THE DELIAN LEAGUE
 FOR at least forty years Sparta was the chief city in Greece,
and she was the head of the league which bound the cities of
Peloponnesus together. It was her brave king Leonidas who
had fallen gloriously at Thermopylae, it was her admirals
who had been the chief commanders at Salamis and at Mycale.
The decisive victory of Plataea had been won by the Spartan
But after the Persian war was ended, the power of Sparta
grew less and less, while that of Athens increased by leaps
and bounds, until it was she who held the first place among
the cities of Greece.
One reason for this was that Athens, owing to the foresight
of Themistocles, owned a well-equipped navy and could
therefore rule the islands of the Ægean which had been
wrested from the Persians.
Sparta had no navy, nor had she any great statesman to tell
her that she must become a great sea-power if she wished
still to hold the chief place among the cities of Greece.
Sparta was content to drill her soldiers as she had been
taught to do by Lycurgus, and she looked with contempt or
with suspicion on what was new or unusual. It was only
after Athens had far surpassed her in glory and in empire
that her ambition was at length aroused, and she determined
to win fame for herself by destroying her rival. Of
Sparta's efforts to conquer Greece you will read when I tell
you about the Peloponnesian wars.
After the battle of Plataea, Sparta soon lost the command
the allied fleet, through the folly and treachery of
The admiral was sent to drive the Persians from some of the
Greek cities in the east. His success at Plataea had made
him haughty and proud, and he treated his officers with
contempt. He flogged his men for small offences or made
them stand with an anchor on their shoulders. If food or
water were scarce, he forbade them to help themselves until
his own Spartan troops had been fed.
Aristides and another admiral named Cimon, who treated their
officers with courtesy and their men with kindness, went to
Pausanias to beg him to behave more justly. But the Spartan
would not listen to the remonstrances of the Athenians.
have no time to hear complaints," was his sorry excuse.
When Pausanias succeeded in taking Byzantium, which we now
know as Constantinople, his pride and ambition increased, and he
determined to play into the hands of the Persian king.
So he sent for some of the prisoners, and, setting them
free, he bade them carry letters to Xerxes their king. In
these letters he offered, as only a traitor could do, to
subdue Sparta and the other states of Greece, and to hold
them for the Persian monarch. He asked Xerxes to grant him
money to carry on the war, and as a reward for his services
he requested the hand of his daughter. Pausanias hoped in
this way to gain his great ambition and become tyrant of all
Xerxes was pleased with the Spartan's letter, nor did he
stay to wonder if so disloyal a citizen would be a faithful
ally. He sent a letter to bid the traitor "work on night
and day to accomplish his purpose, without letting himself
be held back by lack of gold or silver, or want of troops,
for all should be at his command."
When Pausanias held the king's letter in his hand, and saw
the king's money at his disposal, he began to behave as
 though he was already the son-in-law of the great king. He
clad himself as a Persian prince, he journeyed from place to
place in royal state, attended by Persian guards. The
Spartan simplicity in which he had been trained was
forgotten, and he lived in as great luxury as did his new
Rumours of the strange way in which Pausanias was behaving
soon reached Sparta. When it was found that the rumours
were true, Pausanias was ordered to come home, and another
commander, named Dorcis, was sent to take his place.
But before Dorcis reached Byzantium, the fleet had refused
to obey Pausanias and had placed itself under Aristides, the
admiral of the Athenian ships.
A league, called the Delian League, was then formed, to
enable Greece to carry on the war against Persia. It was
named the Delian League because its treasures were kept in
the temple of Apollo, on the sacred island of Delos.
Athens became the head of the league, Aristides its leader,
and so greatly was he trusted that he was asked to arrange
the sum of money or the number of ships which each city
belonging to the league should provide.
Most of the Greek cities in the Ægean islands joined the
Delian League, as well as those on the north and east coasts
of the Ægean Sea. Those who joined took solemn oaths to be
true to the demands of the league, and their oaths were
ratified by sinking masses of iron in the sea. Not until
these reappeared might the people be set free from the vows
which they had taken.
Pausanias had now returned to Sparta, where he was thrown
into prison. But though there was abundant proof of his
foolish conduct there was none of his treachery, and he was
soon set free.
The traitor continued to send letters to Xerxes by his
slaves, and those who carried them never returned, for
Pausanias feared lest they should betray him.
One of his slaves noticed that those who carried letters to
the great king never came back. He made up his mind
when his turn came to go to Xerxes, he would find out what
was in the letter he carried before he delivered it.
So when one day he was bidden to hasten with a letter to the
Persian king, he no sooner left the presence of his master
than he broke the seal, opened the letter, and found among
other things an order for his death. This was what he
expected, and he at once carried the letter to the ephors.
It contained proof of the traitor's guilt.
But, so it is told, the ephors wished to hear that Pausanias
was guilty from his own lips, so they laid a trap for him.
The slave was sent to take refuge in a hut that stood in a
sacred grove. Pausanias soon heard of the strange conduct
of his slave, and, as the ephors had foreseen, he at once
hastened to the hut to demand why his servant had not sped
on his master's errand.
Two of the ephors were hidden behind the hut and could hear
all that Pausanias said to his slave.
In his anger the admiral forgot to be prudent, and exclaimed
that he meant to subdue Greece and deliver her into the
hands of Xerxes. The ephors had heard what they wished.
They hastened home and at once ordered that the traitor
should be seized.
But either Pausanias was warned or he was filled with sudden
foreboding, for he fled to the temple of Athene for
sanctuary. It was forbidden to drag a fugitive out of the
temple, so the ephors ordered that the door should be built
up, that he might starve to death.
His mother, in bitter anger because her son had wished to
betray his country, herself placed the first stone at the
door of the temple.
When hunger had all but done its work, Pausanias was carried
out of the sacred place to breathe his last, lest the temple
should be polluted by the death of a traitor.