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Translated into English by G. C. MACAULAY, M.A. Credits
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Book I
Page 01
   Page 02   Page 03   Page 04   Page 05   Page 06   Page 07   Page 08   Page 09

Book II
Page 10
   Page 11   Page 12   Page 13   Page 14   Page 15

Book III
Book 16
   Page 17   Page 18   Page 19   Page 20

Book IV
Page 21
   Page 22   Page 23   Page 24   Page 25   Page 26


Book V
Page 27
   Page 28   Page 29   Page 30

Book VI
Page 31
   Page 32   Page 33   Page 34

Book VII
Page 35
   Page 36   Page 37   Page 38   Page 39   Page 40   Page 41

Page 42
   Page 43   Page 44   Page 45

Book IX
Page 46
   Page 47   Page 48   Page 49


The History of Herodotus: Page 47

Volume Two - Book IX

31. Meanwhile the Barbarians with Mardonios, when they had sufficiently mourned for Masistios, being informed that the Hellenes were at Plataia came themselves also to that part of the Asopos which flows there; and having arrived there, they were ranged against the enemy by Mardonios thus:--against the Lacedemonians he stationed the Persians; and since the Persians were much superior in numbers, they were arrayed in deeper ranks than those, and notwithstanding this they extended in front of the Tegeans also: and he ranged them in this manner,--all the strongest part of that body he selected from the rest and stationed it opposite to the Lacedemonians, but the weaker part he ranged by their side opposite to the Tegeans. This he did on the information and suggestion of the Thebans. Then next to the Persians he ranged the Medes; and these extended in front of the Corinthians, Potidaians, Orchomenians and Sikyonians. Next to the Medes he ranged the Bactrians; and these extended in front of the Epidaurians, Troizenians, Lepreates, Tirynthians, Mykenians and Phliasians. After the Bactrians he stationed the Indians; and these extended in front of the Hermionians, Eretrians, Styrians and Chalkidians. Next to the Indians he ranged the Sacans, who extended in front of the men of Amprakia, the Anactorians, Leucadians, Palians and Eginetans. Next to the Sacans and opposite to the Athenians, Plataians and Megarians, he ranged the Bœotians, Locrians, Malians, Thessalians, and the thousand men of the Phokians: for not all the Phokians had taken the side of the Medes, but some of them were even supporting the cause of the Hellenes, being shut up in Parnassos; and setting out from thence they plundered from the army of Mardonios and from those of the Hellenes who were with him. He ranged the Macedonians also and those who dwell about the borders of Thessaly opposite to the Athenians.

32. These which have been named were the greatest of the nations who were arrayed in order by Mardonios, those, I mean, which were the most renowned and of greatest consideration: but there were in his army also men of several other nations mingled together, of the Phrygians, Thracians, Mysians, Paionians, and the rest; and among them also some Ethiopians, and of the Egyptians those called Hermotybians and Calasirians,[35] carrying knives,[36] who of all the Egyptians are the only warriors. These men, while he was yet at Phaleron, he had caused to disembark from the ships in which they served as fighting-men; for the Egyptians had not been appointed to serve in the land-army which came with Xerxes to Athens. Of the Barbarians then there were thirty myriads,[37] as has been declared before; but of the Hellenes who were allies of Mardonios no man knows what the number was, for they were not numbered; but by conjecture I judge that these were assembled to the number of five myriads. These who were placed in array side by side were on foot; and the cavalry was ranged apart from them in a separate body.

33. When all had been drawn up by nations and by divisions, then on the next day they offered sacrifice on both sides. For the Hellenes Tisamenos the son of Antiochos was he who offered sacrifice, for he it was who accompanied this army as diviner. This man the Lacedemonians had made to be one of their own people, being an Eleian and of the race of the Iamidai:[38] for when Tisamenos was seeking divination at Delphi concerning issue, the Pythian prophetess made answer to him that he should win five of the greatest contests. He accordingly, missing the meaning of the oracle, began to attend to athletic games, supposing that he should win contests of athletics; and he practised for the "five contests"[39] and came within one fall of winning a victory at the Olympic games,[40] being set to contend with Hieronymos of Andros. The Lacedemonians however perceived that the oracle given to Tisamenos had reference not to athletic but to martial contests, and they endeavoured to persuade Tisamenos by payment of money, and to make him a leader in their wars together with the kings of the race of Heracles. He then, seeing that the Spartans set much store on gaining him over as a friend, having perceived this, I say, he raised his price and signified to them that he would do as they desired, if they would make him a citizen of their State and give him full rights, but for no other payment. The Spartans at first when they heard this displayed indignation and altogether gave up their request, but at last, when great terror was hanging over them of this Persian armament, they gave way[41] and consented. He then perceiving that they had changed their minds, said that he could not now be satisfied even so, nor with these terms alone; but it was necessary that his brother Hegias also should be made a Spartan citizen on the same terms as he himself became one.

