"Bannockburn, Roncevales, and Marathon"

The Battle of Bannockburn took place near Stirling, Scotland in 1314. It was fought between the armies of Edward II of England and Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, and its outcome successfully furthered the cause of Scottish Independence.




Roncesvalles is a pass in the Pyrenees. There are two battles linked to Roncesvalles:

The first occurred in 778 when the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, commanded by Charlemagne's nephew Roland, was defeated by the Basques on its return from fighting the Saracens in Spain;

The second was fought between French and Anglo-Portuguese forces in 1813 during the Peninsular War. 

The first battle is described in one of the earliest known pieces of French literature known as La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland).



Marathon soldier announcing the victory (Cortot, 1834)
Public DomainMarathon soldier announcing the victory (Cortot, 1834) - Credit: Stéphane Magnenat, Wikimedia Commons

The Battle of Marathon was fought in 490 BC between the citizens of Athens and Persian invaders.

Following the battle, a messenger called Pheidippides is reputed to have run the 25 miles from the site of the battle at Marathon to Athens to announce the news of a Greek victory. This story is the origin of the modern race known as the Marathon, which was run for the first time at the Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896.