The Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon, fought in 490 BC on a plain northeast of Athens, was a triumph for the Greek forces as they repelled a major Persian invasion during the Persian Wars. Unlike the battle fought in the Xenaverse, at the real battle of Marathon the Spartans refused to fight alongside the Athenians to hold off King Darius' forces. They claimed that this was because it was the Spartans' holy month, so aid could not legally be sent until the new moon arose, which would have been long after the battle was over. According to the historian Herodotus, Sparta's real motive was that they wanted the line of Greece's defense to be drawn at the Isthmus, well south of Athens. It made tactical sense, but would have surrendered half of Greece to the invaders without a fight, including Athens. Athens therefore chose to fight by themselves, with only an allied force from the northern city of Plataea to assist them.