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The story of Pheidippedes collapsing from exhaustion and dying after his run from Marathon is supposed to be a legend although I first read it in my childhood in a history textbook at school.
What evidence is there that the story is not true?
That the story is from Lucian, who lived six centuries after the events. Lucian wrote a lot of phantasy stories, one of the called "True Stories" - about a trip to the moon. His "How to Write History?" is an attack on historians which he has first invented. He also composed some treatises which he pretended to have been written by Empedocles, and it took several years before the truth came out - after several philosophers had already written learned commentaries! This man is the Jaroslav Hašek or Jára Cimrman of Antiquity.

Herodotus also tells a story about a runner, but he does not die and ran up and down to Sparta.
Thanks for that. I wonder what were Lucian's sources.
Well, if Jona has it entirely right, the primary source was his own imagination, tempered with the desire to sell books, so to speak.

Jona, do I have it right? Lucian von Danikken?
Quote:Lucian von Danikken?
He would be proud of it!
The legend may have acured from the fact the the whole Athenian army run "to the death" from Marathon to Athens emediately after the battle,to catch up the Persian fleet that prepared to attack the city. It must have been quite an exaustive march! Ironically,modern day marathon run is usually assiciated to that Pheidippides who died while saying "Nenikikamen" (We won). Pheidipides was a professional runner who did the distance Athens-Sparta in two days. The Soartan army did the distance Sparta-Marathon in four days(!) but they didn't catch up for the battle.
Khaire
Giannis
Most people asyme it was Pheidieppides.
Several names had been suggested for the runner (Proas Nikias etc)


Modern athletes running the Spartathlon have proved have proved that someone can run Athens Sparta distance in 2 days.


People have died of physical exaustion.
Herodotus is giving hintsa that the Alkmenonide clan was in volve in treasonous actions.
New of of the battle outcome had top reach the city therefore a runner had to be dispached. Very probable that he dies of exaustion after 2 hours heavy fighting and 42 klm running curring his shield.

Kind regards
But still all this is speculation. It is speculation even that the runner would have to fight and that he had to carry a shield. Things were not so primitive as to the professional runner would have to carry a shield or he would be called a "ripsaspis"(shield thrower) nor do we have to assume that every single Athenian fought the battle. In an army,even in those early ones, many people have different and with the same importance tasks,like to ensure comunication between the generals and allies. In all, I find it possible that a runner run the distance after the battle,and also that someone from the hoplites,or some of the hoplites,died of exhaustion,dehydration and/or wounds while marching to Athens. Thus the legend of Pheidippides. But It's far too dramatic for that he only shouted "Nenikikamen" and he died,and combined with the fact the Lucian is the saurce...
Khairete
Giannis
I never understood why the Athenians did not send a cavalryman instead. I mean, this must not have been beyond them, given that the city was soon about to produce a multitude of brillant men and intellectual achievements.
Quote:Lucian wrote a lot of phantasy stories, one of the called "True Stories" - about a trip to the moon.

But Lucian was not the type who created stories out of nothing or for no reason. He made up stuff only to caricate widely held opinions or views.

Btw I am still wondering how much of his trip to the moon anticipates modern science fiction and fantasy novels.
Stefan wrote:
Quote:I never understood why the Athenians did not send a cavalryman instead. I mean, this must not have been beyond them, given that the city was soon about to produce a multitude of brillant men and intellectual achievements.
......perhaps because the Athenians knew that over long distances ( say 20 miles/32 km or so), a human Athlete always beats a horse (Fact!!) :wink:
Oh Jona,

Id like to take you up on the idea that in 'How to Write History' Lucian invented the historians of Lucius Verus' Parthian War .. His advice on the type of person the historian should be is, IMHO, spot on! but this is not he place! Big Grin

Speaking of Anticipating modern sci fi - the opera Le Cheval de Bronze by Auber (1837) has a bronze horse which transports people to Venus and back!

Anywhoo, :roll:

Cheers

Murray
Quote:Id like to take you up on the idea that in 'How to Write History' Lucian invented the historians of Lucius Verus' Parthian War .. His advice on the type of person the historian should be is, IMHO, spot on!
Of course Lucian is completely right in his advise. I also suspect that the authors he attacks closely resemble real historians. But the fact that those authors are mentioned by Lucian only (and without name) strongly suggests that he has made them up. That would not be unique, BTW. His younger contemporary Philostratus also invents sources, only to disagree with them;* it is also in the Historia Augusta, although that text is a lot younger. This baroque literary game is "in the air".

*
I am referring to "Damis" in the Vita Apollonii. Most scholars think that this source did not exist, and that -by implication- Philostratus first invents a source, only to disagree with it. Personally, I believe that Damis did in fact exist.
I took the opportunity and revised Lucian's True History.

Although the whole story is deeply satirical, he nevertheless included so many new and revolutionary topoi of science fiction, that his work can be regarded as a lonely forerunner of the whole genre.

Quote:In sum, typical science fiction themes and topoi appearing in True History are:

* travel to outer space
* encounter with alien life-forms, including the experience of a first encounter event
* interplanetary warfare and imperialism
* colonization of planets
* motif of giganticism
* creatures as products of human technology (robot theme)
* worlds working by a set of alternate 'physical' laws
* explicit desire of the protagonist for exploration and adventure

See four yourselves: [url:6gdz7mza]http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/wl2/wl212.htm[/url]