After his defeat, Xerxes went home to Susa (careful not to slink away with his tail between his legs, mind you) and “devoted himself to the intrigues of the harem.” That’s Herodotus’s take on things, and I love how well that works with the events told of in Esther. Fits, doesn’t it?
But when Xerxes left Europe, he left a force behind him. Mardonius, who was the one who convinced him to go to war in the first place, knew he’d be hated at home if he dared return with the king. He kept the elite fighting force of the Immortals with him and stuck it out another year.
Didn’t go so well.
By the next winter, Mardonius was slinking home with an army slashed in numbers and dying of disease and starvation. I use this as a catalyst for the assassination plot that Mordecai uncovers.
And so, the Greeks, victorious, wrote the history. Which few of us ever read. =) (Though really, it’s incredibly interesting. Long, but worth it. It starts with the Ring of Gyges, which turns its wearers invisible, and goes through all this interesting stuff I used. And wait, there’s more! LOL. I won’t get into it here.)
(Picture of a Greek trireme)