34. By saying this he followed the example of Melampus in his request,[42] if one may compare royal power with mere citizenship; for Melampus on his part, when the women in Argos had been seized by madness, and the Argives endeavoured to hire him to come from Pylos and to cause their women to cease from the malady, proposed as payment for himself the half of the royal power; and the Argives did not suffer this, but departed: and afterwards, when more of their women became mad, at length they accepted that which Melampus had proposed, and went to offer him this: but he then seeing that they had changed their minds, increased his demand, and said that he would not do that which they desired unless they gave to his brother Bias also the third share in the royal power.[43] And the Argives, being driven into straits, consented to this also.

35. Just so the Spartans also, being very much in need of Tisamenos, agreed with him on any terms which he desired: and when the Spartans had agreed to this demand also, then Tisamenos the Eleian, having become a Spartan, had part with them in winning five of the greatest contests as their diviner: and these were the only men who ever were made fellow- citizens of the Spartans. Now the five contests were these: one and the first of them was this at Plataia; and after this the contest at Tegea, which took place with the Tegeans and the Argives; then that at Dipaieis against all the Arcadians except the Mantineians; after that the contest with the Messenians at Ithome;[44] and last of all that which took place at Tanagra against the Athenians and Argives. This, I say, was accomplished last of the five contests.

36. This Tisamenos was acting now as diviner for the Hellenes in the Plataian land, being brought by the Spartans. Now to the Hellenes the sacrifices were of good omen if they defended themselves only, but not if they crossed the Asopos and began a battle; 37, and Mardonios too, who was eager to begin a battle, found the sacrifices not favourable to this design, but they were of good omen to him also if he defended himself only; for he too used the Hellenic manner of sacrifice, having as diviner Hegesistratos an Eleian and the most famous of the Telliadai, whom before these events the Spartans had taken and bound, in order to put him to death, because they had suffered much mischief from him. He then being in this evil case, seeing that he was running a course for his life and was likely moreover to suffer much torment before his death, had done a deed such as may hardly be believed. Being made fast on a block bound with iron, he obtained an iron tool, which in some way had been brought in, and contrived forthwith a deed the most courageous of any that we know: for having first calculated how the remaining portion of his foot might be got out of the block, he cut away the flat of his own foot,[45] and after that, since he was guarded still by warders, he broke through the wall and so ran away to Tegea, travelling during the nights and in the daytime entering a wood and resting there; so that, though the Lacedemonians searched for him in full force, he arrived at Tegea on the third night; and the Lacedemonians were possessed by great wonder both at his courage, when they saw the piece of the foot that was cut off lying there, and also because they were not able to find him. So he at that time having thus escaped them took refuge at Tegea, which then was not friendly with the Lacedemonians; and when he was healed and had procured for himself a wooden foot, he became an open enemy of the Lacedemonians. However in the end the enmity into which he had fallen with the Lacedemonians was not to his advantage; for he was caught by them while practising divination in Zakynthos, and was put to death.

38. However the death of Hegesistratos took place later than the events at Plataia, and he was now at the Asopos, having been hired by Mardonions for no mean sum, sacrificing and displaying zeal for his cause both on account of his enmity with the Lacedemonians and on account of the gain which he got: but as the sacrifices were not favourable for a battle either for the Persians themselves or for those Hellenes who were with them (for these also had a diviner for themselves, Hippomachos a Leucadian), and as the Hellenes had men constantly flowing in and were becoming more in number, Timagenides the son of Herpys, a Theban, counselled Mardonios to set a guard on the pass of Kithairon, saying that the Hellenes were constantly flowing in every day and that he would thus cut off large numbers.

