168 Route 7. PLATiEA. From Livadia
town (p. 169). Amompharetos, the Spartan second-in-command, with the
lochos or band of Pitana, protected the rear, while the rest of the Spar¬
tans marched towards the Kithaeron, halting 10 stadia (l'/i M.) farther on
at the Moloeis, in a district named Argiopion, where the temple of the
Eleusinian Demeter was situated (near the church of Hagios Dimitrios,
about IV4 M. to the N. of the village of Kriekouki, p. 170). Here they
were rejoined by Amompharetos, and were at once attacked by Mardonios,
who had realized that the Greek army was now split into three divisions.
The Spartans and Tegeans, unsupported, advanced to meet the on¬
slaught of the Persian cavalry and the attendant infantry, and a fierce
battle was fought at the Eleusinion. Mardonios was slain by Arimnestos,
and the Persians withdrew, after heavy loss, into their intrenchments on
the banks of the Asopos. The Athenians meanwhile had defeated the
Boeotian auxiliaries of the-Persians after a fierce struggle. The remaining
Greeks, encamped beside the Heraeon, had hitherto taken no part in the
battle; but on receiving the news of victory, they also advanced, the right
centre, which was composed chiefly of Corinthians, crossing the heights
towards the temple of Demeter, while the Megarians and Phliasians of
the left centre took the easier route through the plain. This last division
was however routed, with heavy loss, by the Theban cavalry. In the
meantime the Lacedaemonians and Athenians had stormed the strong Per¬
sian camp on the Asopos, securing an incredible amount of booty.
The meed of valour was, on the proposal ofAristides, awarded to the
Plataeans, on whose territory and under the eyes of whose gods and heroes
the battle had been fought. The memory of the battle was kept green
by the solemn festival of the Eleutheria, which until a late period was
celebrated every four years under the direction of Plataea. The confederate
Greeks also guaranteed the autonomy of Plataea, undertook to protect it
against all unjust attacks, and voted a grant of 80 talents to the citizens.
The town now awoke to a new life, and was regarded as inviolable
until the Peloponnesian War once more stirred up all passions. The
slaughter of 300 Thebans, who had attempted to surprise Plataea (B.C. 431),
brought an army of Thebans and Peloponnesians before its walls. After
an exhausting siege, which brought the citizens to the end of their re¬
sources, they attempted a sortie. A few of the brave Plataeans cut their
way through the besiegers and effected their escape to Athens, but the
rest were put to the ffword at the instigation of the revengeful Thebans.
The city itself was laid in ruins. The Athenians sent the fugitives to the
little Thracian town of Skione, where they were allowed to remain only
until the end of the war. From that date until the peace of Antalkidas
(B.C. 387), which restored independence to all the cities of Greece, the
Plataeans lived in Athens. The restoration of their city was of short
duration; for in B.C. 373 it was once more destroyed by the Thebans.
Athens again afforded shelter to the inhabitants, who did not return to
their native town until after the battle of Chaeronea (p. 194). Its complete
rebuilding, however, does not appear to have taken place until the last
years of Alexander the Great (B.C. 324). But Plataea played no farther
part in history, and in the Roman period was only redeemed from utter
insignificance by the memory of its past.
The Ruins of the Town are situated on a flat, rocky, triangular
plateau, the S. apex of which is in almost direct contact with
Kithaeron. The N. side is the steepest, but its slope is by no means
sheer; the E. and W. sides are both more gradual and are skirted
by water-courses, now generally dry, which flowed into the Oeroe.
The ancient town was dependent on its springs, of which that to
the W., on the way from Kokla to the ruins, is still used by the
villagers. Near it lie a few large ancient sarcophagi of very simple
construction. Among the springs to the E. of the town the one
called Vergoutiani is now considered the best.