Miltides was an Athenian
aristocrat and statesman in the late sixth and early fifth centuries B.C.. He was archon
in 524B.C. under Hippias
and he was later sent by Hippias
to regain Athenian
control of the Chersonesus
. During this time he married the daughter of the Thracian
After subduing the Chersonesus, he joined the Persian forces of Darius the first in a campaign against the Scythians. In Scythia he was left with some other Greek tyrants in defense of a bridge over the Danube; the Scythians suggested that they should destroy the bridge, a suggestion that he apparently supported although the majority did not. Later he was driven out of the Chersonesus by Scythians, although they withdrew and he was able to return.
He is believed to have been involved in the Ionian Revolt in 499-494 B.C. where he gained control of Lemnos. When the revolt was put down he fled to Athens, where he was put on trial and prosecuted for wielding tyrannical power in the Chersonesus.
In 490B.C. he was elected as one of the ten generals, and it was his idea to confront the Persians at Marathon and in addition he convinced the general in supreme command for the day to give his power to Miltiades. Miltiades deployed his ten thousand forces with a weak centre and strong wings. This advanced on the Persians, whose cavalry was absent. When the forces entered bow range they broke into a run, a feat not to be underestimated considering the weight of hoplite armour. The Athenian centre collapsed drawing in the Persian centre while the Athenian wing easily defeated the Persian flanks and enveloped the Persian centre. The Persians were routed and chased down to their ships where Athenians waded into the water chasing them, allegedly one Athenian seized the hull of one of the triremes in an attempt to hold it back, his hand was chopped off but so tight was his grip that the hand was still attached to the ship when it returned to Persia. Supposedly 6400 Persians died at Marathon for only 192 Athenians.
Miltiades went on to carry out a naval campaign, however he failed to take the town and was greviously wounded. He returned to Athens, where he was fined 50 talents however he died of gangrene in prison before he could pay his debt. He was succeeded by his son Kimon.
Miltiades was responsible for one of the greatest Athenian victories in history, his helmet from the battle which he dedicated to Zeus was found at Olympia, and can be seen in the museum there today.