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When the estrangement which had arisen between the Athenians and the other Greeks became noised abroad, there came to Athens ambassadors from the Persians and from the Greeks. Now those who had been dispatched by the Persians bore word that Mardonius the general assured the Athenians that, if they should choose the cause of the Persians, he would give them their choice of any land in Greece, rebuild their walls and temples, and allow the city to live under its own laws; but those who had been sent from the Lacedaemonians begged the Athenians not to yield to the persuasions of the barbarians but to maintain their loyalty toward the Greeks, who were men of their own blood and of the same speech. [2] And the Athenians replied to the barbarians that the Persians possessed no land rich enough nor gold in sufficient abundance which the Athenians would accept in return for abandoning the Greeks; while to the Lacedaemonians they said that as for themselves the concern which they had formerly held for the welfare of Greece they would endeavour to maintain hereafter also, and of the Lacedaemonians they only asked that they should come with all speed to Attica together with all their allies. For it was evident, they added, that Mardonius, now that the Athenians had declared against him, would advance with his army against Athens. And this is what actually took place. [3] For Mardonius, who was stationed in Boeotia with all his forces, at first attempted to cause certain cities in the Peloponnesus to come over to him, distributing money among their leading men, but afterwards, when he learned of the reply the Athenians had given, in his rage he led his entire force into Attica. [4] Apart from the army Xerxes had given him he had himself gathered many other soldiers from Thrace and Macedonia and the other allied states, more than two hundred thousand men. [5] With the advance into Attica of so large a force as this, the Athenians dispatched couriers bearing letters to the Lacedaemonians, asking their aid; and since the Lacedaemonians still loitered and the barbarians had already crossed the border of Attica, they were dismayed, and again, taking their children and wives and whatever else they were able to carry off in their haste, they left their native land and a second time fled for refuge to Salamis. [6] And Mardonius was so angry with them that he ravaged the entire countryside, razed the city to the ground, and utterly destroyed the temples that were still standing.

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