Michel Jules Alfred BRÉAL
Michel BRÉAL (1832-1915), a renowned French intellectual of the time, played a significant role in the revival of the Olympic Games during the 1890s. His publications ranged from philology and Greek mythology to the teaching of ancient languages and French educational policies.
Letter to Pierre de COUBERTIN
BRÉAL urged Pierre de COUBERTIN: "If you go to Athens, you could try and see if a long distance run from Marathon to Pnyx could be organised. That would emphasise the character of Antiquity... I personally claim the honour of sponsoring the marathon trophy"
Inspiration from the Soldier of Marathon
The event is inspired by the legend of the Greek messenger PHILIPPIDES who, in 490 BC, is said to have run from the city of Marathon to Athens – about 42 kilometres – to announce victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.
Histoire du marathon depuis la Grèce antique (Magazine Olympique no 202) (2010) by Comité International Olympique (CIO)The Olympic Museum
The history of the marathon since ancient Greece
The BRÉAL Cup for winners
The Bréal Cup is made of pure silver , measures 15 cm and bears the following Greek inscription : "Olympic Games 1896. Marathon trophy donated by Michel BRÉAL." The relief decoration depicts birds and aquatic plants from the marshes of Marathon.
The cup on display at the Olympic Museum
The Bréal Cup stayed in Spiridon LOUIS' family from 1896 to 2012. The trophy resurfaced in April 2012 thanks to the Stávros NIARCHOS Foundation, which acquired the cup in an auction organised by Christie's.
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