The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization

By Jim Lacey


“A compelling and provocative learn . . . With a soldier’s eye, Jim Lacey re-creates the conflict of Marathon in all its brutal simplicity.”—Barry Strauss, writer of Masters of Command
Marathon—one of history’s so much pivotal battles. Its identify inspires pictures of just about superhuman braveness, patience, and battling spirit. during this eye-opening publication, army analyst James Lacey takes a clean examine Marathon and divulges why the conflict occurred, the way it used to be fought, and even if, in reality, it stored Western civilization. Lacey brilliantly reconstructs the realm of the 5th century B.C. best as much as the mind-blowing army defeat of the Persian Empire by means of the drastically undermanned Greek defenders. With the type of vibrant element that characterizes the easiest glossy struggle reportage, he indicates how the seriously armed Persian military used to be surprised and demoralized by means of the relentless attack of the Athenian phalanx. He unearths the interesting aftermath of Marathon, how its opponents turned the an identical of our “Greatest Generation,” and demanding situations the legacy and classes that experience frequently been misunderstood—perhaps, now greater than ever, at our personal peril.
rapid, visceral, and whole of recent analyses that defy many years of traditional knowledge, The First Clash is an excellent interpretation of a clash that certainly made the realm secure for Aristotle, Plato, and our personal smooth democracy.
“With a clean eye to strategies, technique, and army association, and along with his textual content grounded in direct event of the troops at the battlefield, James Lacey offers us not just new realizing of the way the Athenians controlled to win but in addition a better appreciation of the start of a protracted culture of Western army dynamism that we take with no consideration today.”—Victor Davis Hanson, writer of Carnage and Culture
“Lacey’s swords-and-shields technique will soak up readers ever enthusiastic about the recognized battles of antiquity.”—Booklist
“A vigorous and profitable read.”—Charleston put up and Courier
“Exemplary . . . Lacey, a veteran of the 82nd and a hundred and first Airborne divisions and a professor on the Marine struggle collage, brings to the story of Marathon the sensible reviews of the strive against soldier and an highbrow sensibility.”—The New Criterion

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19 although, this moment street was once little greater than a shepherd’s course and fallacious for the circulation of a massive military or its logistics. Upon arrival on the base of the obvious, the Athenians made camp within the sanctuary of Herakles. right here they have been joined via one thousand Plataean hoplites. the location the Athenians had selected was once a robust one. The sanctuary possessed an intensive grove, and in precedent days the encircling sector was once nonetheless seriously wooded. there's additionally facts that there has been a wall at the web site, yet this isn't more likely to were large. Taken as a complete, although, the positioning supplied first-class defense opposed to cavalry and used to be simply defensible opposed to infantry. 20 ahead of them stretched the apparent of Marathon and the Persian military. everywhere in the simple have been hills of enough dimension to hem within the Persians, no matter if they weren't strongly outposted with Athenian hoplites. The Chardra River (a huge move, particularly) bisected the obvious, and the northern part used to be ruled via the good Marsh, which used to be nearly impassable for any major strength. on the northern fringe of the marsh, the Kynosoura peninsula caught out at 90 levels from the seashore, offering an ideal take care of for the Persian fleets beached alongside a slim strip of sand among the ocean and the nice Marsh. among the marsh and the Athenian place was once a nearly barren undeniable, with a few sparse tree development at issues. Herodotus tells us of the Athenians’ arrival at Marathon yet leaves us guessing as to what they did at that time. We do be aware of that a number of days glided by with no each side enticing. yet from Herodotus it can look that the single outstanding occasion in the course of that interval was once a debate one of the ten tribal generals and Callimachus, the general Athenian commander, at the advisability of attacking in any respect. In Herodotus’s account, all the ten Athenian generals had command for someday on a rotating foundation. so far as he used to be involved, Callimachus’s function as polemarch was once as a rule honorary, and he had not more authority than any of the opposite generals. I strongly contest the accuracy of this perspective. Herodotus relates the dispute between those generals: The Athenian generals have been divided of their reviews: a few have been opposed to becoming a member of conflict, considering their numbers have been too few to interact the forces of the Medes, whereas others, together with Miltiades, steered that they try. 21 the 10 generals remained lightly divided at the topic, so Miltiades requested Callimachus to make the tie-breaking vote. Herodotus has him do that via an outstanding piece of oratory that confident Callimachus to vote for conflict: it truly is now as much as you, Callimachus, no matter if you'll lessen Athens to slavery or make sure its freedom. … if you happen to upload your vote for my concept, your ancestral land could be loose and your urban the 1st of Greek towns. 22 After this, the 4 generals who supported Miltiades passed over to him the times they have been to command the military so he might assault while he happy. Miltiades permitted the additional command days, yet Herodotus stories that he didn't release the assault until eventually it used to be his day to command.

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