|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
THE BATTLE OF MARATHON
 THE Greek army seemed so very small beside the huge
host of invaders, that the Persians felt perfectly sure
that it would surrender as soon as the fight began.
Imagine their surprise, therefore, when the Greeks,
instead of waiting for them, gave the signal for
battle, and rushed furiously upon them.
The daring and force of the Greek attack so confused
the Persians, that they began to give way. This
encouraged the Greeks still further, and they fought
with such bravery that soon the army of The Great King
was completely routed.
Hippias, fighting at the head of
the Persian army, was one of the first to die; and when
the Persians saw their companions falling around them
like ripe grain under the mower's scythe, they were
seized with terror, rushed toward the sea, and embarked
in their vessels in great haste.
The Athenians followed the enemy closely, killing all
they could reach, and trying to prevent them from
embarking and so escaping their wrath. One Greek
soldier even rushed down into the waves, and held a
Persian vessel which was about to push off.
The Persians, anxious to escape, struck at him, and
chopped off his hand; but the Greek, without hesitating
a moment, grasped the boat with his other hand, and
held it fast. In their hurry to get away, the Persians
struck off that hand too; but the dauntless hero caught
and held the boat with his strong teeth, and died
 the repeated blows of the enemy without having once let
go. Thanks to him, not one of those enemies escaped.
The victory was a glorious one. The whole Persian force
had been routed by a mere handful of men; and the
Athenians were so proud of their victory, that they
longed to have their fellow-citizens rejoice with them.
One of the soldiers, who had fought bravely all day,
and who was covered with blood, said he would carry the
glad news, and, without waiting a moment, he started
off at a run.
Such was his haste to reassure the Athenians, that he
ran at his utmost speed, and reached the city in a few
hours. He was so exhausted, however, that he had barely
time to gasp out, "Rejoice, we have conquered!" before
he sank down in the middle of the market place, dead.
The Greeks, having no more foes to kill, next began to
rob the tents, where they found so much booty that each
man became quite rich. Then they gathered up their
dead, and buried them honorably on the battlefield, at
a spot where they afterward erected ten small columns
bearing the names of all who had lost their lives in
Just as all was over, the Spartan force came rushing
up, ready to give their promised aid. They were so
sorry not to have had a chance to fight also, and to
have missed a share in the glory, that they vowed they
would never again allow any superstition to prevent
their striking a blow for their native land whenever
the necessity arose.
Miltiades, instead of permitting his weary soldiers to
 camp on the battlefield, and celebrate their victory by
a grand feast, next ordered them to march on to the
city, so as to defend it in case the Persian fleet came
to attack it.
The troops had scarcely arrived in town and
taken up their post there, when the Persian vessels
came in; but when the soldiers attempted to land, and
saw the same men ready to meet them, they were so
dismayed that they beat a hasty retreat without
striking another blow.
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