, and was stacked significantly against the Persians, whose time at Marathon was constrained by the amount of stores they had transported with them. At best, they may have been able to augment their supplies with a trickle of grain from Eretria as well as the Cyclades islands they had subdued en route to the mainland, but with 86,000 mouths to feed, their window of opportunity was quite limited.

The very opposite was true for the Athenians, however, who could rely upon an almost limitless flow of supplies from Athens provided their communications routes remained secure.

A factor of huge significance was the Persian landing coinciding with the end of the Greek harvest season. Not only had this filled the grain stores of Athens and the surrounding areas of Attica, but had also freed up a huge reservoir of manpower to the tune of perhaps several thousand men.

16. The Athenian strategy for Marathon

The Athenians, who had been well aware of the looming Persian threat for a number of years, would have had strategies in place to deal with various contingencies, and Marathon would have been at the top of their list of possible landing sites.

The Athenian strategy to meet a Marathon landing was quite straightforward: rather than staying behind the walls of Athens to defend the city, which risked a protracted siege, a demoralize populace, and internal betrayal by Persian sympathizers, the army would march out to Marathon and stand on the defensive. Quickly seeing that they were not only outnumbered by the Persians, but also outgunned by the invader’s combined arms capability, the Athenians would stay at their defensive positions and refuse to engage the Persians on the open plain. This would place a cumulative strain on Persian logistics while buying time for the arrival of the Spartans.

The overall objective would have been to force a Persian retreat, either by straining the invader’s logistics capacity to breaking point, or by inflicting a significant enough blow against them once the Spartans had arrived.

17. Athenian garrisons and Persian options

In order to seal off the communications routes to Athens, hoplite garrisons were required at several key locations (see Figure 2). The Athenians would have placed their garrisons at the narrowest point at each of these positions, giving them maximal phalanx depth.

The most critical of these routes was the entrance to the coastal road at the southern end of the plain. This road was relatively wide and flat, and was the only feasible route for accommodating a large force such as the Persians.

There were overland routes to the rear of the plain leading out from the Vrana and Marathon valleys, however these involved far more difficult mountainous terrain, with numerous defiles in the form of narrow valleys and gorges. These routes would have created numerous problems for the Persians, including slow and cumbersome logistics, the nullifying of their cavalry’s mobility, and rendering them highly vulnerable to blocking manoeuvres and ambushes. In addition to this, the Persians would have needed to place multiple garrisons all along their line of communications, stretching all the way from their fleet anchored at Marathon Bay to Athens itself – an enormous distance of 40 km (25 miles). This was simply not feasible.

The Persian commander Datis would have instead chosen to adhere to the strategy of attempting to draw the Athenians onto the open plain for battle.

Importantly, the Persians did have the option of a split-force manoeuvre, whereby part of their force would be re-embarked to sail for Athens, while the remainder stayed behind at Marathon to act as a fixing force, preventing the Athenians from marching back to Athens without being attacked from the rear.

18. Neutralizing Persian advantages with terrain

The Athenians had probably established pre-prepared defensive lines of abattis (felled trees and brush) in front of all defensive positions even before the Persians had landed (owing to the probability of Marathon as a landing site), a simple but ingenious move which would have made a Persian cavalry charge at these locations impossible. [10]

Furthermore, I would also suggest that the Athenians had neutralized the ability of massed Persian archer fire by positioning themselves within wooded terrain. We know that the terrain at the main Athenian position at the entrance to the coastal road was quite heavily wooded in 490 BC. [11] In addition to this, the mouths of the Vrana and Marathon valleys – the two other key defensive positions leading out from the plain – were probably at least partially wooded. With the Athenians being stationed several hundred metres within the woods at these three locations, the men were now essentially immune from massed archer fire. Furthermore, the hoplites’s armour and large shields would also have afforded them effective protection against arrows.

Assault by Persian infantry alone, although possible, was not tenable without absorbing heavy losses owing to the lack of archer and cavalry support, especially against intact phalanx lines which were jammed into narrow defiles and could not be easily outflanked.

In short, the Persian combined arms advantage against these well-established positions had been completely nullified.

19. Disrupting water supplies and employing biological warfare

The Persians would have derived most of their drinking water from the Great Marsh (more of a lake at the time), the northern end of which contained fresh water. Almost certainly, the Athenians had dammed up as many of the supplying tributaries upstream from it as possible, and had contaminated the remainder of the flow with as many rotting animal carcasses as possible. [12]

20. The eight-day stalemate

Once the Athenians had established their positions, a waiting game played out for eight days, with the Persians lining up for battle on the plain every morning in the hopes of luring their opponents onto the open plain. But with the Athenians remaining at their defensive postions, strain on Persian logistics began to grow.

Figure 2. During the fist eight days at Marathon, a stalemate ensued, with the Persians (red) offering battle on the plain while the Athenians (blue) remained at their defensive positions at the entrance to the main coastal road as well the mouths of the Vrana and Marathon valleys.
21. Tactical dilemmas

During the inaction that played out over the first eight days, Callimachus and Miltiades understood the huge tactical dilemmas they faced. The main threat at this stage came from a Persian split-force scenario. Should the Persians carry out such a manoeuvre, the Athenians would have no choice but to march out onto the plain to swiftly crush the fixing force left at Marathon – an enormously difficult challenge – before marching back to Athens immediately to prevent the re-embarked Persian force from capturing the city.

Although a Persian split-force scenario would greatly reduce the numbers imbalance at Marathon, there was still the almost insurmountable problem of the Athenians finding some way to circumvent the invader’s archers and cavalry.

22. Chinks in the Persian armour begin to appear: archers and cavalry

Despite their concerns, Callimachus and Miltiades had not been idle during the eight-day lull. They had ventured out onto the plain to stealthily observe the Persian camp and troop formations in order to identify potential weaknesses and opportunities.

