Some reflections on the legend of the Marathon runner (hdt. 6.105, Aristoph. nub. 63–67, Plut. de glor. ath. 347c, Lucian. laps. 3 and the Roman Tradition)

Authors

  • Valeria Melis University of Cagliari – University Ca’ Foscari Venezia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CC.23.2020.23.02

Keywords:

Philippides, Marathon runner, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Plutarch, Lucian of Samosata, Classical Philology

Abstract

A well-known tradition has it that after the victory of the Greeks over the Persian army at the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.E.) one of the Athenians ran forty kilometres from Marathon to Athens and died soon after his arrival in the city, after giving the good news. However, the story is more complicated than it seems, and several issues have claimed the attention of scholars, such as what the Marathon runner’s name was, what form of greeting he used and whether the episode really happened or not. The first part of my paper offers a reconsideration of the extant sources in order to express my point of view on the abovementioned issues. The second part aims at showing a selection of parallel passages which could possibly prove useful in trying to illustrate how the legend of the Marathon runner evolved into the shape it assumed in the Lucianean account, which is still considered as the ‘official’ version of the story.

References

Allinson F. G., 1931, ‘The original “Marathon runner”’, The Classical Weekly 24, p. 152. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4389590

Ameling W., 1983, Herodes Atticus. II. Inschriftenkatalog, Hildesheim.

Asheri D., 19892, Erodoto. Le Storie. Libro I. La Lidia e La Persia, Milano.

Athanassaki L., 2016, ‘Who was Eucles? Plutarch and His Sources on the Legendary Marathon-Runner (De gloria Atheniensium 347CD)’, [in:] A Versatile Gentleman. Consistency in Plutarch’s Writing. Studies offered to Luc Van Der Stockt on the Occasion of his Retirement, J. Opsomer, G. Roskam, F. B. Titchener (eds.), Leuven, pp. 213–228. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1dnnc32.16

Badian E., 1979, ‘The Name of the Runner. A Summary of the Evidence’, American Journal of Ancient History 4, pp. 163–166. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31826/9781463237424-007

Baldwin B., 1973, Studies in Lucian, Toronto.

Barberis F., 19922, Erodoto. Le Storie. Libri V–VI–VII: i Persiani contro i Greci, Milano.

Bentz M., Mann C., 2001, ‘Zur Heroisierung von Athleten’, [in:] Konstruktionen von Wirklichkeit, R. Von den Hoff, S. Schmit (eds.), Stuttgart, pp. 226–240.

Biliński B., 1960, L’antico oplite corridore di Maratona. Leggenda o realtà (Accademia Polacca di Scienze e Lettere, Conferenze, fasc. 8), Pavia.

Boehringer D., 1996, ‘Zur Heroisierung historischer Persönlichkeiten bei den Griechen’, [in:] Retrospektive: Konzepte von Vergangenheit in der griechisch–römischen Antike, M. Flashar, H.-J. Gehrke, E. Heinrich (eds.), Munich, pp. 37–61.

Bohringer F., 1979, ‘Cultes d’athlètes en Gréece classique’, Revue d’Études Anciennes 81, pp. 5–18. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/rea.1979.4050

Borgeaud P., 1979, Recherches sur le dieu Pan, Genève.

Borgeaud P., 1988, The Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece, trans. K. Atlass, J. Redfield, Chicago-London.

Bowie E. L., 2002, ‘Plutarch and the Literary Activity in Achaea: A.D. 107–117’, [in:] Sage and Emperor: Plutarch, Greek Intellectuals, and Roman Power in the Time of Trajan (98–117 A.D.), P. Stadter, L. Van der Stockt (eds.), Leuven, pp. 41–56.

Bowie A. M., 2007, Herodotus: Histories. Book VIII, Cambridge–New York, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808081. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808081

Bowie E. L., 2013, ‘Marathon in the Greek Culture of the Second Century A.D.’, [in:] Marathon – 2,500 Years. Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, C. Carey, M. Edwards (eds.) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 124, Supplement), London, pp. 241–253.

Butterworth G. W., 1968, Clement of Alexandria. The Exhortation to the Greeks, The Rich Man’s Salvation, To the Newly Baptized, London–Cambridge (Massachusetts).

Carrière J.-C., 1984, Plutarque. OEuvres morales, tome 11, deuxième partie, Paris.

Casevitz M., Pouilloux J., Chamoux F., 1992, Pausanias. Description de la Grèce.

L’Attique, tome 1, livre 1, Paris.

Casevitz M., Jost M., Marcadé J., 1998, Pausanias. Description de la Grèce. L’Arcadie, tome 8, livre 8, Paris.

