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BATTLE OF MARATHON.

the dead bodies were yet on the ground, the promised reinforcement from Sparta arrived. Two thousand Lacedæmonian spearmen starting immediately after the full moon, had marched the hundred and fifty miles between Athens and Sparta in the wonderfully short time of three days. Though too late to share in the glory of the action, they requested to be allowed to march to the battle-field to behold the Medes. They proceeded thither, gazed on the dead bodies of the invaders, and then, praising the Athenians and what they had done, they returned to Lacedæmon.

The number of the Persian dead was six thousand four hundred; of the Athenians a hundred and ninety-two. The number of the Platæans who fell is not mentioned, but as they fought in the part of the army which was not broken, it cannot have been large.

The apparent disproportion between the losses of the two armies is not surprising when we remember the armour of the Greek spearmen, and the impossibility of heavy slaughter being inflicted by sword or lance on troops so armed, as long as they kept firm in their ranks.[1]

  1. Mitford well refers to Crecy, Poictiers, and Agincourt, as instances of similar disparity of loss between the conquerors and the conquered.