The battle waged on the Marathon plain of northeastern Attica in 490 B.C. marked the first blows of the Greco-Persian War. With the Persians closing in on the Greek capitol, Athenian general Miltiades assumed command of the hastily assembled army. Miltiades employed a successful strategy in which he weakened the center of his force to strengthen its wings, causing confusion among the Persians. The victory of “the Marathon men” captured the collective imagination of the Greeks, with the tale of the messenger running 25 miles to Athens to deliver the news fueling the creation of the modern marathon.