UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
were tossed into dust and oblivion. The dreams of him who three times
daily at his own command was reminded to remember the Athenians, and the
proud visions of his son, cherished from the palace of Susa to the
Hellespont, and from the Hellespont to Thessaly, had been so completely
dissipated that no ambitious imagination of Oriental king or general ever
did again evoke them from the shadows.
CHAPTER XLV- THE ATHENIAN ASCENDENCY.
No general of the Greeks ever showed himself less able than Pausanias to
bear success with equanimity. After the battle of Plataea, he began at
once to display his vanity, his insolence, his disloyalty. He hired
Simonides, the poet, to attribute the victory solely to himself; and a
like piece of vainglory was manifested in an inscription which he caused
to be placed on a tripod at the shrine of Delphi. Still he remained in
command of the Spartan army, and conducted a successful campaign against
Byzantium. At the capture of this place, several members of the royal
household fell into his power. This fact furnished him with an
opportunity to open negotiations with the Persian court, involving his
own perfidy and treason. He sent privately to Xerxes the members of his
family, and at the same time gave it out to his own countrymen that his
high born Persian captives had escaped. Along with this princely present
to the Great King, he sent to him a letter to the following effect:
"Pausanias, the Spartan commander, wishing to oblige thee, sends back
these prisoners of war. I am minded, if it please thee, to marry thy
daughter and to bring Sparta and the rest of Greece under thy dominion.
This I hold myself able to do with the help of thy counsels. If,
therefore, the project at all pleases thee, send down some trustworthy
man to the coast through whom we may carry on our future correspondence."
This letter, being so full of perfidy, was of precisely the kind to
delight a Persian monarch-particularly Xerxes. He immediately responded
in a manner highly flattering to Pausanias. The princess was promised to
him in marriage; lavish supplies of money were sent forward, and he was
urged to prosecute his plans as rapidly as possible, with the assurance
that the king of Persia would not be slow in supplying all his needs. It
was in the nature of Pausanias to discount his prospects. He began to
realize on the possible by assuming the dress and manners of a Persian
prince. His command of the fleet was in that style of elaborate flummery
peculiar to eastern officers. This thing was from the first exceedingly
distasteful to the captains and seamen of the allied fleet. The news
reached Sparta, and that sedate commonwealth, shocked at the shameless
disloyalty of her officer, immediately dispatched Dorcis to supersede
him. But before the arrival of the latter, the captains of the fleet,
disgusted with the conduct of Pausanias, had themselves transferred the
command from him to the Athenians.
Such, however, was the strict subordination of the Spartans to authority
that the larger part of their squadron accompanied the disgraced
Pausanias on his return home. This left Dorcis with so few ships at his
disposal that he could not resist the transfer of the command to the
fleet of Athens, which ever since the battle of Salamis had given to that
city a preponderating reputation and influence in the affairs of Greece.
This circumstance became the central fact in the Athenian Supremacy. The
Ionian cities of Asia Minor and most of the adjacent islands, inhabited
as they were by people of the same race with the Athenians, were well
pleased with this increase of power on the part of their kinsmen