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Marathon (Paperback)

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Marathon (Paperback)

Richard A. Billows

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ISBN 13: 9781590205686
Trim Size: 5 3/8 x 8

Product Description

The Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. is not only understood as the most decisive event in the struggle between the Greeks and the Persians, but can also be seen as perhaps the most significant moment in our collective history.

10,000 Athenian citizens faced a Persian military force of more than 25,000. Greek victory appeared impossible, but the men of Athens were tenacious and the Persians were defeated. Following the battle, the Athenian hoplite army ran 26.5 miles from Marathon to Athens to defend their port from the Persian navy.

Although they had just run the great distance in heavy armor, the
Athenians won the battle and drove the Persian forces from Attica. Greek freedom ensued and the achievements of the culture became much of the basis for Western civilization. In this comprehensive and engrossing treatment, Richard Billows captures the drama of that day 2500 years ago and the ramifications it has had throughout Western history.

About the Author
Richard A.Billows, is a professor at Columbia University specializing in Ancient Greek and Roman history and Greek epigraphy. In addition to Marathon he is the author of Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State, Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism, and Julius Caesar: The Colossus of Rome. He lives in New York City.

Praise for Marathon

“"Acutely sensitive... Billows, taking the long view, sees Marathon as preserving Athenian democracy and thus all that we think of as our classical heritage." --Wall Street Journal

"The story's a classic: An outnumbered band of Athenians pushes back the mighty Persian army. But the battle of Marathon, 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece, left a legacy that extends far beyond the name of a famous race." –National Public Radio

"Even if you’re tough enough to survive the New York City Marathon, you’d probably have little chance to survive the original race in which Greek messenger Pheidippides ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the Persians. Historian Billows argues that Pheidippides’ run, which inspired the modern marathon race, introduced at the Athens Olympic Games of 1896, was a lot more challenging -- a 280-mile round-trip jog to Sparta to ask for aid, with the entire Greek army in tow." --New York Post

"Billows conceptualizes the fateful one-day battle between Persian Empire and the Athenian city-state with an engrossing narrative." -- Foreword Magazine

“Competently written book … A very good … introduction to Greek history that will be accessible to the general reader and to undergraduates.” --Book-Blog.com

“It is a general principle about making movies that a battle on the screen is only as good as the buildup to the action. In laying out the histories of Greece and Persia immediately preceding the battle at Marathon, Billows follows this principle and the result is effective. This is no small feat considering the quantity, significance, and complexity of the events in discussion. Yet the opening chapters do not simply recap history, but set the stage for 490 BC. What comes across most strongly are the many changes, none of them inevitable, which the Athenians underwent in the time preceding Marathon which made victory possible… Billows' sections on early Athenian lawmaking and political life are especially good…Gladly, Dr. Billows' book is not laden with footnotes and excessive scholarly minutiae. Someone, even a non-expert and non-Classicist, can actually pick it up and read it and enjoy it.” --Apologia Pro Literati Vita Blog

“Billows's Marathon is a sober, competently written book. A very good introduction to Greek history that will be accessible to the general reader and to undergraduates.” --Blogoraphos

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