39. Eight days had now passed while they had been sitting opposite to one another, when he gave this counsel to Mardonios; and Mardonios, perceiving that the advice was good, sent the cavalry when night came on to the pass of Kithairon leading towards Plataia, which the Bœotians call the "Three Heads"[46] and the Athenians the "Oak Heads."[47] Having been thus sent, the cavalry did not come without effect, for they caught five hundred baggage-animals coming out into the plain, which were bearing provisions from Peloponnesus to the army, and also the men who accompanied the carts: and having taken this prize the Persians proceeded to slaughter them without sparing either beast or man; and when they were satiated with killing they surrounded the rest and drove them into the camp to Mardonios.

40. After this deed they spent two days more, neither side wishing to begin a battle; for the Barbarians advanced as far as the Asopos to make trial of the Hellenes, but neither side would cross the river. However the cavalry of Mardonios made attacks continually and did damage to the Hellenes; for the Thebans, being very strong on the side of the Medes, carried on the war with vigour, and always directed them up to the moment of fighting; and after this the Persians and Medes took up the work and were they who displayed valour in their turn.

41. For ten days then nothing more was done than this; but when the eleventh day had come, while they still sat opposite to one another at Plataia, the Hellenes having by this time grown much more numerous and Mardonios being greatly vexed at the delay of action, then Mardonios the son of Gobryas and Artabazos the son of Pharnakes, who was esteemed by Xerxes as few of the Persians were besides, came to speech with one another; and as they conferred, the opinions they expressed were these,--that of Artabazos, that they must put the whole army in motion as soon as possible and go to the walls of the Thebans, whither great stores of corn had been brought in for them and fodder for their beasts; and that they should settle there quietly and get their business done as follows:--they had, he said, great quantities of gold, both coined and uncoined, and also of silver and of drinking- cups; and these he advised they should send about to the Hellenes without stint, more especially to those of the Hellenes who were leaders in their several cities; and these, he said, would speedily deliver up their freedom: and he advised that they should not run the risk of a battle. His opinion then was the same as that of the Thebans,[48] for he as well as they had some true foresight: but the opinion of Mardonios was more vehement and more obstinate, and he was by no means disposed to yield; for he said that he thought their army far superior to that of the Hellenes, and he gave as his opinion that they should engage battle as quickly as possible and not allow them to assemble in still greater numbers than were already assembled; and as for the sacrifices of Hegesistratos, they should leave them alone and not endeavour to force a good sign, but follow the custom of the Persians and engage battle.

42. When he so expressed his judgment, none opposed him, and thus his opinion prevailed; for he and not Artabazos had the command of the army given him by the king. He summoned therefore the commanders of the divisions and the generals of those Hellenes who were with him, and asked whether they knew of any oracle regarding the Persians, which said that they should be destroyed in Hellas; and when those summoned to council[49] were silent, some not knowing the oracles and others knowing them but not esteeming it safe to speak, Mardonios himself said: "Since then ye either know nothing or do not venture to speak, I will tell you, since I know very well. There is an oracle saying that the Persians are destined when they come to Hellas to plunder the temple at Delphi, and having plundered it to perish every one of them. We therefore, just because we know this, will not go to that temple nor will we attempt to plunder it; and for this cause we shall not perish. So many of you therefore as chance to wish well to the Persians, have joy so far as regards this matter, and be assured that we shall overcome the Hellenes." Having spoken to them thus, he next commanded to prepare everything and to set all in order, since at dawn of the next day a battle would be fought.

43. Now this oracle, which Mardonios said referred to the Persians, I know for my part was composed with reference with the Illyrians and the army of the Enchelians, and not with reference to the Persians at all. However, the oracle which was composed by Bakis with reference to this battle, "The gathering of Hellenes together and cry of Barbarian voices, Where the Thermodon flows, by the banks of grassy Asopos; Here very many shall fall ere destiny gave them to perish, Medes bow-bearing in fight, when the fatal day shall approach them,"-- these sayings, and others like them composed by Musaios, I know had reference to the Persians. Now the river Thermodon flows between Tanagra and Glisas.

