The First Clash
The Hellenic league had now arrived in the foothills of the Citheron Mountains, with still more contingents continually arriving throughout the hours and days to come. Pausanias, hastily deployed what forces were currently available down in the foothills where they would be protected to some degree. His mind was focused on forming a strong defensive line, as this had been the advice revealed by the omens.
The Persians had seen an opportunity for a cavalry action with it seeming part of the Greek line was exposed. The first action in the lead up to the battle now took place with the Persian cavalry harassing part of the Greek line. The Athenians would advance to support this part of the line and in the process, they would kill the Persian commander and repulse the cavalry.
This victory over the Persian cavalry would see the Greeks confidence grow and Pausanias now deployed the line further forward. This, though would open up more opportunities for Mardonius to exploit. Over the coming days without a general battle developing, the Greeks would lose their only feasible supply of fresh waster and to make matters worse their supply lines had been disrupted by the Persian Cavalry.
With the Greek army now in a precarious position, Pausanias ordered for the line to retreat back to more defensible terrain. Here they would also gain access to fresh water and they would be able to secure their supply lines coming out of the Citheron Mountains. Though, when the retreat began at night things did not go as planned and would put the Greek line in a very vulnerable position as the sun rose.
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Map of the Second Persian Invasion
Plataea and the plains beyond, viewed from the Citheron Mountains.
Initial Greek deployments before the battle