Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ancient Greece lives on in London Marathon

This is Blackheath in south-east London this morning at the start of the London Marathon.

    And this is the Marathon plain in Greece where the battle between the Persians disembarking from their ships and the Greeks was fought in 490 BC.

The runner with the news that the Persians had been defeated by the Greeks in the Battle of Marathon in 490BC would have set off around the bay and then between the mountains to the left of this picture. 

There is a museum in the modern town of Marathon (behind the hill to the right of this picture) where the whole history of this race is celebrated.

Modern sculptures of marathon runners outside the Marathon Run Museum, Attica, Greece, remind me of the vase paintings of the ancient runners who ran such distances as a matter of course - see below. There was no long distance running race in the Olympic or other Games in ancient times. Running was just how they got from place to place, and they would keep up the pace by beating out a rhythm or singing or playing music. I read on Twitter today about a suggested playlist for Marathon runners! 

In The Boy with Two Heads, Themis has to cover the distance between Olympia and the small village of Pylos near Elis (?40 kms) with his sidekick Frog and a guard called Xenon. "Once they had run until they were tired, he got out a flute ..."

I am also reminded of the mural made in 2012 at Providence College, Rhode Island, USA, (as mentioned in this blog in April 2012) that links Then and Now.

My congratulations to all those who took/are taking part in this year's London Marathon. I heard it was the 127th official marathon. What courage and determination in so many good causes! 

Was any of my readers also there at the beginning or the finish?

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