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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book II   


As soon as night fell, Cnemus hastily drew off his army to the river
Anapus, about nine miles from Stratus, recovering his dead next day
under truce, and being there joined by the friendly Oeniadae, fell
back upon their city before the enemy's reinforcements came up. From
hence each returned home; and the Stratians set up a trophy for the
battle with the barbarians.
Meanwhile the fleet from Corinth and the rest of the confederates in
the Crissaean Gulf, which was to have co-operated with Cnemus and
prevented the coast Acarnanians from joining their countrymen in the
interior, was disabled from doing so by being compelled about the same
time as the battle at Stratus to fight with Phormio and the twenty
Athenian vessels stationed at Naupactus. For they were watched, as
they coasted along out of the gulf, by Phormio, who wished to attack
in the open sea. But the Corinthians and allies had started for
Acarnania without any idea of fighting at sea, and with vessels more
like transports for carrying soldiers; besides which, they never
dreamed of the twenty Athenian ships venturing to engage their
forty-seven. However, while they were coasting along their own
shore, there were the Athenians sailing along in line with them; and
when they tried to cross over from Patrae in Achaea to the mainland on
the other side, on their way to Acarnania, they saw them again
coming out from Chalcis and the river Evenus to meet them. They
slipped from their moorings in the night, but were observed, and
were at length compelled to fight in mid passage. Each state that
contributed to the armament had its own general; the Corinthian
commanders were Machaon, Isocrates, and Agatharchidas. The
Peloponnesians ranged their vessels in as large a circle as possible
without leaving an opening, with the prows outside and the sterns
in; and placed within all the small craft in company, and their five
best sailers to issue out at a moment's notice and strengthen any
point threatened by the enemy.
The Athenians, formed in line, sailed round and round them, and
forced them to contract their circle, by continually brushing past and
making as though they would attack at once, having been previously
cautioned by Phormio not to do so till he gave the signal. His hope
was that the Peloponnesians would not retain their order like a
force on shore, but that the ships would fall foul of one another
and the small craft cause confusion; and if the wind should blow
from the gulf (in expectation of which he kept sailing round them, and
which usually rose towards morning), they would not, he felt sure,
remain steady an instant. He also thought that it rested with him to
attack when he pleased, as his ships were better sailers, and that
an attack timed by the coming of the wind would tell best. When the
wind came down, the enemy's ships were now in a narrow space, and what
with the wind and the small craft dashing against them, at once fell
into confusion: ship fell foul of ship, while the crews were pushing
them off with poles, and by their shouting, swearing, and struggling
with one another, made captains' orders and boatswains' cries alike
inaudible, and through being unable for want of practice to clear
their oars in the rough water, prevented the vessels from obeying
their helmsmen properly. At this moment Phormio gave the signal, and
the Athenians attacked. Sinking first one of the admirals, they then
disabled all they came across, so that no one thought of resistance
for the confusion, but fled for Patrae and Dyme in Achaea. The
Athenians gave chase and captured twelve ships, and taking most of the
men out of them sailed to Molycrium, and after setting up a trophy
on the promontory of Rhium and dedicating a ship to Poseidon, returned
to Naupactus. As for the Peloponnesians, they at once sailed with
their remaining ships along the coast from Dyme and Patrae to Cyllene,
the Eleian arsenal; where Cnemus, and the ships from Leucas that
were to have joined them, also arrived after the battle at Stratus.
The Lacedaemonians now sent to the fleet to Cnemus three
commissioners- Timocrates, Bradidas, and Lycophron- with orders to
prepare to engage again with better fortune, and not to be driven from

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