|THE BATTLE OF PLATAEA|
Mardonius was the son of Gobryas, one of the seven conspirators who had put Darius on the throne. He was also married to
one of the daughters of Darius. He was an ambitious General, hungry for glory, and he was the primary influence on
Xerxes, pressuring him to resume the war with Greece. Mardonius had been put in charge of Darius's first invasion
of Greece in 492 B
., but his fleet was destroyed off the coast of Mount Athos, and he had to return before ever
reaching the Greek mainland. Two years later, Darius outfitted another fleet to invade Greece, but instead of
Mardonius, the second campaign, which ended after the defeat at Marathon, was lead by Artaphernes and Datis. After the
death of Darius, Xerxes himself was undecided regarding the advisability of another campaign in Greece, but Mardonius
convinced him to resume the war. It is thought that Mardonius hoped to be Governor, or Satrap, of the
Persian Province of Greece.
Mardonius was present at both the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis, and it was on his advise that Xerxes returned
to Persia, leaving him in Greece with an army of 300,000 men. Instead of seeking to give battle to the Greek armies,
which were now concentrated in the Peloponnese, Mardonius tried to operate as governor of the conquered portion of Greece.
He set up his headquarters at Thebes, and consolidated relations with all Greek towns who had surrendered to Persia. He
offered Athens favorable terms if they would return to their city and recognize him as their sovereign, an offer which
Athens of course, heartily refused. Mardonius, in fact, made
no move toward attempting to conquer the Peloponnese, and it finally dawned on the Spartans, that if they were going
to drive the invaders from Greek territory, they would have to leave their highly fortified peninsula, and meet him
in Boeotia, where the Persian's made camp. Neither side was anxious for battle, and for many weeks the armies
camped near each other without engaging. Finally, on a field near Plataea the issue was settled.
The Persian army was annihilated, Mardonius was killed, and the Greek city states were free once more.
Key events during the life of mardonius:
||Mardonius assists in bringing Ionian Rebellion under control.
||First expedition to Greece under Mardonius fails due to loss of fleet at Mount Athos.
||Second expedition to Greece, under Datis and Artaphernes, results in loss at Marathon.
||Insurrection in Egypt broke out.
||Death of Darius. Xerxes assumes the throne.
||Xerxes sends Mardonius to put down rebellion in Egypt.
||Under pressure from Mardonius, Xerxes decides to resume war against Greece.
||Elaborate preparations for an overwhelming army are made.
||Xerxes army crosses Hellespont, Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.
||Xerxes returns to Persia, leaves Greece in the hands of Mardonius.
||Mardonius is killed at the Battle of Plataea.
|Darius the Great
||With six conspirators seized the throne of Persia, primarily through craft rather than force.
||Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.
||Brother of Darius. Close advisor to Darius and Xerxes.
||Queen of Halicarnassas and Cos. One of Xerxes most trusted advisors and Generals.
||Exiled King of Sparta, advisor to Xerxes during his invasion of Greece.
||Leader of the Persian Cavalry. Killed in early fighitng near Plataea.
||Spartan General who led Greece against Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea.
||Athenian hero of the Battle of Salamis. He masterminded Athenian naval supremacy.
||Spartan King whose whole army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.