Gradually, beneath the formidable appearance of the Persian war machine, chinks in the armour did begin to appear.

It was realized that the effect of the Persian archers could be mitigated not only by the hoplites’s armour and shields, but also by the hoplites running through the Persian archers’s “kill zone” (a distance of about 150 m) to minimize casualties. [13]

Most crucially of all, however, a potential vulnerability had been identified with the Persian cavalry: the Persian grooms’s husbandry routine. Athenian scouts had observed the Persian horses being taken to graze in pastures for a number of hours each night before being returned to the cavalry camp to be rested. Then, shortly before dawn, they would be roused and led through a narrow pass out to the main Persian line to form back up into battle formations. [14]

Most importantly of all, the scouts had observed that it took all 1000 cavalry well over two hours to negotiate the narrow pass at a slow pace. [15] Even if the horses were to travel through this pass at a gallop, it would take some time before significant numbers reached the Persian line.

23. Weaknesses in the Persian infantry appear

If the Athenians could march out onto the plain and reach the Persian line during the slim but critical window of opportunity while the cavalry were absent just before dawn, they might be able to slip inside the enemy’s reaction time and decision-making cycle, rendering the Persian infantry line enormously vulnerable.

Furthermore, it was observed that the better-equipped, more disciplined Persian troops were placed in the centre of the line, with regular troops being placed on either wing. This meant that if a determined phalanx strike was able to shatter either wing, the Athenians could then wheel in from either side on the elite Persian troops in the centre.

This could prove decisive.

24. The Persians split their forces

After eight days, the Persians strategy of luring the Athenians into battle had failed. With stores running low and the arrival of the Spartans inching closer, the Persian commander Datis realized that the larger objective of sacking Athens was not going to be met.

Instead, Datis could maybe save face with King Darius by inflicting a “partial defeat” on Athens by launching a swift raid on the city in order to burn as much of it as possible, while taking as many captives as he could. Should he linger within Athens for too long, however, his army would face besiegement and his fleet destruction by a combined Athenian and Spartan force.

Datis therefore decided upon a split-force strategy by re-embarking half of his men to sail for Athens, heading the expedition himself, while keeping the remainder at Marathon as a fixing force under his second-in-command Artephernes.

Knowing that his fleet would be vulnerable as half of his army was preoccupied with the chaotic task of re-embarking, Datis decided to carry out re-embarkation under cover of darkness on the night of September 11.

25. The waiting game ends

In the dead of night on 11 September under a bright full moon, Athenian scouts could hear the clamour of men walking up gangplanks being accompanied by the whinny of horses. As the hours passed, the scouts could clearly see that the Persians were re-embarking much of their force but not all of it.

Eventually, a slow but steady stream of Persian vessels began putting out to sea under the full moon and heading south to round Cape Sounion en route to Athens.

The Athenian commanders were alerted of this. They correctly discerned Persian intentions, realizing that they faced being pinned at Marathon while their city was imperilled. With the dispatched Persian fleet set to take between 8 – 18 hours to reach Athens, the clock was now ticking. [16]

26. The Athenian strategy is finalized

Upon identifying Persian weaknesses over the preceding days, a radical plan had taken shape in the minds of Callimachus and Miltiades – a strategy that was daring and risky in the extreme, and something which had never before been attempted by any hoplite army.

With the Persian line now at half strength, the general confusion caused by re-embarkation, and the Persian cavalry potentially able to be circumvented during the dim conditions of the morning twilight, Callimachus and Miltiades finalized their final plans for a pre-emptive strike just before dawn. [17]

27. Battle formations

During the early hours of 12 September, the Vrana and Marathon valley garrisons were ordered to join up with the main Athenian garrison guarding the coast road. This now gave the hoplites a total strike force of 10,000 men.

Callimachus and Miltiades now began to put their radical plan into action. In order to avoid the obvious danger of being outflanked, they ordered the Athenian line to be elongated to the incredible length of 1500 m by thinning their centre to four ranks, while retaining the standard depth of eight rows on either flank. This resulted in a phalanx which was sturdy on the flanks, but compromised in the centre, and this weak centre was – oddly enough – actually central to the bold plan of Callimachus and Miltiades.

28. The darkest hour just before the dawn

Finally, about one hour before the light of dawn under a bright full moon, the phalanx ranks were dressed, drawn up in neat, disciplined order, and awaiting the order to advance.

Animal sacrifices were made and the omens found to be favourable. The order to advance was then given.

And so it began.

With the Persian line about one mile ahead of them, the Athenians aimed to close as much of the distance as possible before the Persians became aware of their advance.

By taking advantage of the pre-dawn darkness, the lulled Persian expectations of an attack, the distraction caused by those ships still re-embarking, and by marching out at a fast pace, every precious minute the Athenians remained undetected bolstered the element of surprise.

The future of their lands and their families now hung in the balance. Men were shaking with nerves, their mouths dry, their breathing heavy. Some men soiled themselves. But all kept in formation and continued forward.

29. Twilight breaks: “a madness which must be fatal”

As the advancing Athenian line became visible in the dim twilight of dawn, Persian captains and lieutenants began shouting orders for their men to prepare for battle. Commotion followed as infantry lines straightened and archer units arranged themselves.

Persian dispatch riders were hurriedly sent to alert their cavalry camp.

Although caught unprepared without their cavalry, the Persians were not concerned. These men were possessed with overconfidence, having never lost a battle, and were not mentally prepared for the avalanche of heavy infantry about to hit them. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus gives us some indication of the Persian mindset at this point:

. . . and the Persians seeing them advancing . . . made preparations to receive them; and in their minds they [labelled] the Athenians with madness which must be fatal, seeing that they were few and yet were pressing forwards . . . having neither cavalry nor archers. Such was the thought of the Barbarians.” [18]

30. The Persian cavalry’s tactical dilemma

Upon being informed of the situation, the Persian cavalry camp was roused into action. Precious minutes ticked by as grooms and riders scrambled to get the horses prepared, with the cavalry then charging as fast as possible through the narrow pass leading out to the plain.