44. After the inquiry about the oracles and the exhortation given by Mardonios night came on and the guards were set: and when night was far advanced, and it seemed that there was quiet everywhere in the camps, and that the men were in their deepest sleep, then Alexander the son of Amyntas, commander and king of the Macedonians, rode his horse up to the guard-posts of the Athenians and requested that he might have speech with their generals. So while the greater number of the guards stayed at their posts, some ran to the generals, and when they reached them they said that a man had come riding on a horse out of the camp of the Medes, who discovered nothing further, but only named the generals and said that he desired to have speech with them.

45. Having heard this, forthwith they accompanied the men to the guard-posts, and when they had arrived there, Alexander thus spoke to them: "Athenians, I lay up these words of mine as a trust to you, charging you to keep them secret and tell them to no one except only to Pausanias, lest ye bring me to ruin: for I should not utter them if I did not care greatly for the general safety of Hellas, seeing that I am a Hellene myself by original descent and I should not wish to see Hellas enslaved instead of free. I say then that Mardonios and his army cannot get the offerings to be according to their mind,[50] for otherwise ye would long ago have fought. Now however he has resolved to let the offerings alone and to bring on a battle at dawn of day; for, as I conjecture, he fears lest ye should assemble in greater numbers. Therefore prepare yourselves; and if after all Mardonios should put off the battle and not bring it on, stay where ye are and hold out patiently; for they have provisions only for a few days remaining. And if this way shall have its issue according to your mind, then each one of you ought to remember me also concerning liberation,[51] since I have done for the sake of the Hellenes so hazardous a deed by reason of my zeal for you, desiring to show you the design of Mardonios, in order that the Barbarians may not fall upon you when ye are not as yet expecting them: and I am Alexander the Macedonian." Thus having spoken he rode away back to the camp and to his own position.

46. Then the generals of the Athenians came to the right wing and told Pausanias that which they had heard from Alexander. Upon this saying he being struck with fear of the Persians spoke as follows: "Since then at dawn the battle comes on, it is right that ye, Athenians, should take your stand opposite to the Persians, and we opposite to the Bœotians and those Hellenes who are now posted against you; and for this reason, namely because ye are acquainted with the Medes and with their manner of fighting, having fought with them at Marathon, whereas we have had no experience of these men and are without knowledge of them; for not one of the Spartans has made trial of the Medes in fight, but of the Bœotians and Thessalians we have had experience. It is right therefore that ye should take up your arms and come to this wing of the army, and that we should go to the left wing." In answer to this the Athenians spoke as follows: "To ourselves also long ago at the very first, when we saw that the Persians were being ranged opposite to you, it occurred to us to say these very things, which ye now bring forward before we have uttered them; but we feared lest these words might not be pleasing to you. Since however ye yourselves have made mention of this, know that your words have caused us pleasure, and that we are ready to do this which ye say."

47. Both then were content to do this, and as dawn appeared they began to change their positions with one another: and the Bœotians perceiving that which was being done reported it to Mardonios, who, when he heard it, forthwith himself also endeavoured to change positions, bringing the Persians along so as to be against the Lacedemonians: and when Pausanias learnt that this was being done, he perceived that he was not unobserved, and he led the Spartans back again to the right wing; and just so also did Mardonios upon his left.

48. When they had been thus brought to their former positions, Mardonios sent a herald to the Spartans and said as follows: "Lacedemonians, ye are said forsooth by those who are here to be very good men, and they have admiration for you because ye do not flee in war nor leave your post, but stay there and either destroy your enemies or perish yourselves. In this however, as it now appears, there is no truth; for before we engaged battle and came to hand-to- hand conflict we saw you already flee and leave your station, desiring to make the trial with the Athenians first, while ye ranged yourselves opposite to our slaves. These are not at all the deeds of good men in war, but we were deceived in you very greatly; for we expected by reason of your renown that ye would send a herald to us, challenging us and desiring to fight with the Persians alone; but though we on our part were ready to do this, we did not find that ye said anything of this kind, but rather that ye cowered with fear. Now therefore since ye were not the first to say this, we are the first. Why do we not forthwith fight,[52] ye on behalf of the Hellenes, since ye have the reputation of being the best, and we on behalf of the Barbarians, with equal numbers on both sides? and if we think it good that the others should fight also, then let them fight afterwards; and if on the other hand we should not think it good, but think it sufficient that we alone should fight, then let us fight it out to the end, and whichsoever of us shall be the victors, let these be counted as victorious with their whole army."

