The Greek army met the Persian army at Plataea, north of Athens, in August 479 BCE. The Persian army, under military commander Mardonius, fortified the river and waited for their enemy’s advance. The Greek army, a mixture of civilians, Athenians, Spartans and Peloponnesians, swelled as it advanced towards Plataea and was a match for the Persian army of approximately 100,000 men, which included 10,000 Greek defectors. Mardonius’ forces attacked the Peloponnesian and Spartans with cavalry, while harrying the Athenian camp. The Spartans, under General Pausanias, killed the cavalry commander, initiating a temporary Persian cavalry retreat. The Persians disrupted the Greek supply lines and after eleven days of stalemate, the thirsty and hungry Greeks began a retreat. Mardonius ordered his forces to pursue them. The Greeks, led by the Spartans, turned around and engaged in hand-to hand-combat. Mardonius was slaughtered, as was much of the Persian army, who were forced to retreat.
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