How did the marathon emerge?

1896_olympic_marathon
Runners training for the first marathon in 1896

The marathon is seen today as grueling long-distance, usually over 26 mile race. The battle of Marathon, fought between the Greek and Persian armies, and the resulting run by a Greek warrior to tell the victory is usually cited as the origin of this sport. While there is truth in this story, the history of the marathon is complex and its presence in many major world cities shows it still stands as one of the great events that tests human will and skill.From Ancient to the Modern Olympics

The earliest history of the marathon is likely legend based on some facts. The story of the legend states that the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran back to Athens in August/September 490 BCE, a distance of almost 26 miles, to inform the Athenian assembly that the Achaemenid army fighting at the battle of Marathon had been defeated. Very likely this story did not occur this way, as contemporary accounts do not corroborate this story and the story of Pheidippides’ famous run only emerged in the 1st century CE. Plutarch in his work, On the Glory of Athens, mentions this famous event. Potentially more likely, although it is still unclear, there was a runner, perhaps called Pheidippides, who ran to Sparta from Athens to seek assistance from the Spartans as the Achaemenid army advanced.[1]

Read the rest of the article at DailyHistory.org.

Advertisements

Author: sandvick

I have a PhD in United States History and I am a legal refugee. I run a history wiki called DailyHistory.org and the blog Dailyhistoryblog.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s