Christensen D. L., Nielsen T. H., Schwartz A., 2009, ‘Herodotos and Hemerodromoi: Pheidippides’ Run from Athens to Sparta in 490 B.C. from Historical and Physiological Perspective’, Hermes 137, pp. 148–169.

Colonna A., Bevilacqua F., 1996, Le storie di Erodoto, II, Torino.

Currie B., 2002, ‘Eutymos of Locri: A Case Study in Heroization in the Classical Period’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 122, pp. 24–44. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3246203

Currie B., 2005, Pindar and The Cult of Heroes, Oxford.

Dover K. J., 1968, Aristophanes. Clouds, Oxford. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780198143956.book.1

Fontenrose J., 1968, ‘The Hero as Athlete’, California Studies in Classical Antiquity 1, pp. 73–104. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/25010567

Follett S., 1994, ‘Lucien et l’Athènes des Antonins’, [in:] Lucien de Samosate. Actes du Colloque de Lyon (septembre 1993), A. Billault (ed.), Lyon, pp. 131–139.

Forehand W. E., 1985, ‘Pheidippides and Pan: A Modern Perspective on Pan’s Epiphany’, The Classical Outlook 63, pp. 1–2.

Frazier F., Froidefond C., 1990, Plutarque. OEuvres morales. La fortune des Romains, La fortune ou la vertu d’Alexandre, La gloire d’Athéniens, V.I, Paris.

Frost J., 1979, ‘The Dubious Origins of the “Marathon”’, American Journal of Ancient History 4, pp. 159–163, https://doi.org/10.31826/9781463237424-006. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31826/9781463237424-006

Gallo I., Mocci M., 1992, Plutarco. La gloria di Atene, Napoli.

Gartziou-Tatti A., 2013, ‘Gods, Heroes, and The Battle of Marathon’, [in:] Marathon – 2,500 Years. Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, C. Carey, M. Edwards (eds.) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 124, Supplement), London, pp. 91–110.

Glotz G., 1938, Histoire grecque, Paris.

Golden M., 2013, ‘Hierarchies of Heroism in Greek Athletics’, [in:] Kultur(en) Formen des Alltäglichen in der Antike. Festschrift für Ingomar Weiler zum 75.

Geburtstag, P. Mauritsch, C. Ulf (eds.), Graz, pp. 349–356

Grimaldi M., 2008, La malignità di Erodoto, Napoli.

Guidorizzi G., 1996, Aristofane. Le Nuvole, Milano.

Hornblower S., Pelling C., 2017, Herodotus. Histories, Book VI, Cambridge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139299725

How W. W., Wells J., 19612, A Commentary on Herodotus with Introduction and Appendixes, II, Oxford.

Hude C., 19273, Herodoti Historiae, II, Oxford.

Ian L., Mayhoff C., 1967, C. Plinius Secundus. Naturalis Historia, II, Stuttgart.

Jones C. P., 1986, Culture and Society in Lucian, Cambridge (Massachusetts). DOI: https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674181328

Jones S. C., 1998, ‘Statues that kill and the gods who love them’, [in:] ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ: Studies in Honor of Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, K. J. Hartswick, M. C. Sturgeon (eds.), Philadelphia, pp. 139–143.

Kendrick Pritchett W., 1980, Studies in Ancient Greek Topography, Part III: Roads, Berkeley–Los Angeles.

Krentz P., 2010, The Battle of Marathon, New Haven–London, https://doi. org/10.12987/9780300168808.

Lachenaud G., 1981, Plutarque. OEuvres morales, tome 12.1, Paris.

Legrand Ph.-E., 1963, Hérodote. Histoires, livre VI, Érato, Paris.

Lejeune M., 1972, Phonétique Historique du Mycénien et du Grec Ancien, Paris.

Lewis D. M., 1970, ‘Aristophanes, Clouds 64’, Classical Review 20/3, pp. 288–289. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009840X0022708X

Longo V., 1976, Dialoghi di Luciano, I, Torino.

Lunt D. J., 2009, ‘The Heroic Athlete in Ancient Greece’, Journal of Sport History 36.3, pp. 375–392.

Mastrapas A., 2013, ‘The Battle of Marathon and the Introduction of Pan’s Worship to Athens: the Political Dimension of a Legend through Written Evidence and Archaeological Finds’, [in:] Marathon – 2,500 Years: Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, C. Carey, M. Edwards (eds.) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 124, Supplement), London, pp. 111–122.

Mastromarco G., 1983, Commedie di Aristofane, I, Torino.

