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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


few vessels with Cnemus, who was still high admiral, and the heavy
infantry on board; and sent round orders for the fleet to equip as
quickly as possible and sail to Leucas. The Corinthians were the
most forward in the business; the Ambraciots being a colony of theirs.
While the ships from Corinth, Sicyon, and the neighbourhood were
getting ready, and those from Leucas, Anactorium, and Ambracia,
which had arrived before, were walting for them at Leucas, Cnemus
and his thousand heavy infantry had run into the gulf, giving the slip
to Phormio, the commander of the Athenian squadron stationed off
Naupactus, and began at once to prepare for the land expedition. The
Hellenic troops with him consisted of the Ambraciots, Leucadians,
and Anactorians, and the thousand Peloponnesians with whom he came;
the barbarian of a thousand Chaonians, who, belonging to a nation that
has no king, were led by Photys and Nicanor, the two members of the
royal family to whom the chieftainship for that year had been
confided. With the Chaonians came also some Thesprotians, like them
without a king, some Molossians and Atintanians led by Sabylinthus,
the guardian of King Tharyps who was still a minor, and some
Paravaeans, under their king Oroedus, accompanied by a thousand
Orestians, subjects of King Antichus and placed by him under the
command of Oroedus. There were also a thousand Macedonians sent by
Perdiccas without the knowledge of the Athenians, but they arrived too
late. With this force Cnemus set out, without waiting for the fleet
from Corinth. Passing through the territory of Amphilochian Argos, and
sacking the open village of Limnaea, they advanced to Stratus the
Acarnanian capital; this once taken, the rest of the country, they
felt convinced, would speedily follow.
The Acarnanians, finding themselves invaded by a large army by land,
and from the sea threatened by a hostile fleet, made no combined
attempt at resistance, but remained to defend their homes, and sent
for help to Phormio, who replied that, when a fleet was on the point
of sailing from Corinth, it was impossible for him to leave
Naupactus unprotected. The Peloponnesians meanwhile and their allies
advanced upon Stratus in three divisions, with the intention of
encamping near it and attempting the wall by force if they failed to
succeed by negotiation. The order of march was as follows: the
centre was occupied by the Chaonians and the rest of the barbarians,
with the Leucadians and Anactorians and their followers on the
right, and Cnemus with the Peloponnesians and Ambraciots on the
left; each division being a long way off from, and sometimes even
out of sight of, the others. The Hellenes advanced in good order,
keeping a look-out till they encamped in a good position; but the
Chaonians, filled with self-confidence, and having the highest
character for courage among the tribes of that part of the
continent, without waiting to occupy their camp, rushed on with the
rest of the barbarians, in the idea that they should take the town
by assault and obtain the sole glory of the enterprise. While they
were coming on, the Stratians, becoming aware how things stood, and
thinking that the defeat of this division would considerably
dishearten the Hellenes behind it, occupied the environs of the town
with ambuscades, and as soon as they approached engaged them at
close quarters from the city and the ambuscades. A panic seizing the
Chaonians, great numbers of them were slain; and as soon as they
were seen to give way the rest of the barbarians turned and fled.
Owing to the distance by which their allies had preceded them, neither
of the Hellenic divisions knew anything of the battle, but fancied
they were hastening on to encamp. However, when the flying
barbarians broke in upon them, they opened their ranks to receive
them, brought their divisions together, and stopped quiet where they
were for the day; the Stratians not offering to engage them, as the
rest of the Acarnanians had not yet arrived, but contenting themselves
with slinging at them from a distance, which distressed them
greatly, as there was no stirring without their armour. The
Acarnanians would seem to excel in this mode of warfare.

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