By the time the cavalry approached the Athenian line, it was not only delayed, but approached the Athenians as a gradual trickle rather than a solid pack.

Furthermore, the Athenians had anchored their right flank along the beach as they advanced, thus limiting the cavalry’s options to an outflanking manoeuvre of their left wing.

As the Persian riders closed in, they found themselves caught in a hideous tactical dilemma: if they engaged the Athenians at this point, they themselves risked being hit by their own archers, and should they engage the Athenians once contact occurred, they in turn would hit their own infantry.

In total confusion and with no clear orders, the cavalry held back, waiting to see how the situation developed.

31. Contact is made

At a distance of about 150 m from the Persian line, the Athenians watched as the enemy archers unleashed a hail of arrow fire. The Athenians held their hoplon shields just below eye level, giving them almost complete body coverage. A pre-arranged command was then shouted along the entire length of the phalanx, and the men broke into a run. Some Athenians were hit and killed; many more were wounded. But the vast majority of the hoplites remained unscathed.

Then, at a distance of about 30 m from the Persian line, a second command was shouted along the line, this time ordering the hoplites to halt and very quickly reform back into tight phalanx formation. The hoplites stopped abruptly as the shower of arrows continued, desperately catching their breaths as they organized back into tight phalanx formation. Many men were struck, but discipline prevailed, and the lines were again organized and dressed. The Athenian hoplite juggernaut – an incredible 1500 m in length – then began marching towards the enemy.

It was probably at this point – upon seeing what little effect their archers had – that alarm really began to take hold throughout the Persian ranks.

Finally, just as dawn was breaking, contact was made, and the epic battle which would witness the birth of Western civilization had begun with the spilling of the Eastern invaders’s blood on this most sacred soil of Ancient Hellas.

What followed was a cataclysm of exceptional violence. The Persians within thrusting range suffered horrific injuries, with stabs straight to the head, the neck, or the chest, often with major blood vessels being severed, resulting in death almost instantly. Those Persians not impaled outright were pushed back by the relentless tidal wave of bronze. Many were ploughed to the ground, skewered as they were trampled over.

The invaders had never before faced a solid wall of shields and spears, and for perhaps several hundred metres, there was no stopping the hoplite steamroller. The cogs of the Persian war machine had been completely jammed by the timing of the Athenian advance, just as Callimachus and Miltiades had intended. The Persian combined arms capability had completely evaporated, descending into a disorganized, desperate ad-hoc scramble.

Recognizing the danger, the Persians rushed to get as many men and horses as possible back off the ships that were still loading.

Gradually, the sheer weight of Persian numbers slowed the pace of the hoplite advance, particularly against the thinned Athenian centre, which began to lag behind.

32. The Persian wings collapse

What began as a steady retraction of the Persian wings soon descend into carnage, and finally a complete rout, with the Persians collapsing into panic and disarray, fleeing for their lives. It was here that the Athenian skirmishers were ordered into the fray, rushing in from either flank to pursue the fleeing Persians in order to prevent them from regrouping.

While the Persians from the routed left wing fled back to their camp near the beach, those from the right wing were not so lucky. Pressed by the pursuing skirmishers, their only chance of escape lay in entering the Great Marsh, more of a lake at the time. Before long, they found themselves hundreds of metres deep into the marsh. Overwhelmed by exhaustion and completely disorientated in the deep water, almost all perished. [19]

33. The Persian cavalry withdraws

Meanwhile, the Persian cavalry, so far having held back and rendered unable to intervene, looked on with alarm as both flanks of the Persian line collapsed. Realizing that they now faced being cut off from retreat, they headed swiftly to their line of ships along the beach.

The Persian archers had failed. The Persian cavalry had failed. And now the Persian infantry line was failing.

34. The Athenian centre ruptures

Along the thinned Athenian centre, events were just as dramatic, with the force hitting the hoplite line having become too much. The hoplites were thrown into disarray, losing all coherence and finally breaking. What had begun as a tight, coherent shield wall was reduced to a disorganized melee, with the Athenians fighting for their lives.

Many hoplites were cut down and fell. But for the Persians, events were about to take a catastrophic turn.

The Athenians on the wings, with their opponents having taken flight, were now ordered to break formation and quickly redeploy inwards to relieve their beleaguered comrades in the centre.

35. The trap is sprung

The Persians engaging the crumbling Athenian centre, with their gaze fixed firmly in front of them, had no idea of events taking shape to their rear. Slowly but surely, the hoplites from both flanks were reforming back into tight phalanx formation and closing in from either side – a manoeuvre never before attempted by a hoplite army, and exactly what Callimachus and Miltiades had planned.

The remaining Persians on the field were about to be caught in a double envelopment, or pincer manoeuvre – the first such manoeuvre ever recorded in military history.

By the time the Persians had become aware of this alarming turn of events, it was too late. They had been trapped in a killing zone that was being squeezed tighter and tighter.

Despite the compressed Persian ranks now being cut down from three sides, many Persians did manage to flee through the gap to the rear of the pocket, which had not been fully sealed off (this was an example of a partial double envelopment, rather than a full one).

By the end of the battle, the bodies of thousands of Persians lay strewn across the plain.

36. The final confrontation on the beach

The exhausted hoplites now recuperated for one final task: an assault upon the Persian ships. As the Athenians still had a long march ahead of them back to Athens, they could not allow Artephernes’ force to remain at Marathon, which could still regroup and hit them from the rear as they headed back to the city in a vulnerable column of march.

The Athenians once again reorganized back into phalanx formation and began marching towards the shore.

