[9.61] The Athenians, as soon as they received this message, were anxious to go to the aid of the Spartans, and to help them to the uttermost of their power; but, as they were upon the march, the Greeks on the king's side, whose place in the line had been opposite theirs, fell upon them, and so harassed them by their attacks that it was not possible for them to give the succour they desired. Accordingly the Lacedaemonians, and the Tegeans - whom nothing could induce to quit their side - were left alone to resist the Persians. Including the light-armed, the number of the former was 50,000; while that of the Tegeans was 3000. Now, therefore, as they were about to engage with Mardonius and the troops under him, they made ready to offer sacrifice. The victims, however, for some time were not favourable; and, during the delay, many fell on the Spartan side, and a still greater number were wounded. For the Persians had made a rampart of their wicker shields, and shot from behind them stich clouds of arrows, that the Spartans were sorely distressed. The victims continued unpropitious; till at last Pausanias raised his eyes to the Heraeum of the Plataeans, and calling the goddess to his aid, besought her not to disappoint the hopes of the Greeks.
[9.62] As he offered his prayer, the Tegeans, advancing before the rest, rushed forward against the enemy; and the Lacedaemonians, who had obtained favourable omens the moment that Pausanias prayed, at length, after their long delay, advanced to the attack; while the Persians, on their side, left shooting, and prepared to meet them. And first the combat was at the wicker shields. Afterwards, when these were swept down, a fierce contest took Place by the side of the temple of Ceres, which lasted long, and ended in a hand-to-hand struggle. The barbarians many times seized hold of the Greek spears and brake them; for in boldness and warlike spirit the Persians were not a whit inferior to the Greeks; but they were without bucklers, untrained, and far below the enemy in respect of skill in arms. Sometimes singly, sometimes in bodies of ten, now fewer and now more in number, they dashed upon the Spartan ranks, and so perished.
[9.63] The fight went most against the Greeks, where Mardonius, mounted upon a white horse, and surrounded by the bravest of all the Persians, the thousand picked men, fought in person. So long as Mardonius was alive, this body resisted all attacks, and, while they defended their own lives, struck down no small number of Spartans; but after Mardonius fell, and the troops with him, which were the main strength of the army, perished, the remainder yielded to the Lacedaemonians, and took to flight. Their light clothing, and want of bucklers, were of the greatest hurt to them: for they had to contend against men heavily armed, while they themselves were without any such defence.
[9.64] Then was the warning of the oracle fulfilled; and the vengeance which was due to the Spartans for the slaughter of Leonidas was paid them by Mardonius - then too did Pausanias, the son of Cleombrotus, and grandson of Anaxandridas (I omit to recount his other ancestors, since they are the same with those of Leonidas), win a victory exceeding in glory all those to which our knowledge extends. Mardonius was slain by Aeimnestus, a man famous in Sparta - the same who in the Messenian war, which came after the struggle against the Medes, fought a battle near Stenyclerus with but three hundred men against the whole force of the Messenians, and himself perished, and the three hundred with him.
[9.65] The Persians, as soon as they were put to flight by the Lacedaemonians, ran hastily away, without preserving any order, and took refuge in their own camp, within the wooden defence which they had raised in the Theban territory. It is a marvel to me how it came to pass, that although the battle was fought quite close to the grove of Ceres, yet not a single Persian appears to have died on the sacred soil, nor even to have set foot upon it, while round about the precinct, in the unconsecrated ground, great numbers perished. I imagine - if it is lawful, in matters which concern the gods, to imagine anything - that the goddess herself kept them out, because they had burnt her dwelling at Eleusis. Such, then, was the issue of this battle.
