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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


hostages or by some other means, put an end to the conspiracy.
While the Chians were thus engaged, a thousand Athenian heavy
infantry and fifteen hundred Argives (five hundred of whom were
light troops furnished with armour by the Athenians), and one thousand
of the allies, towards the close of the same summer sailed from Athens
in forty-eight ships, some of which were transports, under the command
of Phrynichus, Onomacles, and Scironides, and putting into Samos
crossed over and encamped at Miletus. Upon this the Milesians came out
to the number of eight hundred heavy infantry, with the Peloponnesians
who had come with Chalcideus, and some foreign mercenaries of
Tissaphernes, Tissaphernes himself and his cavalry, and engaged the
Athenians and their allies. While the Argives rushed forward on
their own wing with the careless disdain of men advancing against
Ionians who would never stand their charge, and were defeated by the
Milesians with a loss little short of three hundred men, the Athenians
first defeated the Peloponnesians, and driving before them the
barbarians and the ruck of the army, without engaging the Milesians,
who after the rout of the Argives retreated into the town upon
seeing their comrades worsted, crowned their victory by grounding
their arms under the very walls of Miletus. Thus, in this battle,
the Ionians on both sides overcame the Dorians, the Athenians
defeating the Peloponnesians opposed to them, and the Milesians the
Argives. After setting up a trophy, the Athenians prepared to draw a
wall round the place, which stood upon an isthmus; thinking that, if
they could gain Miletus, the other towns also would easily come over
to them.
Meanwhile about dusk tidings reached them that the fifty-five
ships from Peloponnese and Sicily might be instantly expected. Of
these the Siceliots, urged principally by the Syracusan Hermocrates to
join in giving the finishing blow to the power of Athens, furnished
twenty-two- twenty from Syracuse, and two from Silenus; and the
ships that we left preparing in Peloponnese being now ready, both
squadrons had been entrusted to Therimenes, a Lacedaemonian, to take
to Astyochus, the admiral. They now put in first at Leros the island
off Miletus, and from thence, discovering that the Athenians were
before the town, sailed into the Iasic Gulf, in order to learn how
matters stood at Miletus. Meanwhile Alcibiades came on horseback to
Teichiussa in the Milesian territory, the point of the gulf at which
they had put in for the night, and told them of the battle in which he
had fought in person by the side of the Milesians and Tissaphernes,
and advised them, if they did not wish to sacrifice Ionia and their
cause, to fly to the relief of Miletus and hinder its investment.
Accordingly they resolved to relieve it the next morning.
Meanwhile Phrynichus, the Athenian commander, had received precise
intelligence of the fleet from Leros, and when his colleagues
expressed a wish to keep the sea and fight it out, flatly refused
either to stay himself or to let them or any one else do so if he
could help it. Where they could hereafter contend, after full and
undisturbed preparation, with an exact knowledge of the number of
the enemy's fleet and of the force which they could oppose to him,
he would never allow the reproach of disgrace to drive him into a risk
that was unreasonable. It was no disgrace for an Athenian fleet to
retreat when it suited them: put it as they would, it would be more
disgraceful to be beaten, and to expose the city not only to disgrace,
but to the most serious danger. After its late misfortunes it could
hardly be justified in voluntarily taking the offensive even with
the strongest force, except in a case of absolute necessity: much less
then without compulsion could it rush upon peril of its own seeking.
He told them to take up their wounded as quickly as they could and the
troops and stores which they had brought with them, and leaving behind
what they had taken from the enemy's country, in order to lighten
the ships, to sail off to Samos, and there concentrating all their
ships to attack as opportunity served. As he spoke so he acted; and
thus not now more than afterwards, nor in this alone but in all that

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