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Tomb and Trophy of Marathon

The battle of Marathon was a historic milestone in world history and subsequently for Western civilization.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1880 Heinrich Schliemann conducted the excavation during this decade. During the years 1890 and 1891, the tomb with the 192 dead was discovered by Valerios Staies.

    1960 During this decade, the tomb of Plataeans was excavated by Spyridon Marinatos.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

    490 BC The battle of Marathon.

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

    Human activity in Marathon starts from Middle- Neolithic period and lasts for millennia.

What I can see

Marathon is renowned worldwide due to the marathon race, which is associated with the historic victory of the Greeks over the Persians in 490 BC. In the archaeological site of Marathon, the Tomb (Soros) and the Trophy stand out. The second is a copy of the ancient one. According to Herodotus, 192 were killed. New research has suggested that the Tomb might have been formed centuries later by Herodes Atticus. The Tomb was recently redesigned; it is 9m tall, with a diameter of 50m. At its base is a copy of Aristion’s grave stele. The tomb morphologically adapted  to the natural landscape and the space is divided into areas of contour lines that run parallel to the coastline (different groves of trees per zone were also planned), thus emphasising the slight slope of the landscape and the historical importance of the landing of the Persians. The plans of the study to promote the space included among other measures the maintenance of olive groves, the correct positioning of the entrance and the demolition of buildings incompatible with the area. The constellation of the trees provides optical gateways through which the tomb appears suddenly. South of the wetland is a medieval fortress with architechtural componments, which are likely to be from the 5th century BC, and sculptural representations, which belonged to the Trophy which was erected after the great victory. A smaller tomb in Vrana area, 3 km to the north, is attributed to Plataeans, but without certainty.

What I can't see

The battle of Marathon was a historic milestone in world history and subsequently for Western civilisation. Herodotus describes the invasion of the Persians to occupy Athens and conquest Greece. The numerical superiority of the Persians was obvious, but the genius tactics of Miltiades were decisive. After seven days of waiting, Miltiades attacked the encamped Persians, near the point where the tomb is now. The Greeks (Athenians and Plataeans) assaulted with a weak centre, but their reinforced edges, put the Persians to flight, decimated their centre, and many drowned in the adjacent swamp or fled towards the sea. According to tradition, after winning, the soldier Pheidippides ran 42.2 km to Athens and exclaimed: “Nenikikamen” (= we won). This fact inspired the Marathon race. Moreover, according to Herodotus, at the point of the Tomb, 192 dead Athenians were buried with offerings and sacrifices after their incineration. Miltiades had said before the fight: “If we save our city, it will be able to become the first among the Greek cities.” His words were “prophetic”. If they had not won the battle, the Golden Age would have not followed, during which the culture of Athens developed and became the basis of modern Western civilisation.


Enepekidou A., Karakostanoglou M., Tzortzatou P., Stathakopoulos G., (2010), Η Μάχη του Μαραθώνα: Ιστορία και Θρύλος, [The Battle of Marathon: History and Legend], Athens: Hellenic Parliament Foundation

Couvelas- Panagiotatou A., (2007), Αρχαιολογικό Πάρκο Τύμβου Μαραθωνομάχων, γνωριμία με το μνημείο μέσα από τη μελέτη ανάδειξης, [The Marathon tumulus and its environs], in Monumenta

Last visit: 28/7/2015

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros

Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London