[9.66] Artabazus, the son of Pharnaces, who had disapproved from the first of the king's leaving Mardonius behind him, and had made great endeavours, but all in vain, to dissuade Mardonius from risking a battle, when he found that the latter was bent on acting otherwise than he wished, did as follows. He had a force under his orders which was far from inconsiderable, amounting, as it did, to near forty thousand men. Being well aware, therefore, how the battle was likely to go, as soon as the two armies began to fight, he led his soldiers forward in an orderly array, bidding them one and all proceed at the same pace, and follow him with such celerity as they should observe him to use. Having issued these commands, he pretended to lead them to the battle. But when, advancing before his army, he saw that the Persians were already in flight, instead of keeping the same order, he wheeled his troops suddenly round, and beat a retreat; nor did he even seek shelter within the palisade or behind the walls of Thebes, but hurried on into Phocis, wishing to make his way to the Hellespont with all possible speed. Such accordingly was the course which these Persians took.
[9.67] As for the Greeks upon the king's side, while most of them played the coward purposely, the Boeotians, on the contrary, had a long struggle with the Athenians. Those of the Thebans who were attached to the Medes, displayed especially no little zeal; far from playing the coward, they fought with such fury that three hundred of the best and bravest among them were slain by the Athenians in this passage of arms. But at last they too were routed, and fled away - not, however, in the same direction as the Persians and the crowd of allies, who, having taken no part in the battle, ran off without striking a blow - but to the city of Thebes.
[9.68] To me it shows very clearly how completely the rest of the barbarians were dependent upon the Persian troops, that here they all fled at once, without ever coming to blows with the enemy, merely because they saw the Persians running away. And so it came to pass that the whole army took to flight, except only the horse, both Persian and Boeotian. These did good service to the flying foot-men, by advancing close to the enemy, and separating between the Greeks and their own fugitives.
[9.69] The victors however pressed on, pursuing and slaying the remnant of the king's army.
Meantime, while the flight continued, tidings reached the Greeks who were drawn up round the Heraeum, and so were absent from the battle, that the fight was begun, and that Pausanias was gaining the victory. Hearing this, they rushed forward without any order, the Corinthians taking the upper road across the skirts of Cithaeron and the hills, which led straight to the temple of Ceres; while the Megarians and Phliasians followed the level route through the plain. These last had almost reached the enemy, when the Theban horse espied them, and, observing their disarray, despatched against them the squadron of which Asopodorus, the son of Timander, was captain. Asopodorus charged them with such effect that the left six hundred of their number dead upon the plain, and, pursuing the rest, compelled them to seek shelter in Cithaeron. So these men perished without honour.
[9.70] The Persians, and the multitude with them, who fled to the wooden fortress, were able to ascend into the towers before the Lacedaemonians came up. Thus placed, they proceeded to strengthen the defences as well as they could; and when the Lacedaemonians arrived, a sharp fight took place at the rampart. So long as the Athenians were away, the barbarians kept off their assailants, and had much the best of the combat, since the Lacedaemonians were unskilled in the attack of walled places: but on the arrival of the Athenians, a more violent assault was made, and the wall was for a long time attacked with fury. In the end the valour of the Athenians and their perseverance prevailed - they gained the top of the wall, and, breaking a breach through it, enabled the Greeks to pour in. The first to enter here were the Tegeans, and they it was who plundered the tent of Mardonius; where among other booty the found the manger from which his horses ate, all made of solid brass, and well worth looking at. This manger was given by the Tegeans to the temple of Minerva Alea, while the remainder of their booty was brought into the common stock of the Greeks. As soon as the wall was broken down, the barbarians no longer kept together in any array, nor was there one among them who thought of making further resistance - in good truth, they were all half dead with fright, huddled as so many thousands were into so narrow and confined a space. With such tameness did they submit to be slaughtered by the Greeks, that of the 300,000 men who composed the army - omitting the 40,000 by whom Artabazus was accompanied in his flight - no more than 3000 outlived the battle. Of the Lacedaemonians from Sparta there perished in this combat ninety-one; of the Tegeans, sixteen; of the Athenians, fifty-two.
