When he was sent out as general along with Cimon to prosecute the war,1
and saw that Pausanias and the other Spartan commanders were offensive and severe to the allies, he made his own intercourse with them gentle and humane, and induced Cimon to be on easy terms with them and to take an actual part in their campaigns, so that before the Lacedaemonians were aware, not by means of hoplites or ships or horsemen, but by tact and diplomacy he had stripped them of the leadership.
For, well disposed as the Hellenes were toward the Athenians on account of the justice of Aristides and the reasonableness of Cimon, they were made to long for their supremacy still more by the rapacity of Pausanias and his severity. The commanders of the allies ever met with angry harshness at the hands of Pausanias, and the common men he punished with stripes, or by compelling them to stand all day long with an iron anchor on their shoulders.
No one could get bedding or fodder or go down to a spring for water before the Spartans, nay, their servants armed with goads would dive away such as approached. On these grounds Aristides once had it in mind to chide and admonish him, but Pausanias scowled, said he was busy, and would not listen.
Subsequently the captains and generals of the Hellenes, and especially the Chians, Samians, and Lesbians, came to Aristides and tried to persuade him to assume the leadership and bring over to his support the allies, who had long wanted to be rid of the Spartans and to range themselves anew on the side of the Athenians. He replied that he saw the urgency and the justice of what they proposed, but that to establish Athenian confidence in them some overt act was needed, the doing of which would make it impossible for the multitude to change their allegiance back again.
So Uliades the Samian and Antagoras the Chian conspired together, and ran down the trireme of Pausanias off Byzantium, closing in on both sides of it as it was putting out before the line. When Pausanias saw what they had done, he sprang up and wrathfully threatened to show the world in a little while that these men had run down not so much his ship as their own native cities; but they bade him be gone, and be grateful to that fortune which fought in his favour at Plataea; it was because the Hellenes still stood in awe of this, they said, that they did not punish him as he deserved. And finally they went off and joined the Athenians.
Then indeed was the lofty wisdom of the Spartans made manifest in a wonderful way. When they saw that their commanders were corrupted by the great powers entrusted to them, they voluntarily abandoned the leadership and ceased sending out generals for the war, choosing rather to have their citizens discreet and true to their ancestral customs than to have the sway over all Hellas.