The Battle of Marathon
Late in the summer of 490 BCE, a Persian invasion force landed on Grecian shores at the Bay of Marathon. At the command of King Darius I, the invaders aimed to punish the Athenians for their role against the Persian kings forces in the Ionian Revolt a few years earlier. The outnumbered Athenians called on nearby Sparta for help, but their sister city-state delayed sending troops because of an ongoing religious festival. Faced with a decision whether to fight a defensive holding battle while awaiting help from Sparta, or to attack the invaders right away, the Athenians elected to attack. With the help of some 1,000 warriors from neighboring Plataea, about 10,000 Athenians charged a Persian army of at least twice their numbers on the Field of Marathon. By days end, the Athenians and their allies had thrust open the doorway to Greeces Golden Age.