The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 1

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Author: Edward Shepherd Creasy  | Date: B.C. 490

Explanatory Remarks On Some of the Circumstances
of the Battle of Marathon

Nothing is said by Herodotus of the Persian cavalry taking any part in the battle, although he mentions that Hippias recommended the Persians to land at Marathon, because theplain was favorable for cavalry evolutions. In the life of Miltiades which is usually cited as the production of Cornelius Nepos, but which I believe to be of no authority whatever, it is said that Miltiades protected his flanks from the enemy’s horse by an abatis of felled trees. While he was on the high ground he would not have required this defence, and it is not likely that the Persians would have allowed him to erect it on the plain.

But, in truth, whatever amount of cavalry we suppose Datis to have had with him on the day of Marathon, their inaction in the battle is intelligible, if we believe the attack of the Athenian spearmen to have been as sudden as it was rapid. The Persian horse-soldier, on an alarm being given, had to take the shackles off his horse, to strap the saddle on, and bridle him, besides equipping himself (Xenophon), and when each individual horseman was ready, the line had to be formed; and the time that it takes to form the Oriental cavalry in line for a charge has, in all ages, been observed by Europeans.

The wet state of the marshes at each end of the plain, in the time of year when the battle was fought, has been adverted to by Wordsworth,11 and this would hinder the Persian general from arranging and employing his horsemen on his extreme wings, while it also enabled the Greeks, as they came forward, to occupy the whole breadth of the practicable ground with an unbroken line of leveled spears, against which, if any Persian horse advanced, they would be driven back in confusion upon their own foot.

Even numerous and fully arrayed bodies of cavalry have been repeatedly broken, both in ancient and modern warfare, by resolute charges of infantry. For instance, it was by an attack of some picked cohorts that Csar routed the Pompeian cavalry—which had previously defeated his own—and won the battle of Pharsalia.

11Greece.

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Battle of Marathon

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Chicago: Edward Shepherd Creasy, "Explanatory Remarks on Some of the Circumstances of the Battle of Marathon," The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 1 in The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, ed. Rossiter Johnson (Harrogate, TN: The National Alunmi, 1926), 353–354. Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AQWVRNKSD2CZYP.

MLA: Creasy, Edward Shepherd. "Explanatory Remarks on Some of the Circumstances of the Battle of Marathon." The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 1, in The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, edited by Rossiter Johnson, Harrogate, TN, The National Alunmi, 1926, pp. 353–354. Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AQWVRNKSD2CZYP.

Harvard: Creasy, ES, 'Explanatory Remarks on Some of the Circumstances of the Battle of Marathon' in The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 1. cited in 1926, The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, ed. , The National Alunmi, Harrogate, TN, pp.353–354. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AQWVRNKSD2CZYP.