On a cold winter's day, in the sixth month of winter to be exact, I bore witness to one of the greatest - and little known - battles of antiquity, Marathon 2.0. The date? 490BC (+ 2013 years, give or take), on the 2nd of April. There I was, surrounded by 1000s (10s, actually) of Athenians and 10s of 1000s (10s, again) of Persians on a wintry plain (I've superimposed a "gymnasium" background to minimize the gore).
The fear was palpable in the moments before the battle started, as the two sides lined up.
At first the Athenians seemed disorganized and dispirited - ominous and foreboding behaviour when battle is imminent.
Thankfully, the Persians were just as concerned about the looming battle, one which would determine their fate in this second, famous battle at Marathon (well - there is a track in the gymnasium, and you "could" run one if you so chose).
Things started to turn when the brave and noble general Matthew Maher, the juggernaut of this long forgotten battle, stood before his men, gave a long and glorious speech, and so raised their spirits. As a result, they took up their appointed positions and prepared to meet the Persian onslaught.
There was nearly a terrible disaster, when a rampaging Persian elephant broke free.
Thankfully, this monstrous beast did not discourage the Greeks. Indeed, as the Athenians prepared to advance, their ferocity was palpable.
When the two sides finally clashed together, it was a sight to behold! There was pushing, shoving, shouting, and yelling. The dust (invisible in the photo) clouded the skies. Yelling and crying filled the combatants' ears. For a while, the scale lay balanced, and neither side had a clear advantage.
But then an elephant broke free, causing mayhem in the Persian ranks.
Lo and behold, the Persians turned in flight and the Athenians emerged victorious, yet again! All that remained was for the hound of Hades, fearsome Cerberus, to gather the vanquished Persian souls.
And with that, the Battle of Marathon 2.0 drew to a close. This reporter is delighted to have witnessed - and survived - Matthew Maher's fantastic display. That general, his soldiers - even those dastardly Persians - deserve due credit for their obedience, performance, and attention to their craft. If there's anything to take away from all of this it's that the Romans - known to wage war on occasion here in Winnipeg - will have to improve their weaponry, as their pool noodles and foam swords seem puny in comparison to the fabulous weaponry and equipment of this bunch (CLAS-3006).