[9.71] On the side of the barbarians, the greatest courage was manifested, among the foot-soldiers, by the Persians; among the horse, by the Sacae; while Mardonius himself, as a man, bore off the palm from the rest. Among the Greeks, the Athenians and the Tegeans fought well; but the prowess shown by the Lacedaemonians was beyond either. Of this I have but one proof to offer - since all the three nations overthrew the force opposed to them - and that is, that the Lacedaemonians fought and conquered the best troops. The bravest man by far on that day was, in my judgment, Aristodemus - the same who alone escaped from the slaughter of the three hundred at Thermopylae, and who on that account had endured disgrace and reproach: next to him were Posidonius, Philocyon, and Amompharetus the Spartan. The Spartans, however, who took part in the fight, when the question of "who had distinguished himself most," came to be talked over among them, decided - "that Aristodemus, who, on account of the blame which attached to him, had manifestly courted death, and had therefore left his place in the line and behaved like a madman, had done of a truth very notable deeds; but that Posidonius, who, with no such desire to lose his life, had quitted himself no less gallantly, was by so much a braver man than he." Perchance, however, it was envy that made them speak after this sort. Of those whom I have named above as slain in this battle, all, save and except Aristodemus, received public honours: Aristodemus alone had no honours, because he courted death for the reason which I have mentioned.
[9.72] These then were the most distinguished of those who fought at Plataea. As for Callicrates, - the most beautiful man, not among the Spartans only, but in the whole Greek camp, - he was not killed in the battle; for it was while Pausanias was still consulting the victims, that as he sat in his proper place in the line, an arrow struck him on the side. While his comrades advanced to the fight, he was borne out of the ranks, very loath to die, as he showed by the words which he addressed to Arimnestus, one of the Plataeans; - "I grieve," said he, "not because I have to die for my country, but because I have not lifted my arm against the enemy, nor done any deed worthy of me, much as I have desired to achieve something."
[9.73] The Athenian who is said to have distinguished himself the most was Sophanes, the son of Eutychides, of the Deceleian canton. The men of this canton, once upon a time, did a deed, which (as the Athenians themselves confess) has ever since been serviceable to them. When the Tyndaridae, in days of yore, invaded Attica with a mighty army to recover Helen, and, not being able to find out whither she had been carried, desolated the cantons, - at this time, they say, the Deceleians (or Decelus himself, according to some), displeased at the rudeness of Theseus, and fearing that the whole territory would suffer, discovered everything to the enemy, and even showed them the way to Aphidnae, which Titacus, a native of the place, betrayed into their hands. As a reward for this action, Sparta has always, from that time to the present, allowed the Deceleians to be free from all dues, and to have seats of honour at their festivals; and hence too, in the war which took place many years after these events between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, the Lacedaemonians, while they laid waste all the rest of Attica, spared the lands of the Deceleians.
[9.74] Of this canton was Sophanes, the Athenian, who most distinguished himself in the battle. Two stories are told concerning him: according to the one, he wore an iron anchor, fastened to the belt which secured his breastplate by a brazen chain; and this, when he came near the enemy, he threw out; to the intent that, when they made their charge, it might be impossible for him to be driven from his post: as soon, however, as the enemy fled, his wont was to take up his anchor and join the pursuit. Such, then, is one of the said stories. The other, which is contradictory to the first, relates that Sophanes, instead of having an iron anchor fastened to his breastplate, bore the device of an anchor upon his shield, which he never allowed to rest, but made to run round continually.
[9.75] Another glorious deed was likewise performed by this same Sophanes At the time when the Athenians were laying siege to Egina, he took up the challenge of Eurybates the Argive, a winner of the Pentathlum, and slew him. The fate of Sophanes in after times was the following: he was leader of an Athenian army in conjunction with Leagrus, the son of Glaucon, and in a battle with the Edonians near Datum, about the gold-mines there, he was slain, after displaying uncommon bravery.
[9.76] As soon as the Greeks at Plataea had overthrown the barbarians, a woman came over to them from the enemy. She was one of the concubines of Pharandates, the son of Teaspes, a Persian; and when she heard that the Persians were all slain and that the Greeks had carried the day, forthwith she adorned herself and her maids with many golden ornaments, and with the bravest of the apparel that she had brought with her, and, alighting from her litter, came forward to the Lacedaemonians, ere the work of slaughter was well over. When she saw that all the orders were given by Pausanias, with whose name and country she was well acquainted, as she had oftentimes heard tell of them, she knew who he must be; wherefore she embraced his knees, and said -
"O king of Sparta! save thy suppliant from the slavery that awaits the captive. Already I am beholden to thee for one service - the slaughter of these men, wretches who had no regard either for gods or angels. I am by birth a Coan, the daughter of Hegetoridas, son of Antagoras. The Persian seized me by force in Cos, and kept me against my will."
