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Pausanias was a Spartan general of the 5th century BC. He was the nephew of Leonidas I and served as regent after his uncle's death. He was responsible for the Greek victory over Mardonius and the Persians at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, and was the leader of the Hellenic League created to resist Persian aggression during the Greco-Persian Wars.

After the Greek victories at Plataea and the Battle of Mycale, the Spartans lost interest in liberating the Greek cities of Asia Minor. However, when it became clear that Athens would dominate the Hellenic League in Sparta's absence, Sparta sent Pausanias back to command the League's military. In 478 BC, he drove the Persians out of Cyprus and Byzantium. However, he was very unpopular among the Greek allies due to his arrogance. In 478 he was suspected of conspiring with the Persians and was recalled to Sparta. He was acquitted but recharged in 476. He took refuge in a temple, which was then boarded up so he could not escape; he refused to come out, however, and starved to death. Cimon and the Athenians then became the leaders of the Hellenic League, which gave them the clout necessary to create the Delian League.

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