Long-distance runners. Adapted from a Panathenaic amphora made in 333 BC. Credit: British Museum


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.

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’.

This lecture delves into the history preceding the battle between ancient Athens and Darius I King of Persia and illustrates the legacy we have inherited from this pivotal event.

Please note, our events are accessible to members only.

Members will receive lecture and visit details on the monthly noticeboard email.

If you are not a member and would like to attend our events, please sign up for membership here.

Become a member