The Athenians were clearly underdogs at the Battle of Marathon, but achieved a convincing tactical and moral victory for a number of reasons that were both tangible and intangible. Among the tangible reasons for the Athenian victory were the high-quality of their commanders, especially Miltiades, who knew the capabilities and limitations of their force and what they could expect from the Persians. The Athenian commanders were familiar with the terrain and used it accordingly, as opposed to the myopic Persian commanders who relied almost solely on their numbers. Also, the average Greek warrior, known as <i>hoplites</i>, were better equipped than their Persians counterparts, which proved to be vital in the latter stages of the battle. Along with the tangible and strategic factors that propelled the Athenians to victory were several intangibles that factored in their favor including: their love of freedom and rights as citizens that they did not want to lose; the fear of what the Persians would do to their city and families of they were to lose the battle; and shame over not doing more to help their Ionian Greek cousins in their time of need.
===The Ionian Revolt==
[[File: Darius.jpg|300px|thumbnail|right|Relief of Darius I from Persepolis]]
The event that placed Athens, and later Sparta and most of Greece, in the cross-hairs of the Persians was their involvement in the Ionian Revolt. The Greek city-states in the coastal region of the modern nation-state of Turkey, which was known in ancient times as “Ionia,” were firmly under the control of the Achaemenid Persians at the beginning of the fifth century BC as a “satrapy” or province. Ionia was listed as an Achaemenid satrapy in Persian inscriptions from Persia to Egypt and was written about by the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus, who noted that the province was quite lucrative as it supplied a yearly tribute of 400 talents of silver. <ref> Herodotus. <i> The Histories.</i> Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt. (London: Penguin Books, 2003), Book III, 90</ref> The mainland Greeks continued to trade with their Ionian cousins and maintained reasonable diplomatic relations with the Persians until events unfolded in Ionia in 499 BC that set them against each other permanently.