49. The herald having thus spoken waited for some time, and then, as no one made him any answer, he departed and went back; and having returned he signified to Mardonios that which had happened to him. Mardonios then being greatly rejoiced and elated by his empty[53] victory, sent the cavalry to attack the Hellenes: and when the horsemen had ridden to attack them, they did damage to the whole army of the Hellenes by hurling javelins against them and shooting with bows, being mounted archers and hard therefore to fight against: and they disturbed and choked up the spring Gargaphia, from which the whole army of the Hellenes was drawing its water. Now the Lacedemonians alone were posted near this spring, and it was at some distance from the rest of the Hellenes, according as they chanced to be posted, while the Asopos was near at hand; but when they were kept away from the Asopos, then they used to go backwards and forwards to this spring; for they were not permitted by the horsemen and archers to fetch water from the river.

50. Such then being the condition of things, the generals of the Hellenes, since the army had been cut off from its water and was being harassed by the cavalry, assembled to consult about these and other things, coming to Pausanias upon the right wing: for other things too troubled them yet more than these of which we have spoken, since they no longer had provisions, and their attendants who had been sent to Peloponnese for the purpose of getting them had been cut off by the cavalry and were not able to reach the camp.

51. It was resolved then by the generals in council with one another, that if the Persians put off the battle for that day, they would go to the Island. This is distant ten furlongs[54] from the Asopos and the spring Gargaphia, where they were then encamped, and is in front of the city of the Plataians: and if it be asked how there can be an island on the mainland, thus it is[55]:-- the river parts in two above, as it flows from Kithairon down to the plain, keeping a distance of about three furlongs between its streams, and after that it joins again in one stream; and the name of it is Oėroe, said by the natives of the country to be the daughter of Asopos. To this place of which I speak they determined to remove, in order that they might be able to get an abundant supply of water and that the cavalry might not do them damage, as now when they were right opposite. And they proposed to remove when the second watch of the night should have come, so that the Persians might not see them set forth and harass them with the cavalry pursuing. They proposed also, after they had arrived at this place, round which, as I say, Oėroe the daughter of Asopos flows, parting into two streams[56] as she runs from Kithairon, to send half the army to Kithairon during this same night, in order to take up their attendants who had gone to get the supplies of provisions; for these were cut off from them in Kithairon.

52. Having thus resolved, during the whole of that day they had trouble unceasingly, while the cavalry pressed upon them; but when the day drew to a close and the attacks of the cavalry had ceased, then as it was becoming night and the time had arrived at which it had been agreed that they should retire from their place, the greater number of them set forth and began to retire, not however keeping it in mind to go to the place which had been agreed upon; but on the contrary, when they had begun to move, they readily took occasion to flee[57] from the cavalry towards the city of the Plataians, and in their flight they came as far as the temple of Hera, which temple is in front of the city of the Plataians at a distance of twenty furlongs from the spring Gargaphia; and when they had there arrived they halted in front of the temple.

53. These then were encamping about the temple of Hera; and Pausanias, seeing that they were retiring from the camp, gave the word to the Lacedemonians also to take up their arms and go after the others who were preceding them, supposing that these were going to the place to which they had agreed to go. Then, when all the other commanders were ready to obey Pausanias, Amompharetos the son of Poliades, the commander of the Pitanate division,[58] said that he would not flee from the strangers, nor with his own will would he disgrace Sparta; and he expressed wonder at seeing that which was being done, not having been present at the former discussion. And Pausanias and Euryanax were greatly disturbed that he did not obey them and still more that they should be compelled to leave the Pitanate division behind, since he thus refused;[59] for they feared that if they should leave it in order to do that which they had agreed with the other Hellenes, both Amompharetos himself would perish being left behind and also the men with him. With this thought they kept the Lacedemonian force from moving, and meanwhile they endeavoured to persuade him that it was not right for him to do so.

54. They then were exhorting Amompharetos, who had been left behind alone of the Lacedemonians and Tegeans; and meanwhile the Athenians were keeping themselves quiet in the place where they had been posted, knowing the spirit of the Lacedemonians, that they were apt to say otherwise than they really meant;[60] and when the army began to move, they sent a horseman from their own body to see whether the Spartans were attempting to set forth, or whether they had in truth no design at all to retire; and they bade him ask Pausanias what they ought to do.

