Delian League

The Spartan Pausanias led a contingent back towards Ionia with the intentions of trying to win over some of the cities back for Sparta. However, not all went well, his heavy handedness and almost pirate like approach didn't go too well with the newly free Ionian cities. While they had just broken the shackles from Persian they were not interested in joining in with the thuggery that Sparta was imposing.

Building the wallsSeduced by power and Persian ways, Pausanians' dictatorial manner forced the cities to ask Sparta directly, to stop him and they went on to ask Athens for assistance in taking control of the coast. Pausanias was recalled to Sparta to stand trial while the diplomacy and fairness of the Athenian leader Aristeides the Just won the Ionians over to the Athenian side. In Sparta, Pausanias was found not guilty of any of the major crimes against him, but he wasn't given orders to return to the area, another group of Spartans were issued those orders but upon their arrival found out that the cities of the coast were not inclined to conceded to them the supremacy. Sparta gave up any further idea for those cities, they were happy to finally be over the Persian wars, and were satisfied of the competency of the Athenians for the position, and of their friendship at the time towards them.


The Seige of Cyprus

Pausanias had bought with him twenty ships and the Athenians joied his force with thirty more, add to that a number more from the other allies, and all together he alliance had a formidable force.

The fleet first went to Cyprus and won over most of the island, with little help coming from the mainland the Greeks faced little resistance.

The Seige of Byzantium

The fleet dispersed from Cyprus and headed towards Byzantium which was still under Persian occupation. The fleet still under the command of Pausanias had already started to unraval. His arrogance had started to become unpopular, particularly so with the Ionians and those who had just recently been liberated from Persian domination.

Byzantium was captured and with it some of the friends and relations of the Persian King had been taken prisoner. Pausanias organised to have these prisoners sent back to the King, while hiding his actions to the rest of his allies making out that they had escaped. When they finalled reached the King they gave him a letter from Pausanias which read as follow:

'Pausanias, the coomander-in-chief of Sparta, wishing to do you a favour, sends you these men whom he has taken prisoner in war. And I propose also, if you agree, to marry your daughter and to bring both Sparta and the rest of Hellas under your control. I consider that, if we make our plans together, I am quite able to achieve this. If therefore you are attracted to this idea, send down to the coast a reliable person through whom we may in future communicate with each other.'

Xerxes was pleased with the letter, finally a way to bring the Hellenes under his control almost to be delivered to him on a platter. He sent down to the coast Artabazua with order to take over the satrapy of the area and to support Pausanias in any way possible.

Artabazus on his arrival carried out his orders and sent a letter across to Byzantium. The Kings's reply was as follows:

'These are the words of King Xerxes to Pausanias. your act in saving the men whom you have sent to me across the sea from Byzantium will be laid up for you in gratitude, recorded for ever in our house. With the words also which you sent to me I am pleased. Let neither night nor day keep you idle in the performance of your promises to me, nor let them be hindered for want of gold or silver to spend, nor for numbers of troops, should they be needed anywhere. I have sent you a good man in Artabazus. With him go forward confidently and advance your interests and mind in theway that will be best and most successful for us both.'

Pausanias with his great reputation of generalship at Plataea and now receiving the letter from the King thought even more of himself and could no longer bear to live in the ordinary way. Instead he used to go out of Byzantium dressed in the Persian style of clothing and escorted on his joruneys with a bodyguard of Persians and Egyptians, and held banquets in the Persian manner. He behaved towards everyone alike in such a high-handed way that no one was able to come near him. This was one of the reasons why the allied forces turned towards the Athenians for leadership.

The allies did manage to finally overcome Byzantium, but too much damage had been done.The Ionians had approached the Athenians to take over control of the allied forces. The actions of Pausanias was heard in Sparta and he was recalled.


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'The history of the Peloponnesian Wars' by Thucydidies (written c431 B.C),translated by Richard Crawley 1910.


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