Battle of Plataea

This was to be the final land battle in the 2nd Persian Invasion of Greece. It would take place in 479BC, near the city of Plataea in Boeotia.

The Persians, led by King Xerxes had gained much advantage the previous year with victories at Thermopylae and Artemisium. This was however to change following the decisive Greek victory at Salamis.

Xerxes returned to Asia Minor and left his military commander Mardonius, to hopefully finish off the Greeks.

The Persian army totalled over 350,000 even being supported by some Greek city-states including Thebes. The Greek army was again outnumbered with only 108,000 men.

The Persian army created a fortified camp near the Asopus river in Boeotia. The Greek army decided to camp on higher ground above the Persians.

Neither side was willing to attack, although Mardonius tried to lure the Greeks further down the plain. Both sides stayed in their camps for 8 days. A stalemate was in force.

For 2 more days Mardonius continued to infiltrate the supply lines of food and water to the Greek army.

On the 11th day, under the cover of darkness the Greek army retreated, but this retreat caused chaos and they ended up scattered out of formation.

As dawn approached the Persians discovered this retreat and decided to attack. Mardonius set off in pursuit with his elite infantry. The rest of the Persian army followed suit, even though they had not been ordered to do so.

A long battle ensued. The Persian army with there inferior weapons were no match for the Greek army. They fired masses of arrows at the Greeks, but the light arrows could not penetrate the bronze shields and their wicker shields were no match for the spear and swords of the hoplites. The Greek army had gained the advantage.

During the battle, a Spartan soldier Arimnestus spotted Mardonius on his white horse. He picked up a rock and threw it at him and it hit Mardonius squarely on the head and killed him.

The Persian army were now without their leader and they started to retreat back to camp. They were pursued by the Greek army and slaughtered.

What little was left of the Persian army, under the command of Artabazus, retreated back to Asia Minor, although many were to die of hunger, fatigue and further attacks.

The Greek army were victorious in battle and the 2nd Persian Invasion of Greece was over.

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