The Athenians helped the Ionians after they got taken over by Persia. They sent ships to help aid them since they are also Greek. Darius the great, king of Persia was not very happy about this and made it his life mission to defeat Athens.
The Persians decided to try to attack Athens and landed their boat in Marathon. Little did they know that 10,000 Athenians were waiting for them. There was 25,000 Persians that landed so the Athenians were very outnumbered. Even with that disadvantage the Athenians still won.
War at Sea
Even though the Athenians won the war the Persians boarded back on their boat and headed to Athens to get the city. The Athenians sent a runner named Pheidippides the 26.2 miles to Athens where he got there in time to tell the city. Then he promptly died. The city was able to protect themselves from Persia.
Darius the great died, but his son Xerxes was there to try and defeat the Athens for his Father. They started marching to Athens. 7,000 Athenians (and 300 Spartans) hid in a mountain pass and stopped them reaching the city. They held the off for three days. The Spartans sent the Athenians to go and protect their city while they held the Persians off. All 300 Spartans fought to their death for Athens.
The Athenians got to their city and put everyone on boats. Xerxes lights the city on fire. The Athenians placed their boats in a canal so they had to ways out. Xerxes got his men and they blocked both of the exits with their boats but got stuck. The Athenians started to attack Persian boats with their battling rams and destroyed 1/3 of of the Persian boats. It ended with a victory for Athens.
Because of Persians constant attempts to attack Athens all of the Greek city-states formed a group called the Delian League. They made a truce so that if Persia tried to attack they would all fight them. This system was doing great until Athens started taking advantage.