Already demoralized and bloodied, the hastily-assembled Persian rearguard quickly disintegrated in the face of the renewed hoplite onslaught. With the battle now at its culmination point, Artephernes’ fleet scrambled to get off the shore as quickly as possible, abandoning many of their men to their fate.

Amidst this chaos, the Athenians managed to capture seven enemy vessels before the remainder slipped through their fingers.

It was here that Callimachus fell in battle.

37. Pheidippides’ run to Athens: the inaugural marathon run

The battle may have been won, but the war not over. Despite this spectacular victory against all odds, Athens was still threatened by the approaching Persian fleet as well as Persian sympathizers within the city walls.

In order to strip all hope from the traitors within the walls of the city and forestall any last-ditch attempt at a coup, the runner Pheidippides was sent with news of the victory. [20], [21]

Pheidippides, having already covered a round trip of 240 km nine days earlier to request help from the Spartans, now covered the full 40 km back to Athens, running straight into the agora (public square) before exclaiming “νικωμεν” (nikomen – “We have won!”), before he too fell – the last casualty of this war.

38. The march back to Athens

After this monumental battle, the exhausted Athenians would have been rested for just a matter of hours before having to engage in a gruelling forced march all the way back to Athens. With Datis’ naval force due to make landfall in a matter of hours, and Artephernes’ fleet following close behind, the fate of the city still hung in the balance.

39. Staring down the Persians at Phaleron

Having reached the city, the Athenians, by now exhausted to a point that is simply impossible to imagine, headed straight out to the city’s port at Phaleron, the only feasible site for a Persian landing. Now joined by several thousand additional hoplites who had been defending the rear areas, they assembled their line across the beach in a formidable display of strength and waited.

Within hours, the Persian fleet arrived and anchored off the shore. Datis would have been stunned as he looked out and realized that the hoplites had not only routed Artephernes’ fixing force, but had also managed to arrive back to the city in time.

Faced with the near-impossible task of establishing a beachhead in the face of such opposition, Datis reluctantly weighed anchor. Burning with resentment and fully aware of the wrath he would soon face in the court of King Darius for his failure, Datis ordered the fleet to put about and head back to Asia.

40. The Spartans arrive

Later that very same day, the Spartans finally arrived and greeted their former Athenian foes. Having never before laid eyes on a Persian warrior, they eagerly marched out to Marathon to look upon the bodies of the slain.

No doubt in awe at the feat of their rivals, they commended the Athenians for their valour before heading back to Sparta. Many had perhaps sensed that a watershed moment in the history of Hellas had been reached, and they would have been correct.

41. The cost

Herodotus tells us that the Persians lost a massive 6400 men at the cost of only 192 Athenian dead. While the Persian figure is probably close to the truth, the Athenians probably suffered many hundreds of casualties, perhaps well in excess of 1000. However, there remains no firm consensus amongst scholars regarding this.

Regardless, the final resting place of the Athenian dead remains at the sacred Tumulus to this very day, which is located at the southern end of Marathon Plain.

42. Why did the Athenians win the battle? An overview

The Battle of Marathon revealed a level of tactical sophistication in the Athenian army that was truly astounding. The Persians had been out-thought, out-timed, and out-fought.

At the most fundamental level, the Athenian victory can be understood by the willingness of the Athenian leadership to adapt their tactical design to suit to the situation. While the overconfident Persian commander Datis made no attempt to improvise his approach, the Athenian commanders carefully studied their opponents in order to find critical weaknesses, making the necessary improvisations and adjustments to their formation and tactics. The decisive moment came when Callimachus and Miltiades used the Persian split-force advantage against the invader, ensuring that the timing and manner of their pre-emptive strike circumvented the Persian tactical advantages of numbers, archers and cavalry, thus catching the invader at their most vulnerable moment.

In short, the Athenians had brought a whole series of tactical factors to bear on the one strategic objective, executing a daring master stroke of military brilliance on that fateful day in 490 BC.

43. The legacy

The Battle of Marathon set the stage for a second Persian invasion of Greece ten years later under King Xerxes in 480 BC. It was during this invasion that the epic battles of Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale took place, once again thwarting Persian ambition to add the lands of Hellas to the Persian orbit, and by default preventing Persian expansion into the Balkans.

Finally, almost 150 years following this, the climactic battle of Gaugamela at the hands of Alexander the Great would witness the final destruction of the army of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

Critically, Marathon would also set in motion the rise of Classical Greece, which saw an explosion of exquisite high culture in the form of mathematics, science, philosophy, art, architecture, theatre, and literature.

The Roman world would in turn borrow very heavily from Classical Greece, and expand in all directions to create the greatest civilization of the Ancient World. Greco-Roman culture, with all of its rich influences, would fertilize European culture for centuries to come, only to fade away, and then be resurrected a millennia later to give birth to the European Renaissance, thus paving the way for the greatest civilization of all time.

The thwarting of Persian ambition in 490 BC was therefore central to all of these changes, giving rise to a civilization worth fighting for. Indeed, it is very difficult to imagine the emergence of a Classical Greece under Persian rule; it is very difficult to picture a Socrates, Aristotle, or Plato under the yoke of the Eastern invader.

And all of these momentous changes, which still echo with us to this very day, began on 12 September, 490 BC, on the plain of Marathon.

Photo gallery



[1] Although many of the background details are fairly well-established, there is little consensus amongst scholars regarding exactly what occurred during the actual battle itself, and almost every aspect of this historic event continues to be debated. It is a topic open to much interpretation and speculation, and none of the many theories put forward can be definitively proven nor disproven. This is chiefly because of the lack of true primary sources from Greece and the lack of Persian sources. Herodotus, who wrote about the event some 50-60 years after the event, is the closest we have to a true contemporary source, but devotes barely a few hundred words to the battle itself. In putting this article together, I have drawn upon the work of leading scholars in the field in addition to the primary historical sources, and have chosen those interpretations which I personally feel fit best with military realities, which is the approach taken by most historians.

