The Tomb of Marathon is a vaulted tomb where the 192 Athenian soldiers who died in the Battle of Marathon were buried. The tomb, also known as the “Pile”, is a reminder of the epic victory of the Greek – mainly outnumbered – forces against the “invincible” Persians.
The tomb is 9 metres high and 50 metres in diameter. Right next to it, there is a statue of Miltiades who was the general of the army during the battle, and thanks to his intelligence and strategic genius the Greeks managed to triumph in 490 B.C. Archaeological research has brought to light evidence of the cremated bones, as well as traces of the funeral dinner. The location of the burial is rather significant and underlines the exceptional case of the Battle of Marathon; although tradition stipulated that the fallen would be buried in their hometown, it was decided that the warriors of Marathon would be buried on the battlefield as a sign of their extraordinary bravery. The tomb was a landmark and every year young Athenians visited the site to leave wreaths and make sacrifices in honour of the brave heroes.
Although the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann made systematic efforts to discover the burial tomb, the tumulus was discovered and excavated by Valerius Stai in 1891. Today, those interested can visit the small park around the tomb and take a close look at the marble column, which has been erected as a reminder of this unique chapter of Greek history.
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