55. So when the herald came to the Lacedemonians, he saw that they were still in their place and that the chiefs of them had come to strife with one another: for when Euryanax and Pausanias both exhorted Amompharetos not to run the risk of remaining behind with his men, alone of all the Lacedemonians, they did not at all persuade him, and at last they had come to downright strife; and meanwhile the herald of the Athenians had arrived and was standing by them. And Amompharetos in his contention took a piece of rock in both his hands and placed it at the feet of Pausanias, saying that with this pebble he gave his vote not to fly from the strangers, meaning the Barbarians.[61] Pausanias then, calling him a madman and one who was not in his right senses, bade tell the state of their affairs to the Athenian herald,[62] who was asking that which he had been charged to ask; and at the same time he requested the Athenians to come towards the Lacedemonians and to do in regard to the retreat the same as they did.

56. He then went away back to the Athenians; and as the dawn of day found them yet disputing with one another, Pausanias, who had remained still throughout all this time, gave the signal, and led away all the rest over the low hills, supposing that Amonpharetos would not stay behind when the other Lacedemonians departed (in which he was in fact right); and with them also went the Tegeans. Meanwhile the Athenians, following the commands which were given them, were going in the direction opposite to that of the Lacedemonians; for these were clinging to the hills and the lower slope of Kithairon from fear of the cavalry, while the Athenians were marching below in the direction of the plain.

57. As for Amonpharetos, he did not at first believe that Pausanias would ever venture to leave him and his men behind, and he stuck to it that they should stay there and not leave their post; but when Pausanias and his troops were well in front, then he perceived that they had actually left him behind, and he made his division take up their arms and led them slowly towards the main body. This, when it had got away about ten furlongs, stayed for the division of Amompharetos, halting at the river Moloeis and the place called Argiopion, where also there stands a temple of the Eleusinian Demeter: and it stayed there for this reason, namely in order that of Amonpharetos and his division should not leave the place where they had been posted, but should remain there, it might be able to come back to their assistance. So Amompharetos and his men were coming up to join them, and the cavalry also of the Barbarians was at the same time beginning to attack them in full force: for the horsemen did on this day as they had been wont to do every day; and seeing the place vacant in which the Hellenes had been posted on the former days, they rode their horses on continually further, and as soon as they came up with them they began to attack them.

58. Then Mardonios, when he was informed that the Hellenes had departed during the night, and when he saw their place deserted, called Thorax of Larissa and his brothers Eurypylos and Thrasydeios, and said: "Sons of Aleuas, will ye yet say anything,[63] now that ye see these places deserted? For ye who dwell near them were wont to say that the Lacedemonians did not fly from a battle, but were men unsurpassed in war; and these men ye not only saw before this changing from their post, but now we all of us see that they have run away during the past night; and by this they showed clearly, when the time came for them to contend in battle with those who were in truth the best of all men, that after all they were men of no worth, who had been making a display of valour among Hellenes, a worthless race. As for you, since ye had had no experience of the Persians, I for my part was very ready to excuse you when ye praised these, of whom after all ye knew something good; but much more I marvelled at Artabazos that /he/ should have been afraid of the Lacedemonians, and that having been afraid he should have uttered that most cowardly opinion, namely that we ought to move our army away and go to the city of the Thebans to be besieged there,--an opinion about which the king shall yet be informed by me. Of these things we will speak in another place; now however we must not allow them to act thus, but we must pursue them until they are caught and pay the penalty to us for all that they did to the Persians in time past."

59. Thus having spoken he led on the Persians at a run, after they had crossed the Asopos, on the track of the Hellenes, supposing that these were running away from him; and he directed his attack upon the Lacedemonians and Tegeans only, for the Athenians, whose march was towards the plain, he did not see by reason of the hills. Then the rest of the commanders of the Barbarian divisions, seeing that the Persians had started to pursue the Hellenes, forthwith all raised the signals for battle and began to pursue, each as fast as they could, not arranged in any order or succession of post.

