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BATTLE OF MARATHON.

was brought into close action with the Persian and Sacian divisions of the enemy. Datis's veterans strove hard to keep their ground, and evening[1] was approaching before the stern encounter was decided.

But the Persians with their slight wicker shields, destitute of body-armour, and never taught by training to keep the even front and act with the regular movement of the Greek infantry, fought at heavy disadvantage with their shorter and feebler weapons against the compact array of well-armed Athenian and Platæan spearmen, all perfectly drilled to perform each necessary evolution in concert, and to preserve an uniform and unwavering line in battle. In personal courage and in bodily activity the Persians were not inferior to their adversaries. Their spirits were not yet cowed by the recollection of former defeats; and they lavished their lives freely, rather than forfeit the fame which they had won by so many victories. While their rear-ranks poured an incessant shower of arrows[2] over the heads of their comrades, the foremost Persians

  1. Ἀλλ' ὅμως ἀπωσόμεσθα ξὺν θεοῖς πρὸς έσπέρᾳ.

    Aristoph. Vespæ 1085.

  2. Ἐμαχόμεσθ' αὐτοῖσι, θῦμον ὀξίνην πεπωκότες,
    Στὰς ἀνὴρ παρ' ἄνδρ', ὑπ ὀργῆς τὴν χελύνην ἐσθίων·
    Ὑπὸ δὲ τῶν τοξευμάτων οὐκ ἦν ἰδεῖν τὸν οὐρανόν.

    Aristoph. Vespæ, 1082.