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Miltiades


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Athenian aristocrat and general, a member of the rich and powerful family of the Philaĭds. Archon (see archontes) in 524/3 bc, he was sent to recover control of Cherso‐nese by Hippias 1 in succession to his brother, and his namesake and uncle, the elder Miltiades. There he married the daughter of the Thracian king, Olorus. Later he submitted to Persia, and served Darius I in the latter's Scythian expedition, allegedly supporting the Scythian suggestion that he and his fellow Greek tyrants should destroy the bridge over the Danube that Darius had left them to guard, though Histiaeus persuaded the majority not to agree. Shortly afterwards he was driven out of Chersonese by a Scythian invasion, but returned when the nomads withdrew. He then appears to have joined in the Ionian Revolt, and it was possibly then that he won control of Lemnos. But he was forced to flee to Athens when the revolt was crushed, and was prosecuted for having held tyrannical power in Chersonese. Acquitted, he was shortly afterwards elected one of the ten generals (see strategoi) for the year 490/89, and, acc. to tradition, it was he who was responsible for the Athenian decision to confront the Persians at Marathon (see marathon, battle of), for persuading the polemarchos Callimachus 1 to give his casting‐vote for fighting, and for choosing the moment. It is, however, impossible to be sure of his contribution to victory. He had never commanded a hoplite army of any size—and even Herodotus does not make him responsible for the Athenian deployment. Since Callimachus was killed, and Miltiades' son Cimon became the most influential man in Athens in the 470s and 460s, Miltiades' image as the victor of Marathon may owe much to family tradition.

After the victory, he commanded an Athenian fleet in an attack on Paros, but having failed to take the town, and been severely wounded, he was brought to trial and condemned to pay a fine of 50 talents. He died of gangrene before he could pay, but his son dutifully discharged the debt.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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