Pausanias was a nephew of Leonidas, who was charged with leadership of the combined Greek forces
after the death of the King. After the battle of Salamis, most of the Greek army retreated to the
Peloponnesian penninusula, and worked to fortify the Isthmus. It soon became apparent that the
remaining Persian forces under Mardonius, would not give battle there, and instead retreated to
Boeotia, near their ally Thebes. In order to drive the enemy out of Greek territory, it would be
necessary to meet them there.
|THE BATTLE OF PLATAEA|
It was nearly a year since the Battle of Salamis, when, after many
delays, the two armies met at the field of Plataea
After an inauspicious beginning, the Greek
forces, led by the Spartans, rallied, and completely defeated their Persian foes. It is said that
of the nearly 250,000 Persians and allies who participated in the battle, only 3,000 escaped with
Pausanias followed up the brilliant victory at Plataea, with more victories at Cyprus and
Byzantium, where the Greeks retook territories that had fallen into the hands of the Persians.
Already, however, a great change was taking place in the bearing and disposition of Pausanias.
Although he had born himself well after the victory at Plataea, and had even warned of the folly of
greed and luxury after viewing the Persian camp, within only a few years he himself, had become very
wealthy and decadent in his indulgences. In his camp at Byzantium he surrounded himself with
luxuries and even dressed in the eastern style. There were rumors that he was corresponding with the
Great King, and plotting to make himself master of Greece. He was recalled to Sparta by the
authorities several times, and tried on charges of treason, but without definite proof it was not
possible to make the charges hold. Eventually however, positive proof of his treachery was found, in
the form of a letter sent to the Persian authorities. He fled to a temple for refuge, and there he
suffered an ignoble death by starvation. In spite of his treachery, the Spartans gave Pausanias an
honorable burial. Ever after he has stood as an example of the corrupting influence of wealth and
power, even on a Spartan hero.
Key events during the life of Pausanias:
||Made regent for young son of Leonidas on the death of his Father.
||Led combined Greek army to victory over Persia at Plataea.
||Led expedition to Cyprus and Byzantium.
||Returns Persian prisoners taken at Byzantium to Xerxes; opens correspondence with great king.
||Recalled to Sparta to face charges of treasonable negotiations. Acquitted.
||More charges are made, but without solid proof.
||Unmistakable proof of conspiracy with Xerxes is discovered. Pausanias takes refuge in temple and starves.
||Spartan King whose whole army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.
||Head of Spartan Fleet during the Persian War.
||Athenian hero of the Battle of Salamis. He masterminded Athenian naval supremacy.
||Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.
||Brother-in-law of Xerxes and commander-in-chief of Xerxes's Army.
||Persian commander, satrap of Asia Minor. Correspondent of Pausanias.