Miltiades (mĭltĪˈədēz) [key], d. 489 B.C., Athenian general who commanded at Marathon. He succeeded his uncle as ruler (c.524 B.C.) of an Athenian dependency in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He accompanied (c.513) Darius in the Persian expedition into Scythia. Later he took part in the revolt of Ionian Greece against the Persians (499–493) and afterward fled to Athens. His experience and ability made him a powerful figure and he was elected to the board of generals to oppose the impending Persian invasion (see Persian Wars). When the enemy arrived at Marathon (490), Miltiades went there to protect Athens from the land side. After a few days' delay the Persians began the march toward Athens, and Miltiades attacked. He had an infantry that was greatly outnumbered, but the Greek spears and armor outweighed Persian arms. The Athenian center gave way and the wings enveloped the Persians, vanquishing them. The Persians retreated to their ships and set out at once by sea to attack Athens, the army being absent. Perhaps the chief glory of Miltiades was that he brought his army, which had been fighting all day, in a 20-mi (32-km) race back to Athens; in the morning when the Persian fleet arrived off Athens, Miltiades and his army were ready. After the battle Miltiades was given a fleet. In 489, he made an unsuccessful attack on Paros. His enemies took advantage of the failure and had him fined. He died of a wound soon after.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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