Mondésert C., 19492, Clément d’Alexandrie. Le protreptique, Paris.

Matthews V. J., 1974–1975, ‘The Hemerodromoi: Ultra Long-Distance Running in Antiquity’, Classical Weekly 68, pp. 161–169.

Matthews V. J., 2007, ‘Ladas the Long-Distance Runner’, Scholia 16, pp. 2–14, https://doi.org/10.2307/4348144. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/4348144

Mommsen T., 1895, C. Iulii Solini. Collectanea rerum memorabilium, Berolini.

Musti D., Beschi L., 1982, Pausania. Guida della Grecia. Libro I, Milano.

Musti D., Torelli M., 1991, Pausania. Guida delle Grecia. Libro III. La Laconia, Milano.

Nachstädt W., Sieveking W., Titchener J. B., 1935, Plutarchi Moralia, II, Lipsiae.

Nenci G., 1998, Erodoto. Le Storie. Libro 6: la battaglia di Maratona, Milano.

Page D. L., 1981, Further Greek Epigrams: Epigrams before A.D. 50 from the Greek Anthology and Other Sources, Not Included in Hellenistic Epigrams or the Garland of Philip, Cambridge, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511719998. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511719998

Payrau S., 1960, rev. ‘Bronislaw Biliński, L’antico oplite corridore di Maratona.

Leggenda o realtà (Accademia Polacca di Scienze e Lettere. Biblioteca di Roma, Conferenze, Fascicolo 8)’, Revue d’Etudes Anciennes 62/3–4, pp. 513–514.

Pape W., Benseler G., 1959, Wörterbuch der Griechischen Eigennamen, Graz.

Pelling C., 2013, ‘Herodotus’ Marathon’, [in:] Marathon – 2,500 Years: Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, C. Carey, M. Edwards (eds.) (Bulletin

of the Institute of Classical Studies 124, Supplement), London, pp. 23–34.

Pouilloux J., 1954, Récherches sur l’Histoire et les Cultes de Thasos, I, Paris.

Pouilloux J., 1994, ‘Théogénès de Thasos … quarante ans après’, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 118, pp. 199–206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/bch.1994.1665

Renehan R., 1969, Greek Textual Criticism: A Reader, Cambridge, https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674435384. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674435384

Rhodes P. J., 2013, ‘The Battle of Marathon and Modern Scholarship’, [in:] Marathon – 2,500 Years: Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, C. Carey, M. Edwards (eds.) (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 124, Supplement), London, pp. 3–21.

Rosén H. B., 1997, Herodoti Historiae, II, Stutgardiae–Lipsiae.

Schwartz J., 1965, Biographie de Lucien de Samosate, Brussels.

Scott L., 2005, Historical Commentary on Herodotus’ Book 6, Leiden–Boston. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789047407980

Siron N., 2018, ‘L’histoire de Philippidès d’Hérodote à Lucien. Une incursion

dans l’atelier du mythe’, Anabases 27, pp. 109–131, https://doi.org/10.4000/anabases.6955. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/anabases.6955

Sommerstein A. H., 19822, The Comedies of Aristophanes, vol. III, Clouds, Warminster.

Tentori Montalto M., 2013, ‘Nuove considerazioni sulla stele della tribù Erechtheis dalla villa di Erode Attico a Loukou-Eva Kynourias’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 185, pp. 31–52.

Thiolier J.-C., 1985, Plutarque. De Gloria Atheniensium, Paris.

Threatte L., 1980, The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions: I. Phonology, Berlin–New York.

Tomassi G., 2007, ‘Luciano ed Erode Attico’, Seminari Romani di cultura greca 10.1, pp. 163–187.

Tomassi G., 2011, Luciano di Samosata. Timone o il misantropo. Introduzione, traduzione e commento, Berlin–New York, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110246995. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110246995

Turato F., 1995, Aristofane. Le Nuvole, Venezia.

Valgiglio E., 1976, Praecepta gerendae reipublicae, Milano.

Whitehead D., 1990, ‘Abbreviated Athenian Demotics’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 81, pp. 105–161.

Wilson N. G., 2015, Herodotea: Studies on the Text of Herodotus, Oxford.

Downloads

Published

2021-08-06

How to Cite

Melis, V. “Some Reflections on the Legend of the Marathon Runner (hdt. 6.105, Aristoph. Nub. 63–67, Plut. De Glor. Ath. 347c, Lucian. Laps. 3 and the Roman Tradition)”. Classica Cracoviensia, vol. 23, Aug. 2021, pp. 25–54, doi:10.12797/CC.23.2020.23.02.

Issue

Section

Classica Litteraria