60. These then were coming on with shouting and confused numbers, thinking to make short work of[64] the Hellenes; and Pausanias, when the cavalry began to attack, sent to the Athenians a horseman and said thus: "Athenians, now that the greatest contest is set before us, namely that which has for its issue the freedom or the slavery of Hellas, we have been deserted by our allies, we Lacedemonians and ye Athenians, seeing that they have run away during the night that is past. Now therefore it is determined what we must do upon this, namely that we must defend ourselves and protect one another as best we may. If then the cavalry had set forth to attack you at the first, we and the Tegeans, who with us refuse to betray the cause of Hellas, should have been bound to go to your help; but as it is, since the whole body has come against us, it is right that ye should come to that portion of the army which is hardest pressed, to give aid. If however anything has happened to you which makes it impossible for you to come to our help, then do us a kindness by sending to us the archers; and we know that ye have been in the course of this present war by far the most zealous of all, so that ye will listen to our request in this matter also."

61. When the Athenians heard this they were desirous to come to their help and to assist them as much as possible; and as they were already going, they were attacked by those of the Hellenes on the side of the king who had been ranged opposite to them, so that they were no longer able to come to the help of the Lacedemonians, for the force that was attacking them gave them much trouble. Thus the Lacedemonians and Tegeans were left alone, being in number, together with light-armed men, the former fifty thousand and the Tegeans three thousand; for these were not parted at all from the Lacedemonians: and they began to offer sacrifice, meaning to engage battle with Mardonios and the force which had come against them. Then since their offerings did not prove favourable, and many of them were being slain during this time and many more wounded,--for the Persians had made a palisade of their wicker-work shields[65] and were discharging their arrows in great multitude and without sparing,--Pausanias, seeing that the Spartans were hard pressed and that the offerings did not prove favourable, fixed his gaze upon the temple of Hera of the Plataians and called upon the goddess to help, praying that they might by no means be cheated of their hope: 62, and while he was yet calling upon her thus, the Tegeans started forward before them and advanced against the Barbarians, and forthwith after the prayer of Pausanias the offerings proved favourable for the Lacedemonians as they sacrificed. So when this at length came to pass, then they also advanced against the Persians; and the Persians put away their bows and came against them. Then first there was fighting about the wicker-work shields, and when these had been overturned, after that the fighting was fierce by the side of the temple of Demeter, and so continued for a long time, until at last they came to justling; for the Barbarians would take hold of the spears and break them off. Now in courage and in strength the Persians were not inferior to the others, but they were without defensive armour,[66] and moreover they were unversed in war and unequal to their opponents in skill; and they would dart out one at a time or in groups of about ten together, some more and some less, and fall upon the Spartans and perish.

63. In the place where Mardonios himself was, riding on a white horse and having about him the thousand best men of the Persians chosen out from the rest, here, I say, they pressed upon their opponents most of all: and so long as Mardonios survived, they held out against them, and defending themselves they cast down many of the Lacedemonians; but when Mardonios was slain and the men who were ranged about his person, which was the strongest portion of the whole army, had fallen, then the others too turned and gave way before the Lacedemonians; for their manner of dress, without defensive armour, was a very great cause of destruction to them, since in truth they were contending light-armed against hoplites.

64. Then the satisfaction for the murder of Leonidas was paid by Mardonios according to the oracle given to the Spartans,[67] and the most famous victory of all those about which we have knowledge was gained by Pausanias the son of Cleombrotos, the son of Anaxandrides; of his ancestors above this the names have been given for Leonidas,[68] since, as it happens, they are the same for both. Now Mardonios was slain by Arimnestos,[69] a man of consideration in Sparta, who afterwards, when the Median wars were over, with three hundred men fought a battle against the whole army of the Messenians, then at war with the Lacedemonians, at Stenycleros, and both he was slain and also the three hundred.

65. When the Persians were turned to flight at Plataia by the Lacedemonians, they fled in disorder to their own camp and to the palisade which they had made in the Theban territory:[70] and it is a marvel to me that, whereas they fought by the side of the sacred grove of Demeter, not one of the Persians was found to have entered the enclosure or to have been slain within it, but round about the temple in the unconsecrated ground fell the greater number of the slain. I suppose (if one ought to suppose anything about divine things) that the goddess herself refused to receive them, because they had set fire to the temple, that is to say the "palace"[71] at Eleusis.





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