Persian invasion - 491 B.C.

The Delians knew the Persians were coming and took refuge in Tenos. However, when the Persians arrived they sent a herald to the Delians to ask why had they run away, the king has asked them to be spared as this was the island that gave birth to the two gods, Apollo and Artemis, '..come back to your dwellings and once more inhabit your island.' They, then proceeded to donate 300 talent's weight of frankincense on an alter. When they departed; Delos was shaken by an earthquake. This the Delians took as an omen to the island, of a catastrophe about to happen.

The Persians finally landed near the city of Carystus, on the island of Euboea. The city refused to bow to the invaders, but the Persians became very influential and wasted the country side until the inhabitants capitulated.

By this time the Eretrians were in a state, the Persians were now on the same island as them and the city was in confusion on what to do. Aeschines, one of the first men in Eretria came out to meet the contingent from Athens that had come over to help, and informed them of the chaos that was going on in the island, he told them to go home to their own land, and not perish with his countrymen. The Athenians hearkened to his counsel and crossing back over to the mainland of Greece to escape the coming danger; for now.

Staying in the their city walls the Persian assault began, and after six days of battle where many fell on both sides, the Eretrians were finally betrayed by a countryman and the Persians took the city, burning the temples and taking prisoners as the king had demanded.

The Persians, having thus brought Erectria into subjection after waiting a few days, made sail for Attica, thinking to deal with the Athenians as they had dealt with the people of Erectra.

Map of MarathonIt was old Hippias who had suggested Marathon as the place to land the Persian forces in Attica. Datis wanted room to use his cavalry, and Marathon offered just the right conditions-a long flat strip between the mountains and the sea, with easy through access to Athens by way of the Hymettus-Pentele gap. The beach allowed the ships to be pulled up onto the sand which also allowed for a easy retreat by sea.. There was natural protection on the landline, as well as good grazing for their horses. The Persians would be in an extremely strong position.

NEXT PAGE>>>The Persians land in Attica


'Histories' by Herodotus published by Wordsworth 1996

'The Greco-Persian Wars' by Peter Green published by University of California Press 1998




Note#1: The Persians didn't sack Delos for more than relegious reasons. If anything this would give them great credit with Delphi, propogander was alive and fruitful, even at this era.

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