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Who won in the Battle of Plataea?

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The Battle of Plataea occurred after the expedition of Xerxes I, king of Achaemenid Empire.

  • Remaining forces of the Persian army
  • Greek polis (city-states) that joined the Persian side

The Greek allied forces repulsed those defeated at the Battle of Salamis.

In this battle, the Spartans alone, one of the Greek allied forces, killed most of the Persian soldiers.

In this article,

How did the Spartan-Athenian army defeat the overwhelmingly strong Persian army in the Battle of Plataea?

I have summarized in detail about the battle of Plataea!

Background of the Battle of Plataea

The Persian army suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Salamis.

However, they still had the strength to continue the war.

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What is the Battle of Salamis?

Please read this article first if you are wondering so.

Although such was the Persian army,

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I didn't think we would lose like this... So see you later, Mardonios!

Xerxes I entrusted Mardonios, the son-in-law of Darius the Great, with the command of the Persian army.

Then, Xerxes I himself returned to his country.

The following year, Mardonios began his conquest of Greece.

Especially since he attacked the area around Athens,

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Help me...! The Persian army attacked. If this happens, let's join forces in Greece and fight Persia!

Athens called on all of Greece to do so.

General Pausanias' determination

Of course, Sparta also received this request from Athens.

However, Pausanias, the Spartan general at that time, was very worried about whether to send reinforcements to Athens or not.

Because many slaves in Sparta were showing their displeasure after the Persian War.

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Maybe if we let the Spartans go on an expedition or something, there might be a revolt by the slaves...

Pausanias feared so.

Pausanias avoided making a decision by himself, and ultimately left the decision to the gods.

The gods told him this.

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Avenge Leonidas.

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Who is Leonidas?

If you are wondering so, please read this article first.

The Legend of King Leonidas!

Simply put, the Spartan army was defeated by the Persian army.

But it was this King Leonidas of Sparta who fought as a hero until the end.

When Pausanias heard of this,

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All right, let's send reinforcements to Athens!

Finally, he made up his mind like this.

The Persian general Mardonios through the Macedonian king Alexander I,

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We don't want to do this either. What do you think, why don't we stop fighting?

He offered to negotiate peace with the displaced Athenians.

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No, no, no! Impossible!

Athenians refused so.

Prelude to the Battle of Plataea

The Greek allied forces had a strength of 110,000 men, while the Persian army had 350,000 men.

This is how much difference in troop strength there was between the two armies.

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All right, I'll send a cavalry unit. Then we can lure them out to the plain. Then the battle is ours!

Thus, Mardonios led the commanders under his command, and the cavalry forces assaulted and inflicted damage on the Greek army.

In response, the Athenian elite troops first take out this commander.

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Oh no, our commander is down! Recover his body at all costs!

The Persian army repeatedly attacked the Greeks, but was unable to accomplish this due to Greek reinforcements.

And finally, as the Persians retreated to the camp of Mardonios,

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Did you see that! Our power has scared them off! Now let's go to Plataea for a decisive battle!!!

And so, the Greeks headed for Plataea.

Victory by Spartans alone?

On the eleventh day, after ten days of warfare,

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Attack the spring, the source of water for Greece. Without water, they'd be forced to retreat.

Mardonios ordered his cavalry to attack.

The Greeks, threatened by the water supply, had no choice but to retreat in the middle of the night.

However, the Spartans were different.

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Retreating in the night is the same as fleeing. It is dishonorable!

They refuse to withdraw in this way.

Such a fighting attitude of the Spartan army was created from the "Spartan education," which is still often used today.

If you want to know more about such Spartan education,

Was the "Spartan Education" produced by Sparta really effective?

Please read this article.

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Are you okay with Sparta...? We are a little worried.

Although the Athenian and Megara armies were still camped in Plataea,

  • Sparta
  • Tegea
  • Athens
  • Megara

That much polis (city-state) became final on the battlefield.

It was not until after sunrise that Sparta began to retreat.

When Mardonios saw this,

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Huahaha! At last the enemy is afraid of us!

Under this illusion, he ordered his entire army to pursue.

This is how the battle of Plataea began.

Pausanias' first divination

The Persian army attacked the Spartans en masse.

However, Mardonios' order to pursue was hasty, so the Persian army's battle line was disorganized and the attack was not organized.

The Spartan general Pausanias, who confirmed that the entire Persian army was concentrating on the Spartan army, said

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Atenai, help me...!

He sent out a request for support and himself went to divine where this battle was going.

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Oh no, it's going to be bad...!

Thus, he followed his divination and forbade the Spartan army to respond to the Persian army.

At this time, the Spartans were doing their best to prevent the Persian attack, but thanks to the disorganized battle lines of the Persian army, casualties were limited to a few.

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OK, Sparta! We are going to help you!

Athens tried to go to the aid of Sparta, but the Greeks, the hired soldiers who had betrayed them, came charging into the Athenian army.

This assault forced the Athenians to engage the Greek mercenaries (hired soldiers),

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Oh, wait, are you serious...? Sorry, Sparta. We can't go help you!

Thus, the Athenian army could no longer support the Spartans.

Pausanias' second Divination

Pausanias' second divination yielded following result.

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Yay, I finally got a good fortune...!

And at that moment, he gave the order to attack the entire Spartan army.

Hearing this, the Spartan army instantly formed up,

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OHHHHHHHH!

They cried out.

The Spartan army, which had been unresisting until now, suddenly woke up.

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What, what, what, what?

The Persian army became confused and ran away.

From here, the onslaught of the Spartans began.

The Persian army, inferior in equipment and training, could not stand up to the Spartans.

Death of Persian General Mardonios

The Persian army, which outnumbered the Spartan army, poured into Sparta without a break in an attempt to crush it.

The Persians seized and snapped Sparta's long spears,

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We have to somehow bring it to the flow of our victory...!

In this way they tried to steal the momentum from Sparta.

But the Spartans, even if their spears were broken,

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We have the dagger...!

And pulled out their daggers to face the Persian army.

The battle raged for a long time, but the Spartans pushed the Persians back finally.

In the midst of the battle, Mardonios was killed by a pebble thrown by the Spartans.

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Oh, Lord Mardonios is dead? Then what are we going to do...?

The Persian army, which had lost its commander, became more and more outnumbered, and finally lost the battle and fled.

Between Spartans and Athenians

The fleeing Persian army took refuge in a camp in the open and barricaded themselves in the castle that was there.

This lodging had a fortified wall.

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We are not good at this kind of thing...

The Spartans, who were not good at this kind of enclosure fighting, struggled.

Finally, the Athenian army joined them.

And the Athenian army, with a spirit of fortitude, climbed over the walls and rushed into the city.

This led to the Spartan army also rushing in, and they succeeded in capturing the lodging place of the Persian army as well.

In the battle of Plataea, the Spartan-Athenian army was overwhelmingly victorious.

The respective casualties in the battle can be summarized as follows:

  • Persian army: over 200,000
  • Spartan army: 91
  • Athenian army: 52

The difference in casualties was overwhelming.

*Some say that the Greeks lost about 1,000 men.

The Spartans were thus able to avenge Leonidas.

If you want to know more about the "Greco-Persian Wars" including such battle of Plataea in summary,

Please read this article as well.

There is much more to the history of Mesopotamian civilization.

To learn more about the history of Mesopotamian civilization,

What is the Mesopotamian Civilization?

Please also read this article.