Miltiades, an Athenian statesman, who nourished at the beginning of the 5th century B. C. He was of a noble family, son of Ci-mon, and nephew of the elder Miltiadcs, who was prominent in Athonsin the time of Pisis-tratus, and was also the founder of a despotism in the Thracian Chersonese. He was sent out about 516 to take possession of his uncle's inheritance. To secure his position, he imprisoned the chief men by stratagem, employed a force of mercenaries, and married the daugh-ter of a Thracian prince. He joined Darius Hystaspis on his expedition against the Scythians, and remained with the Ionians to guard the bridge over the Danube while the Persian army advanced northward. When the appointed time had passed, and nothing had been heard from Darius, he is said to have urged the destruction of the bridge and the abandonment of the Persians, but to have been overruled by the Ionian leaders, who maintained their own ascendancy by Persian support alone, the feeling of the population being everywhere against them. Had his opinion prevailed, says Grote, he would have inflicted on Persia a more vital blow than the victory of Marathon. He remained in the Chersonese till about 493, with the exception of a brief interval.
His only achievement during this period was the conquest of Lemnos and Imbros, which probably took place while the Persians were occupied with the Ionic revolt (between 501 and 494). He thus drew upon himself the hostility of Darius, was driven from the Chersonese at the close of the Ionic war, and on his flight to Athens narrowly escaped capture by the Phoenician fleet. He was brought to trial by the Athenians for alleged despotism in his administration of the Chersonese, but was honorably acquitted, and his fame as the conqueror of Lemnos secured his election as one of the ten generals at a time when the Persian armament under Datis and Artaphernes was approaching Greece. While the generals were equally divided whether to meet the enemy in the field or to defend the city behind its walls, Miltiades persuaded the polemarch Callimachus to give his casting vote in favor of immediate attack, and thus brought on the battle of Marathon. Though the other generals surrendered to him their days of command, it is said that he waited till his own day before he engaged the enemy, and achieved the most memorable victory in the history of Greece. (See Marathon.) The admiration of him by his countrymen was now unbounded.
At his request, he was intrusted with an armament of 70 ships, no other man knowing its destination. He sailed against the island of Paros to gratify a private animosity, and ravaged the island, but failed to capture the town. Being seized with a panic while visiting a priestess on a superstitious errand, he strained or bruised his thigh by falling and raised the siege. On his return to Athens he was impeached and condemned to pay a penalty of 50 talents, and soon after died of his wound. According to Cornelius Nepos and Plutarch, he was imprisoned after being fined, but this is not stated by Herodotus. The tine was afterward paid by his son Cimon.