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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


who had been also invited, went to attend them, and now seeing more
clearly into the designs of the Chians, as soon as they returned to
Athens took measures to prevent the fleet putting out from Cenchreae
without their knowledge. After the festival the Peloponnesians set
sail with twenty-one ships for Chios, under the command of
Alcamenes. The Athenians first sailed against them with an equal
number, drawing off towards the open sea. The enemy, however,
turning back before he had followed them far, the Athenians returned
also, not trusting the seven Chian ships which formed part of their
number, and afterwards manned thirty-seven vessels in all and chased
him on his passage alongshore into Spiraeum, a desert Corinthian
port on the edge of the Epidaurian frontier. After losing one ship out
at sea, the Peloponnesians got the rest together and brought them to
anchor. The Athenians now attacked not only from the sea with their
fleet, but also disembarked upon the coast; and a melee ensued of
the most confused and violent kind, in which the Athenians disabled
most of the enemy's vessels and killed Alcamenes their commander,
losing also a few of their own men.
After this they separated, and the Athenians, detaching a sufficient
number of ships to blockade those of the enemy, anchored with the rest
at the islet adjacent, upon whkh they proceeded to encamp, and sent to
Athens for reinforcements; the Peloponnesians having been joined on
the day after the battle by the Corinthians, who came to help the
ships, and by the other inhabitants in the vicinity not long
afterwards. These saw the difficulty of keeping guard in a desert
place, and in their perplexity at first thought of burning the
ships, but finally resolved to haul them up on shore and sit down
and guard them with their land forces until a convenient opportunity
for escaping should present itself. Agis also, on being informed of
the disaster, sent them a Spartan of the name of Thermon. The
Lacedaemonians first received the news of the fleet having put out
from the Isthmus, Alcamenes having been ordered by the ephors to
send off a horseman when this took place, and immediately resolved
to dispatch their own five vessels under Chalcideus, and Alcibiades
with him. But while they were full of this resolution came the
second news of the fleet having taken refuge in Spiraeum; and
disheartened at their first step in the Ionian war proving a
failure, they laid aside the idea of sending the ships from their
own country, and even wished to recall some that had already sailed.
Perceiving this, Alcibiades again persuaded Endius and the other
ephors to persevere in the expedition, saying that the voyage would be
made before the Chians heard of the fleet's misfortune, and that as
soon as he set foot in Ionia, he should, by assuring them of the
weakness of the Athenians and the zeal of Lacedaemon, have no
difficulty in persuading the cities to revolt, as they would readily
believe his testimony. He also represented to Endius himself in
private that it would be glorious for him to be the means of making
Ionia revolt and the King become the ally of Lacedaemon, instead of
that honour being left to Agis (Agis, it must be remembered, was the
enemy of Alcibiades); and Endius and his colleagues thus persuaded, he
put to sea with the five ships and the Lacedaemonian Chalcideus, and
made all haste upon the voyage.
About this time the sixteen Peloponnesian ships from Sicily, which
had served through the war with Gylippus, were caught on their
return off Leucadia and roughly handled by the twenty-seven Athenian
vessels under Hippocles, son of Menippus, on the lookout for the ships
from Sicily. After losing one of their number, the rest escaped from
the Athenians and sailed into Corinth.
Meanwhile Chalcideus and Alcibiades seized all they met with on
their voyage, to prevent news of their coming, and let them go at
Corycus, the first point which they touched at in the continent.
Here they were visited by some of their Chian correspondents and,
being urged by them to sail up to the town without announcing their
coming, arrived suddenly before Chios. The many were amazed and

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