[2] Although the hoplites invariably donned bronze Corinthian helmets, bronze greaves for shin protection, and bronze-plated hoplon shields, not all wore breastplates (or cuirasses) fashioned from bronze. In many cases, breastplates were instead composed of a very tough composite of leather and linen strips, which still afforded excellent protection.

[3] The only Persian soldiers to have witnessed an organized hoplite phalanx were massacred in an ambush some eight years prior to Marathon during the Ionian revolt. See Lacey (2011), Kindle location 2672-2689.

[4] See Lacey (2011). Kindle location 2550.

[5] Lacey makes the very relevant point that the Athenian generals, in facing a threat unlike any before they had encountered, would have been very unlikely to have promoted an untried and untested commander such as Miltiades ahead of Callimachus, the latter not only being the commander-in-chief of the Athenian army, but a leader with considerable experience. Furthermore, few Athenians trusted Miltiades in view of his prior history of serving in the Persian army. Lacey also makes the point that the information available to Herodotus about the battle may have been highly skewed by the attempts of Miltiades’ son Cimon (a highly influential Athenian statesman and general during the time of Herodotus) at restoring the reputation of his father. We also know that Callimachus had been loyal to the powerful Pisistratus political clan, a family who had fallen into disrepute by the time of Herodotus and Cimon, contaminating the reputation of Callimachus by association. Lastly, the Athenians erected a memorial to Callimachus on top of the Acropolis in 490 BC, an honour not given to Miltiades. See Lacey (2011), Kindle locations 1802-1831, 3144.

[6] The figure of 16,000 hoplites is based on a calculation of Jim Lacey’s stating that there would have been some 30,000–35,000 men of combat age available from a total population of 150,000 (from Athens in addition to the surrounding areas of Attica). Given the economic prosperity of Athens at the time, in addition to armour and weapons likely to have been collected following previous military victories over Chalcis, Argos, Aegina, and possibly even Thebes, Lacey estimates enough armour to have been available to equip at least 14,000 hoplites. In addition, there were most likely some 2000 Athenian hoplites summoned from settlements at Chalcis to the north. See Lacey (2011), Kindle location 2492–2531.

[7] See Lacey (2011), Kindle location 2935.

[8] Some translations of Herodotus instead include the name Philippides (a common Athenian name) as opposed to Pheidippides. It has been suggested that the name Pheidippides is a variant of Philippides as used by the Athenian comic playwright Aristophanes for rhetorical effect. See Fink (2014), Kindle location 3708-3770.

[9] See Donald W. Olson, Russell L. Doescher, Marilynn S. Olson. The Moon. Sky & Telescope, September 2004. p 39.

[10] The account of Cornelius Nepos (1st century BC) tells us that abattis was used in order to neutralize the Persian cavalry. It is my contention that it would have made sense for the Athenians to pre-prepare these defences before the Persians arrived (probably upon learning of the Persian attack on Eretria). See Cornelius Nepos, Book I. Miltiades, V. Kindle location 160.

[11] See Lacey (2011), Kindle location 3091.

[12] See Lacey (2011), Kindle location 3065.

[13] Estimates of the effective range of Persian archer fire vary from about 60-335 m, with Hammond offering a reasonable compromise of 150 m. See Fink (2014), Kindle location 746-772, and Hammond (1968), p. 17, note 27.

[14] Horse grazing takes many hours per day, so it is entirely likely that the Persian grooms had to attend to this during the night. The night grazing scenario is also suggested by Hammond (1968, p. 41), and Krentz (2010, pp. 142– 143).

[15] Krentz, drawing on the suggestion of Leake and Hammond that the cavalry had to pass single file along this along this narrow road, suggests that it would have taken a cavalry force of 600 horses 50 minutes to ride through the bottleneck if it took five seconds for each horse to pass the spring, and one hour and 40 minutes if each horse took ten seconds. See Krentz, p. 142-143 (Kindle location 2380 – 2392).

[16] See Fink (2014), Kindle edition. Persian sailing times from Marathon to Athens quoted by Fink include the following estimates from various scholars:
– Grundy: 18 hours (Kindle location 4769)
– Hammond: 8 hours (Kindle location 4782)
– Billows: under 12 hours (Kindle location 4782)
– Hodge: 30-45 hours (Kindle location 4848)
– Evans: 30 hours (Kindle location 4851)
Rejecting the upper two limits given by Hodge and Evans as being far slower than the usual sail times given by historians, the range of the first three figures is instead given (8-18 hours).

[17] The dawn attack scenario has been suggested by numerous scholars, including Hammond (1968), Billows (2010), and Lacey (2011). See Hammond (1968), Billows (2010), p. 213, Lacey (2011), Kindle location 3234.

[18] See Herodotus, Book VI, 112.

[19] Pausanias, who presumably interviewed the residents of Marathon (circa 150 AD) tells us that the Great Marsh was the site of very heavy Persian losses, and this coincides with part of the monument trophy found by Vanderpool in 1966 near the Great Marsh, which would have been erected by the ancient Athenians to indicate the part of the field where many of the enemy perished. See Pausanias 1.32.6., Vanderpool (Apr. – Jun., 1966), pp. 101-106.

[20] The Pheidippides account, related to us by Lucian (2nd century AD), is rejected by many historians, as no such run from Marathon to Athens is recorded by Herodotus. A more believable option is that the Athenians would have sent a messenger on horseback along the flat coastal road. But the Pheidippides account is of course by now eternally enshrined in Marathon lore, and makes for a brilliantly heroic finale to this amazing battle. See Lucian, Pro lapsu inter salutandum.

