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At this juncture, as Herodotus relates,1 Pausanias sent word to Aristides, demanding that the Athenians change their position and array themselves on the right wing, over against the Persians, where they would contend better, he said, since they were versed already in the Persian style of fighting, and emboldened by a previous victory over them; the left wing, where the Medising Hellenes were going to attack, should be intrusted to himself and his Spartans. [2]

The rest of the Athenian generals thought it inconsiderate and annoying in Pausanias to leave the rest of his line in the position assigned, while, he moved them, and them only, back and forth like Helots, and put them forward where the fighting was to be hottest. But Aristides declared that they were utterly wrong; they had contended emulously with the Tegeans, but a little while back, for the occupation of the left wing and plumed themselves on being preferred before those rivals; [3] but now, when the Lacedaemonians of their own accord vacated the right wing for them, and after a fashion proffered them the leadership among the Hellenes, they neither welcomed the reputation thus to be won, nor counted it gain that their contention would thus be, not with men of the same tribes and kindreds, but rather with Barbarians and natural enemies. Upon this the Athenians very willingly exchanged posts with the Spartans, [4] and the word passed from lip to lip far through their ranks that their enemies would attack them with no better arms and with no braver spirits than at Marathon, nay, with the same kind of archery as then, and with the same variegated vesture and gold adornments to cover soft bodies and unmanly spirits; ‘while we have not only like arms and bodies with our brethren of that day, but that greater courage which is born of our victories; and our contest is not alone for land and city, as theirs was, but also for the trophies which they set up at Marathon and Salamis, in order that the world may think that not even those were due to Miltiades only, or to fortune, but to the Athenians.’ [5]

The Spartans and Athenians, then, were busily engaged in exchanging posts; but the Thebans heard of it from deserters and told Mardonius. He, at once, whether through fear of the Athenian or out of ambition to engage with the Lacedaemonians, counterchanged his Persians to the right wing, and ordered the Hellenes with him to set themselves against the Athenians. [6] When this change in his enemy's order of battle was manifest, Pausanias returned and occupied the right wing again, whereupon Mardonius also resumed his own left wing, just as he stood at the beginning, facing the Lacedaemonians. And thus the day came to an end without action. The Hellenes, on deliberation, decided to change their camp to a position farther on, and to secure a spot where there was plenty of good water, since the neighboring springs were defiled and ruined by the Barbarians' superior force of cavalry.

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