marathon, battle of

Cultural Dictionary

Marathon, Battle of definition

A famous battle in the fifth century b.c., in which the ancient Greeks defeated a much larger army of the Persian Empire.

Note: According to legend, news of the victory was carried to Athens from the plain of Marathon, a distance of about twenty-six miles, by a messenger who collapsed and died of exhaustion after delivering his message. The distance of the modern marathon foot race is based on this legend.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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