Who was Pheidippedes?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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Pheidippedes is the Greek messenger reputed to have run from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to tell the Athenians they had won the battle against the Persians. In legend, Pheidippedes was reputed to have said 'Rejoice, we conquer' and then dropped dead of exhaustion. The modern-day race known as the marathon refers to his twenty-six mile run.

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Q: Who was Pheidippedes?
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What Greek runner of 5 bc is said to have run 241 km in 48 hours to summon help for Athens?


Where was the first Marathon?

In 490BC when Pheidippedes, a Greek messenger, ran from the Battle of Marathon, to Athens to proclaim the Greek victory over the Persians

The battle of Actium took place during the Roman Civil War - the two sides were supporters of the 'top dogs' of the time and fought in the Gulf of Actium just off the coast of Greece. what is the date?

September 2, 31 BC. September 2 (about 450 years earlier, in 480 BC) is also the day that Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the news of the victory and died on the spot. (That is a legend that I spoke about in Battles that Changed the World: Marathon). === === Although this is irrelevant to the question, Pheidippedes ran to Sparta and back to summon the Spartans to Marathon, and died after the 120 mile round trip. It was the entire 9,000 of the Athenian army which ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens after the battle, carrying weapons and armour, as they had to get back in time to intercept the Persian cavalry which had been rowed around the cape to Athens to take advantage of traitors ready to open the gates for them.

What has the battle of Marathon to do with todays marathon?

A common view is that a runner called Pheidippedes ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to tell of the Athenian victory over the Persians, however he was already dead - he had been sent to Sparta to summon the Spartan army to the battle - a much longer run and he came back hallucinating and died. After the Spartans defeated the Persian infantry at Marathon, they realised that the Persian cavalry had embarked on their ships and was being rowed around to attack Athens - traitors would open the city gates, and the cavalry would gallop up and take the city with the Athenian army still at Marathon. The 9,000 Athenian infantry set out back, running the 26 miles wearing sandals and carrying their weapons and armour, and got back just in time to form up in front of the city. The Persians, frustrated, went home. Today's race commemorats this mass run. Today's athletes get it pretty easy without the weaponry and sandals.

What did the original marathon runner say just before he died?

Nike (which means victory)Another view:The story of Pheidippedes carrying the message is rather difficult as he was already dead from running the 120 mile round trip from Athens to Sparta to summon them to the battle. He came back hallucinating and before he died said he had seen the god Pan on his way back - so presumably his words were something like 'I saw Pan'.After the Athenians and Platians defeated the Persian infantry at Marathon, they realised the Persian cavalry was being rowed around to Athens to take it in the Athenian army's absence, with traitors to open the city gates to let them in. The 9,000 Athenian soldiers ran back the 26 miles over the hills to Athens and formed up in front of the city just in time to confront the disembarking Persian cavalry.Today, Marathon runners get it easy compared to the original 9,000 runners carrying weapons and armour and running in sandals.As for what they said as they got back to Athens, perhaps 'I'm stuffed' might be close.

Who was sent from Athenian commanders at the Battle of Marathon to seek help from the Spartans?

They sent Pheidippedes to run to Sparta to ask them to come (round trip 120 miles, he hallucinated on the way back and died). The Spartans were in the middle of a religious ceremony when he arrived, and said they would come as soon as it was over. When it was, they did the 60 miles to Athens in a day, but missed the battle, marched on to view the dead, came back and congratulated the Athenians and went home. The Athenians also asked the Plataians for help. A small city, it turned out 1,000 to add to the Athenian 9,000, and fought well. Athens always looked after little Plataia's welfare afterwards. Some stories say that Pheidippedes ran to Athens after the battle to let them know that the Athenians had won, so that they wouldn't surrender the city to the Persians. He is said to have gasped out his message to the cities leaders before collapsing and dying. As Pheidippides was dead by the time of the battle of Marathon, he would have had difficulty in running off to bring tidings of the battle. In fact, it was the whole Athenian army which ran the 26 miles over the hills to Athens. They had seen the Persian cavalry being embarked before the battle, and guessed that it was sailing around the peninsula to Athens to gallop up and occupy the city, whose gates would be opened for them by the Hippias faction. The Athenian infantry would then have been locked out, and harrassed from the rear by the Persian infantry. The Athenian infantry got there just in time, forming up in front of the city as the Persian cavalry was disembarking. The Persians, frustrated, and with their infantry force defeated earlier, went home.

Facts about the battle of marathon?

The Battle of Marathon was a battle that took place between Athens and a Persian expeditionary force in 490 B.C. Seeing the Persian cavalry being loaded on ships, the Athenians ran down from the hills where they had been lurking away from the cavalry threat, and defeated the helpless inferior Persian infantry. The Persian expedition then went home.