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Attica Athens, 510-490 BC
Tetradrachm, issue leading up to the battle of Marathon (ANIMATION AVAILABLE)
The battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC. Darius I and the Persians had disembarked on the beaches of Marathon that has the shape of a “reverse C” shaped (the landscape is similar in modern time). Despite their numerical superiority and the advantage of fighting an army without an adequate cavalry, the Persians could not maneuver on the soft marshy land while the Miltiades and the Athenian army held the high ground. The stalemate favored the Greeks as the Persians were depleting their resources. Darius split his forces so that while some would attack and preoccupy the Athenians the rest would circumnavigate cape Sounion and attack Athens directly. Miltiades observed the Persian soldiers and chariots boarding the Persian fleet and recognized the Persian plan. He ordered an attack and outflanked the Persians who were stuck in the marshes. After the Persians were overcome he hurried his troops to Athens. Darius I confronted an Athenian army in front of Athens and decided to return to Persia instead of continue the battle. The herald Pheidippides ran 40 km (26 miles) from Marathon to Athens and with his final breath voiced "Νενικήκαμεν" (Nenikamen, 'We have won') to announce the Athenian victory over Darius. This run was the inspiration for the modern marathon race. Obverse Athena in crested ornamented Attic helmet Reverse ΑΘΕ owl olive sprig and crescent moon. Obverse head of Athena. Reverse owl in the center, olive twig with two leaves behind it Θ in front. VIEW ANIMATION (courtesy The Art of Battle/Jonathan Webb) http://www.theartofbattle.com/battle-of-marathon-490-bc-2.htm
Mint: Athens
Provenance: Courtesy Harlan J. Berk, LTD.

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