"Lady," answered Pausanias, "fear nothing: as a suppliant thou art safe - and still more, if thou hast spoken truth, and Hegetoridas of Cos is thy father - for he is bound to me by closer ties of friendship than any other man in those regions."
When he had thus spoken, Pausanias placed the woman in the charge of some of the Ephors who were present, and afterwards sent her to Egina, whither she had a desire to go.
[9.77] About the time of this woman's coming, the Mantineans arrived upon the field, and found that all was over, and that it was too late to take any part in the battle. Greatly distressed hereat, they declared themselves to deserve a fine, as laggarts; after which, learning that a portion of the Medes had fled away under Artabazus, they were anxious to go after them as far as Thessaly. The Lacedaemonians however would not suffer the pursuit; so they returned again to their own land, and sent the leaders of their army into banishment. Soon after the Mantineans, the Eleans likewise arrived, and showed the same sorrow; after which they too returned home, and banished their leaders. But enough concerning these nations.
[9.78] There was a man at Plataea among the troops of the Eginetans, whose name was Lampon; he was the son of Pythias, and a person of the first rank among his countrymen. Now this Lampon went about this same time to Pausanias, and counselled him to do a deed of exceeding wickedness. "Son of Cleombrotus," he said very earnestly, "what thou hast already done is passing great and glorious. By the favour of Heaven thou hast saved Greece, and gained a renown beyond all the Greeks of whom we have any knowledge. Now then so finish thy work, that thine own fame may be increased thereby, and that henceforth barbarians may fear to commit outrages on the Grecians. When Leonidas was slain at Thermopylae, Xerxes and Mardonius commanded that he should be beheaded and crucified. Do thou the like at this time by Mardonius, and thou wilt have glory in Sparta, and likewise through the whole of Greece. For, by hanging him upon a cross, thou wilt avenge Leonidas, who was thy father's brother."
[9.79] Thus spake Lampon, thinking to please Pausanias; but Pausanias answered him - "My Eginetan friend, for thy foresight and thy friendliness I am much beholden to thee: but the counsel which thou hast offered is not good. First hast thou lifted me up to the skies, by thy praise of my country and my achievement; and then thou hast cast me down to the ground, by bidding me maltreat the dead, and saying that thus I shall raise myself in men's esteem. Such doings befit barbarians rather than Greeks; and even in barbarians we detest them. On such terms then I could not wish to please the Eginetans, nor those who think as they think enough for me to gain the approval of my own countrymen, by righteous deeds as well as by righteous words. Leonidas, whom thou wouldst have me avenge, is, I maintain, abundantly avenged already. Surely the countless lives here taken are enough to avenge not him only, but all those who fell at Thermopylae. Come not thou before me again with such a speech, nor with such counsel; and thank my forbearance that thou art not now punished." Then Lampon, having received this answer, departed, and went his way.
[9.80] After this Pausanias caused proclamation to be made, that no one should lay hands on the booty, but that the Helots should collect it and bring it all to one place. So the Helots went and spread themselves through the camp, wherein were found many tents richly adorned with furniture of gold and silver, many couches covered with plates of the same, and many golden bowls, goblets, and other drinking-vessels. On the carriages were bags containing silver and golden kettles; and the bodies of the slain furnished bracelets and chains, and scymitars with golden ornaments - not to mention embroidered apparel, of which no one made any account. The Helots at this time stole many things of much value, which they sold in after times to the Eginetans; however, they brought in likewise no small quantity, chiefly such things as it was not possible for them to hide. And this was the beginning of the great wealth of the Eginetans, who bought the gold of the Helots as if it had been mere brass.