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Who's Who Ancient Greece: Civic Affairs

Miltiades (550-489 BC)

Political and military leader

miltiadisMiltiadhes was the Greek general credited with the Greek victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon (480 BC), due to his innovative strategy on the battlefield. It was this battle that historians maintain saved all of Greece (not only Athens) from Persian rule.

One aspect of his strategy that was imitated by great generals that came after him was to reinforce the flanks of the Athenian army rather than the center. According to legend, Miltiadhes was descended from a line of Greek heroes, Ajax, Achilles, and Aeacus.

olderLong before the battle of Marathon, when he was 32, he put down an insurrection in Thrace, but relocated a few years later to Athens when the Persian king, Darius I , invaded Thrace.

He was sent in 489 BC to liberate the Cyclades from the Persians, a mission in which he failed, and in which he was also wounded. He died in prison, however, where he had been put for his failure to pay a fine for mismanaging a campaign against the island of Paros, though his death was most likely from wounds he had suffered in Paros, coupled with the bad conditions in the prison. He was, ironically, honored after his death for his major role in the victory at Marathon.