[21] Plutarch (1st century AD) records the runner as being either Thersippus or Eucles, both of whom who died upon announcing the victory. See Plutarch, Moralia, 347 E.


Herodotus. The Histories. Wilder Publications. 2015. Book VI, 111.

Lacey, Jim. The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization. Bantam Books, 2011. Kindle edition.

Dennis L. Fink. The Battle of Marathon in Scholarship: Research, Theories and Controversies Since 1850. McFarland & Company. 2014.

Cornelius Nepos. Lives of Eminent Commanders. Delphi Publishing. 2017. Kindle edition. Book I. Miltiades, V.

Hammond, N.G.L. (1968). The campaign and the battle of Marathon. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 88, 13-57.

Krentz, Peter. The Battle of Marathon. Yale University. 2010. Kindle edition.

Billows, Richard A. Marathon: How One Battle Changed Western Civilization. The Overlook Press. 2010.

Pausanias. Complete Works of Pausanias. Delphi Classics. 2014.

Vanderpool, Eugene. A Monument to the Battle of Marathon. Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 1966), pp. 101-106.

Lucian. Pro lapsu inter salutandum.

Plutarch, Moralia, 347 E.

Rupert Murdoch’s (Kike) Appalling Corporate Legacy: An International Empire of Sexual Harassment and Law Breaking

Bill O’Reilly may be gone at Fox News, but Rupert Murdoch’s festering Fox News mess isn’t going away anytime soon.

Murdoch cut ties with the host last week after multiple women’s reports of sexual harassment became public. Since then, seven black Fox News employees indicated that they plan to join a racial discrimination suit filed last month by two colleagues, according to New York magazine, and three former Fox employees — Margaret Hoover, Alisyn Camerota, and Kirsten Powers — said on CNN that the culture of sexual harassment at Fox News is deeply ingrained. “The culture … is still there because the executives are still there,” said Hoover.

Then on Monday, former Fox host Andrea Tantaros filed a new lawsuit against the company in federal court, which alleges, “A person working for Fox News was responsible for hacking Ms. Tantaros’s computer so that she could be spied upon.” (Last year, Tantaros sued Fox News for $30 million, claiming sexual harassment.)

Murdoch, his sons James and Lachlan, and 21st Century Fox — which they control and which owns Fox News — are still facing numerous corporate challenges, which might still be raging on July 6.

That date will mark the one-year anniversary of Gretchen Carlson filing her sexual harassment lawsuitagainst former Fox News boss Roger Ailes, which triggered numerous other reports of harassment from women working at Fox News. “As a direct and proximate result of Carlson refusing Ailes’ sexual advances, and retaliation for Carlson’s complaints about discrimination and harassment, Ailes terminated her employment, causing her significant economic, emotional and professional harm,” Carlson stated in her filing. (She later reportedly settled the suit for $20 million.)

It’s quite possible that 52 weeks later, Fox News and the Murdoch family will still be mired in the mess.

Yet I get a sense that the media mogul and his sons are getting something of a pass in the press in the wake of the reports about O’Reilly and Ailes, which followed Murdoch’s ugly wiretapping chapter in the U.K.

How many strikes do they get?

As the media grappled with the reports about O’Reilly last week, Murdoch was portrayed as a “pragmatist” and a “savvy political observer.” And driving the Murdoch sons? They’re determined to steer “the family ship far into a new century, with new standards of workplace behavior,” according to The New York Times. Additionally, the Times stressed that the sons “seem determined to rid the company of its roguish, old-guard internal culture and tilt operations toward the digital future.”

Somehow Murdoch, a famously active manager, has been portrayed as a distant player who was oddly not culpable for what has transpired at the highest levels of Fox News.

And that’s absurd.

If Murdoch were a “pragmatist” who was actually concerned with cleaning up the rotten culture at Fox News, he would have thoroughly addressed the raging problem last summer when the reports of Ailes harassing female employees were making headlines.

Instead of addressing the huge problem, Murdoch and his sons consciously chose to paper it over by simply dismissing Ailes, while actually promoting a top Ailes deputy, Bill Shine, even though he’d been accused of helping to cover up claims against both Ailes and O’Reilly. Those don’t sound like executives concerned with ridding the company of an “old-guard internal culture,” as the Times claims.

Then, months later, Murdoch renewed O’Reilly’s contract despite the fact that O’Reilly and Fox News had settled five harassment suits.

That’s not the Murdochs being pragmatic. That’s them being wildly cavalier and irresponsible.

Yet some journalists seem to be viewing the latest issues within Murdoch’s corporate empire through a soda straw and not seeing the entire, unsettling picture. They’re treating last week’s firing of O’Reilly as strictly a Fox News problem, instead of as part of a larger culture of criminality that Murdoch has fostered for years at his media companies.

Recall that in the 2011 phone-hacking scandal, reporters at Murdoch’s British newspapers illegally tapped into the voicemails of celebrities, politicians, and even a murdered teenager, Milly Dowler.

As Vanity Fair noted at the time (emphasis added): “The hacking story has confirmed the fears of those who see the hand of Murdoch everywhere: the News of the World was hacking into thousands of people’s private voice mails. The paper was paying off the police.”

By 2015, it was estimated that the scandal had cost Murdoch’s company more than $500 million, which included “paying out some 377 legal settlements to victims of voicemail interception and a further 341 payouts through a voluntary compensation scheme, which was set up as an alternative to litigation.”

The hacking was thought to represent Murdoch’s professional low point. But now come the revelations of Fox News’ apparent disregard for workers’ rights.

British regulators are currently deciding whether Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox would qualify as “fit and proper” to purchase satellite TV giant Sky. Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents several women who say O’Reilly sexually harassed them, recently stressed to British officials, “The similarities between the current harassment scandal and the phone-hacking scandal reveal the company’s approach to business and management – a lack of oversight, intervention, and decency.”

