Reasons for Greek Victory and Persian Defeat.

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The Achaemenid empire was the largest in geographical area in antiquity and covered over 6 million square kms from the Caspian Sea in the north to the Indian ocean in the south from Egypt in the west to the Indus River in the east. In the Greco-Persian wars from 499 BC-449 BC this colossal empire lost due to superior Greek military capabilities residing in the exceptional Greek generals and professional troop contingents. Athenian democracy ensured that talented individuals rose to positions of power and influence such as Miltiades and Themistocles. Miltiades was elected to serve as one of the 10 stratagoi (generals) to command the Athenian forces in 490 BC and was crucial to the victory at the Battle of Marathon. According to Herodotus Miltiades was the architect of several Greek strategies that achieved victory at Marathon. The Greek offensive, although contributed to Miltiades as a brilliant strategic decision, is an important historiographical issue for modern historians. Herodotus tells us that opinion among the Athenian commanders was divided with some opposed to attacking with their heavily outnumbered force. Others, especially Miltiades supported an offensive strategy. Miltiades is credited with persuading the war archon Callimachus through a stirring speech to cast his deciding vote in favour of an offensive strategy. Herodotus in his narrative has Miltiades say ‘If we refuse to fight, I have little doubt that the result will be bitter”. However it has also been suggested that the Greek offensive was based on the apparent absence of the Persian cavalry which Herodotus fails to mention. This is puzzling as most modern historians acknowledge that a Persian cavalry force had already disembarked from the fleet onto land and Herodotus said the Persians chose Marathon because it was “the best ground for cavalry to manoeuvre in.”. It has also been assumed that Miltiades deployed the Greek phalanx with strong wings and a weak centre, a strategy that secured...
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