The Road to Plataea
Athens refusal of Mardonius offer to join the Persian side had seen the Persian army march back into Attica and take control of Athens for a second time in a year. The Athenians had once again evacuated the city back across to Salamis, while the Peloponnesians remained behind the wall being constructed across the Isthmus.
Mardonious would repeat his offer to the Athenians, now back in control of their city. But once again the Athenians would refuse. The Peloponnesians had previously in the campaign agreed to march north to meet the Persians in battle. They were now dragging their feet, with talks between the various city states seeming to get nowhere.
Finally, Athens had had enough and used the Persian offer to try and force the Spartans to act. They would make it known that they were considering the offer since the Hellenic league would not unite and no other choice available to them. This appeared to see a change in tune from the Spartans, surprising everyone that their army was in fact already on the march north. Though, other hazy political considerations may well have been at play also.
The various city states that made up the Hellenic league were now beginning to also march north after hearing that the Spartans were on the march. The further the Spartans marched the more the numbers of the army swelled. Eventually the Athenian force sailed from Salamis and would join the Spartans. With the news of the Greeks marching north Mardonious pulled out of Athens and deployed his army in country more suited to cavalry. The Hellenic league now more united than even, emerged out of the Citheron Mountains near the small polis of Plataea, where across the plains and Asopus river was the Persian army.
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Map of the Second Persian Invasion
Plataea and the plains beyond, viewed from the Citheron Mountains.