Note that in recent years, Murdoch employees have been accused of not only hacking into phonescomputers, and emails, but also of paying off news sources. And today, Fox News is reportedly under federal investigation for allegedly try to hide the mountainous payments the company has made to women claiming sexual harassment.

Rupert Murdoch’s not a savvy pragmatist committed to cleaning up the harassment culture at Fox News. He’s been a profound enabler who placed profits above workplace decency. He deserves no gentle treatment from the press.


Eric Boehlert is is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America. He’s the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006) and Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press (Free Press, 2009). He worked for five years as a senior writer for, where he wrote extensively about media and politics.

This County Flipped From Obama to Trump. How Do Voters Feel Now?


A small fleet of black cars sits parked inside of Paul Smith’s garage in Plymouth, Pennsylvania. Most are SUVs that he uses to drive his customers around Luzerne County, the Poconos or even to Manhattan, about two-and-half hours away.

His small business is his lifeblood, and it’s what informs the 42-year-old when he’s in the voting booth, he explained after turning down the Howard Stern show blaring on the radio.

“I worry about the economy as a whole. I worry about any kind of terrorism-related event because travel slows down big time,” he said, while driving from Plymouth to Wilkes-Barre, the county seat located in the northeastern part of the state. “People don’t want to travel when things are scary, and I don’t blame them. That slows down my business.”

Smith previously supported Barack Obama, who carried Luzerne County both times he ran. But the small-business owner who employs a handful of contract workers was ready for a change in 2016 after eight years of a Democrat who promised a shakeup that Smith says never came.

Small business owner Paul Smith at his business in Plymouth, Pa. in Luzerne County.
Small business owner Paul Smith at his business in Plymouth, Pa. in Luzerne County. Mark Peterson / Redux for NBC News

Smith admitted that Trump sometimes make him nervous — but ultimately he thinks the president might do well.

“He’s a little more abrasive than I would be in some cases, but I don’t think he’s wrong,” Smith said. “There has been a lot of BS, a lot of waste and ridiculousness over many, many years for nothing.”

NBC News recently went to Luzerne County to speak to voters who helped deliver this county and this crucial swing state to Trump to hear about how they think he is doing after 100 days on the job. Do the economically struggling county’s voters, largely concerned with jobs, think the fledgling president is on track to deliver on his campaign promises?

“I feel he’s doing poorly because of flip-flopping on all the promises he made,” said Chris Race, who works at the Liberty Tax Service in Wilkes-Barre and who voted for Trump. “He promised to drain the swamp, put Hillary in prison, and repeal Obamacare. He hasn’t done those things.”

Others, however, are giving the new president more time.

“I voted for Trump, and I think he’s doing pretty good,” said Alan Rosenbaum, who works with learning disabled children in Ashley, Penn. “We went to see him when he was here during the campaign one year ago. He spoke very well, very direct. He is pro Israel, so that is good. It’s in the Bible.”

Chris Race of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Alan Rosenbaum from Ashley and Rick Morelli of Hazleton.
From left to right: Chris Race of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Alan Rosenbaum from Ashley and Rick Morelli of Hazletona. Mark Peterson / Redux for NBC News

Some Luzerne County residents also are quick to blame Congress, not Trump, for Washington’s ills.

“I’d like to see Trump work with some of those moderate Democrats and find a solution to healthcare and all that,” said Rick Morelli, a 46-year-old software developer who lives in Hazleton. “The problem is these guys on the far right and the far left. You got to keep those guys out and work with the people in the middle.”

RELATED: Trump to hold rally in Pennsylvania instead of attending press dinner

Considered a solid blue bulwark for nearly 20 years, 58 percent of voters in Luzerne County shirked tradition last year and voted for Trump — a move that helped flip Pennsylvania for the Republican.

Trump trounced Hillary Clinton here, beating her by 26,237 votes — a 20 point margin. Those Luzerne County ballots amounted to nearly 60 percent of Trump’s total winning margin in Pennsylvania. The county had gone for Obama by nine points in 2008 and provided him a five-point edge in 2012.

“You got to give [Trump] a chance,” said Tom Welkey, a retiree from Wilkes-Barre who voted for the president. “I like what he’s done with the military, but with the economy I haven’t seen anything change around here. There haven’t been any new jobs.”

County residents here don’t fully fit the Trump voter narrative of the non-college educated out-of-work blue collar voter, pining for better times. While that demographic is at play in an area defined by its weakening unions, nearly 60 percent of residents have white-collar jobs and 78 percent pursued studies after high school.

But the county does struggle with unemployment, which is one point higher than the five percent national average. That number has come down significantly, however, since it hit 10.5 percent in 2013.

Tom Welkey retired warehouse worker at home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
“I like what he’s done with the military but with the economy I haven’t seen anything change around here,” said Tom Welkey, a retired warehouse worker at home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Mark Peterson / Redux for NBC News

Amazon is Luzerne’s top employer after the state and federal governments. Luzerne’s newest Amazon facility, among several it has in the area, is a 400,000-square-foot fulfillment center on 51 acres in Pittson. The internet retailer is currently advertising for 350 warehouse positions there with an annual salary of $27,040.

“While unemployment is higher than the state average, it’s not terrible,” said Dr. Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University and expert on the area’s political history. “The problem is that people who have jobs are in jobs that don’t pay well. They’re working in warehouses, in distribution centers, jobs that pay $10 to $12 an hour. Many of these folks remember places where they could work and support a family.”

PHOTOS: Inside the Pennsylvania County that Traded Obama for Trump

Many residents have parents who worked in coal, but the mines shut down in the 1960s. The Knox Mine Disaster in Pittston killed 12 miners in 1959 and effectively led to the end of mining in northeast Pennsylvania. Textile mills and manufacturers, like Proctor and Gamble, then became major employers for the region, but their presence also has deteriorated over the past 20 years.

