Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/71

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Marathon. Athens itself contained numerous memorials of her primary great victory. Panenus, the cousin of Phidias, represented it in fresco on the walls of the painted porch; and, centuries afterwards, the figures of Miltiades and Callimachus at the head of the Athenians were conspicuous in the fresco. The tutelary deities were exhibited taking part in the fray. In the background were seen the Phœnician galleys, and, nearer to the spectator, the Athenians and the Platæans (distinguished by their leather helmets) were chasing routed Asiatics into the marshes and the sea. The battle was sculptured also on the Temple of Victory in the Acropolis, and even now there may be traced on the frieze the figures of the Persian combatants with their lunar shields, their bows and quivers, their curved scymetars, their loose trowsers, and Phrygian tiaras.[1]

These and other memorials of Marathon were the produce of the meridian age of Athenian intellectual splendour, of the age of Phidias and Pericles. For it was not merely by the generation whom the battle liberated from Hippias and the Modes, that the transcendant importance of their victory was gratefully recognised. Through the whole epoch of her prosperity, through the long Olympiads of her decay, through centuries

  1. Wordsworth's "Greece," p. 115.