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21 April 2020Marathon! The battle that "decided the future of human civilisation"
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Marathon! The battle that "decided the future of human civilisation" Rupert Willoughby Tuesday 21 April 2020

One of the world’s most popular athletic events commemorates Pheidippides’s epic run from the battlefield of Marathon to his native Athens. Apart from the amazing courage of Pheidippides, why remember a battle that took place over two and a half thousand years ago? Since the 19th century, historians have argued that it was a crucial event, one that had decided ‘the whole future of human civilisation’. As John Stuart Mill put it, ‘the Battle of Marathon, even as an event in English history, is more important than the Battle of Hastings’. Rupert re-creates the background and the battle itself in thrilling detail. He looks at the various ways in which ancient Athens has influenced our art and culture, and argues that Marathon was, indeed, the battle that saved ‘Western Civilisation’. Eye-opening, edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Rupert is a prize-winning historian who specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London, he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin, of guides to castles owned by English Heritage and Hampshire County Council, and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village and Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture. He contributes regular obituaries to The Times and The Daily Telegraph, writes privately-commissioned histories of houses, and is an experienced lecturer - and occasional broadcaster - on a broad range of topics, with a particular interest in architecture, interior decoration and costume.