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pheidippides' run
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996
From: "James D. Houck"
The Run of Pheidippides

Can anyone help me locate the source for Pheidippides' (or Philippides') alleged run from Marathon to Athens in 490BC? I am especially interested in the account that he informed his fellow Athenians of their victory (nike! nike! or nikomen! nikomen!) and then he fell over dead. thanks for your help.

Date: Mon, 27 May 1996
From: Loizos Demetris
Subject: Re: The Run of Pheidippides

This is just an Athenian myth. There is no ancient source that refers to the incident, that is Pheidippides ran to Athens after the battle of Marathon etc.

Date: Mon, 27 May 1996
From: Nigel Kennell
Subject: Re: The Run of Pheidippides

The story of a victory run from Marathon to Athens first appears in Plutarch's Moralia (347C) over half a millenium later than the Persian Wars; he gives credit to either Thersippus or Eukles. Lucian, in the second century AD, says that a PhiLippides ran from Marathon. The story is probably a confused version of the even more astounding run that Herodotus tells us Phidippides completed from Athens to Sparta just before the battle. He went to seek Spartan aid and took 2 days to run the 145 miles between the two cities -- an impressive, but not unbelievable feat (Hdt. 6.105-6)

Date: Mon, 27 May 1996
Subject: Re: The Run of Pheidippides

Lucian _A Slip of the Tongue in Salutation_ (Greek Title _Huper tou en tei Prosagoregsei Ptaismatos_) Chapter 3, tells the story of Philippides' run from Marathon.

Date: Tue, 28 May 1996
From: Bill Thayer
Subject: Re: The Run of Pheidippides

an impressive, but not unbelievable feat Hope not; I've walked 103 in that (57+46) with a very bad night's sleep in the intervening night; was in agony BTW, leg cramps mostly, for about 3 days after, having done it "cold", no hiking in the several years before. That suggests to me that Phei_ippides might have been better off walking rather than running; my limiting factor was *time*. Had I not attempted to sleep, and thus wasted 8 hours or so, I could have covered 145 miles in 2 days (I got to my destination at about 5 pm, my estimate is I would have got there around 8), and I don't think I would have died of it, although I wasn't in particularly good shape at the time. Plausibility is further undermined, surely he could have borrowed a horse: if not at the beginning of the route, along the way?
Culled from the UMich archive of ancien-l.
Copyright © 2001 David Meadows
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