Trump came to the area during the campaign and spoke to the anxieties of an increasingly economically depressed region. Voters ears perked up to the candidate’s overall message.

“I voted for him and he’s doing great,” said 62-year-old disabled veteran Charles Miller of Pittston. “He’s doing what he said he was going to do: Keep us safe and go after the bad guys.”

Sixty-two year-old disabled veteran Charles Miller of Pittston, Pa.
“I voted for him and he’s doing great,” said sixty-two year-old disabled veteran Charles Miller of Pittston, Pa. Mark Peterson / Redux for NBC News

Kiyomi Clendenin, a 28-year-old bartender at the Oyster Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, listens to a lot of her customers talk politics.

“From what I see, people are quite happy with Trump,” she said. “People are hopeful. They say he’s going to pull through and do all of the things that he said.”

One of her customers, Joseph Jones, a 56-year-old disabled veteran who frequently comes to Clendenin’s bar to drink pineapple juice, agreed.

“Right now, he seems to be succeeding, but I will wait to see how he does after the full year to decide on him,” said Jones, who noted that he stopped short of voting for Trump because of the real estate mogul’s behavior during the election.

“I’m still leery to be honest,” he added. “But I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s our leader. I want him to do well.”

Outside the bar, local radio show host Edd Raineri escorted an Elvis impersonator to dinner before a show at the region’s performing arts center. He said there was no reason to be disappointed in the president — yet.

“He’s certainly done more in his first 100 days than anybody else has ever done — give the guy a break,” said Raineri, whose radio show is dedicated solely to the Beatles. “The attitude should be, ‘Show me.’ And if you can’t show me, then you can throw your mud. That should be for anyone who takes political office, but at this point it’s too early to say whether he’s just a windbag.”

Regan Murphy, left, a 20-year-old junior in college at Wilkes University and Radio show host Edd Raineri
Radio show host Edd Raineri, right, believes Trump has done more in his first 100 days than any other president. Regan Murphy, left, is a junior at Wilkes University. Mark Peterson / Redux for NBC News

Trump voter Regan Murphy, a 20-year-old junior in college at Wilkes University, is annoyed by Congress and thinks it’s the cause of any perceived failures by Trump. The self-described feminist, who dismissed Trump’s controversial statements about women as “locker room talk,” enjoyed her first experience in the voting booth in 2016 and believes the new president is flexing America’s muscles appropriately.

“Congress is giving him a hard time, but he’s actually taking action like with the bombing in Syria,” she said. “We voted for him to make changes. If we voted for that change, then we can’t fight him on everything.”

Smith, the car service owner, agreed, finding Washington lawmakers to be an unnecessary obstacle to Trump’s agenda and wishing that more people would take the president’s message to heart.

“It sounds corny to say,” he said, exhaling a plume of smoke from his cigarette, “but I really hope we can ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Judge Who Blocked Trump Sanctuary City Order Bundled $200K for Obama

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Federal Judge William Orrick III, who on Tuesday blocked President Trump’s order to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, reportedly bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars for President Barack Obama.

Orrick, of the Northern District of California, issued an injunction against the Trump administration after the city of San Francisco and county of Santa Clara sued over the president’s plan to withhold federal funds from municipalities that harbor illegal immigrants.

As reported:

The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco said that Trump’s order targeted broad categories of federal funding for sanctuary governments, and that plaintiffs challenging the order were likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional.

The decision will block the measure for now, while the federal lawsuit works its way through the courts.

The news comes on the heels of the Department of Justice threatening on Friday to cut off funding to eight so-called “sanctuary cities,” unless they were able to provide proof to the federal government that they weren’t looking the other way when it came to undocumented immigrants.

The same judge issued a restraining order in 2015 against the advocacy group responsible for undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees plotting to sell baby organs.

At the time, The Federalist found that Orrick raised at least $200,000 for Obama and donated more than $30,000 to groups supporting him.



NEW YORK – Those who deny the Holocaust are accomplices to this horrible evil, US President Donald Trump said in a powerful keynote speech to the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance ceremony held in the capitol on Tuesday.

“Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous antisemitism that continue all around the world,” he said. “This is my pledge to you: we will confront antisemitism, we will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred, we will bare witness and we will act. We will never ever be silent in the face of evil again.”


The week-long memorial event at the museum, which will end on Sunday, was first held in 1979 and then later established by Congress as a time for civic commemorations and special educational programs that help citizens remember and draw lessons from the Holocaust. By speaking at the annual ceremony, Trump joined a decadeslong tradition of presidents taking part in the event.

“I’m deeply moved to stand before those who survived history’s darkest hour,” the president told the many Holocaust survivors in the room. “You survived the ghettos, the concentration camps and the death camps, and you persevered to tell your stories.”

As president of the United States, Trump pledged to “always stand with the Jewish people” and with Israel.

“The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people,” he added. “The fervent dream that burned in the hearts of the oppressed is now filled with the breath of life and the star of David waves atop a great nation arisen from the desert.”

Many in the Jewish community had been skeptical ahead of Tuesday’s speech. The president has been criticized for his handling of antisemitism and the relationship with the community.

In January, Trump gave a speech for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which omitted any mention of the Jewish people and most recently, earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had to publicly apologize for saying that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons in the Holocaust.

In Tuesday’s address, Trump also paid tribute to survivor Elie Weisel, who past away last July, pointing out that this year marks the first remembrance of the Holocaust without him. “His absence leaves an empty space in our heart, but his spirit fills this room,” the president said.

As in every year, six candles were lit by Holocaust survivors, each accompanied by a member of Congress, in memory of the victims. The annual observance also recognized the American troops who liberated the Nazi concentration camps by opening with a procession of flags from each of the US Army divisions that were involved.