Morpeth pupils learn news after 2,500 years—Athenians win Marathon Battle

Morpeth pupils at the Acropolis in Athens

Morpeth pupils at the Acropolis in Athens - Credit: Morpeth School

Sixthform students studying Ancient History at an east London school have returned from Athens to see where the ancient battle of Marathon was played out for real.

Morpeth pupils at the Acropolis in Athens

Morpeth pupils at the Acropolis in Athens - Credit: Morpeth School

The aim of the four-day trip was to put in context their study of Alexander the Great and the wars between ancient Greece and the Persian Empire, all part of their GCSE course at Bethnal Green’s Morpeth Secondary.

They visited site of the Battle of Marathon fought in 490BC and learned how the Athenians defeated the invading Persian forces and how the 26-mile race to bring news of the Greek victory eventually led to the famous Marathon race.

“It is remarkable how the original battlefield remains unspoiled today,” Morpeth’s Cathie Louis said. “The tomb containing the remains of the 192 Athenians is still intact more than 2,500 years after the battle.”

The sixthform students explored the Parthenon which sits on the top of the famous Acropolis and built to celebrate the victory, serving as a symbol of values which are still fought for today—freedom of speech, thought and democracy.

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They visited the Acropolis Museum after running a class Marathon, calculating each pupil and staff member having to run seven laps of the Panatheanic Stadium to cover the distance.

They also saw the original bust of Alexander the Great and of Plutarch, one of the ancient historians the pupils study for their GCSE.

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The Parthenon is a mix of the practical and the mythical, built as the City’s treasury and the site of a great dual between Poseidon and Athena for patronage of the city, the students learned.

Athena won, of course, as Athens is her city. Her victory is symbolised by the olive tree that sprang forth at her summoning—and no school trip to Athens would be complete without a class photo at the mythical tree.

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