120 Route 9. MARATHON. Excursions
road passes near the W. spurs of Pentelikon, we observe to the left
the villages of Chalandri, Marousi, and Kephisia, embosomed in
vineyards, cornfields, and olive-groves. The white marble quarries
on the slope of Pentelikon are also visible. After passing a chapel
and several wells, we reach, iy4 hr. after leaving Athens, a group
of houses and a military guard-house (<jto8[j.6;), at the N. extrem¬
ity of Mt. Hymettos, where it approaches to within about 3 M.
of Pentelikon. The name of this place, Stavros or 'cross', is de¬
rived from its position at the junction of the road to Marathon and
Laurion with those to the N. and S. parts of the Attic plain. The
railway-station of Jeraka (p. 124) lies near this point.
Our road crosses the railway and leads to the E., skirting the S.
spurs of Pentelikon. In about y2 hr. we reach the small village of
Charvdti, and in y2 hr. more, after passing through extensive olive-
groves, we arrive at the estate of Pikermi, where a short halt is ge¬
nerally made to change horses. Pikermi was the scene, in April
1870, of the last important outbreak of brigandage in Greece, in
which an Italian and three English gentlemen were captured and
shot by the bandits. Fossilized bones have been found in the bed
of the Valanaris , a mountain torrent here, which, however, is
usually dry. The road runs for about 3 M. along the bank of this
torrent, which reaches the sea at Raphina. The latter name is a
corruption of that of the deme Araphen, to which the ancient forti¬
fications on the Ettos, a hill to the right somewhat resembling a
feudal castle, probably belonged. Soon after this hill has faded out of
sight, the road turns to the N., passing at some distance from a guard¬
house situated on the hill to the right.
After crossing the ridge we obtain a magnificent * View of the pine-
clad foreground, the azure sea, the island of Eubcea, and part of
the plain of Marathon, with the projecting peninsula of Kynosoura;
to the left are the slopes of the Pentelikon and the Argaliki. The
hamlet of Hieratzakouli, visible for a few moments about 3/4 M. to
the left of the road, possesses a spring of drinking-wateT. Soon
after, in about 4'/2 hrs. from the start, the carriage draws up by a sol¬
itary farm-house, generally untenanted, with a wine-press. About
250 yds. to the N., in the middle of the Plain of Marathon, is the
isolated knoll called *Sords, 30-40 ft. in height and about 200 yds.
in circumference, partly overgrown with brushwood. This is almost
unquestionably the mound raised over the graves of the Athenians,
who fell in the battle of Marathon, on the 17th day of Metageitnion
(12th Aug.), in the year B. C. 490, and probably marks the spot
where the struggle was hottest. This evidently artificial mound has
been somewhat curtailed on its W. side in the course of an exca¬
vation made at the beginning of the present century. The obsidian
arrow-heads and other objects then found inclined some antiqua¬
rians to place the construction of the mound in prehistoric times.
A recent excavation by Schliemann was without result. Pausanias,