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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


precaution made land at Caunus in Asia, from whence considering
themselves in safety they sent a message to the fleet at Miletus for a
convoy along the coast.
Meanwhile the Chians and Pedaritus, undeterred by the backwardness
of Astyochus, went on sending messengers pressing him to come with all
the fleet to assist them against their besiegers, and not to leave the
greatest of the allied states in Ionia to be shut up by sea and
overrun and pillaged by land. There were more slaves at Chios than
in any one other city except Lacedaemon, and being also by reason of
their numbers punished more rigorously when they offended, most of
them, when they saw the Athenian armament firmly established in the
island with a fortified position, immediately deserted to the enemy,
and through their knowledge of the country did the greatest
mischief. The Chians therefore urged upon Astyochus that it was his
duty to assist them, while there was still a hope and a possibility of
stopping the enemy's progress, while Delphinium was still in process
of fortification and unfinished, and before the completion of a higher
rampart which was being added to protect the camp and fleet of their
besiegers. Astyochus now saw that the allies also wished it and
prepared to go, in spite of his intention to the contrary owing to the
threat already referred to.
In the meantime news came from Caunus of the arrival of the
twenty-seven ships with the Lacedaemonian commissioners; and
Astyochus, postponing everything to the duty of convoying a fleet of
that importance, in order to be more able to command the sea, and to
the safe conduct of the Lacedaemonians sent as spies over his
behaviour, at once gave up going to Chios and set sail for Caunus.
As he coasted along he landed at the Meropid Cos and sacked the
city, which was unfortified and had been lately laid in ruins by an
earthquake, by far the greatest in living memory, and, as the
inhabitants had fled to the mountains, overran the country and made
booty of all it contained, letting go, however, the free men. From Cos
arriving in the night at Cnidus he was constrained by the
representations of the Cnidians not to disembark the sailors, but to
sail as he was straight against the twenty Athenian vessels, which
with Charminus, one of the commanders at Samos, were on the watch
for the very twenty-seven ships from Peloponnese which Astyochus was
himself sailing to join; the Athenians in Samos having heard from
Melos of their approach, and Charminus being on the look-out off Syme,
Chalce, Rhodes, and Lycia, as he now heard that they were at Caunus.
Astyochus accordingly sailed as he was to Syme, before he was
heard of, in the hope of catching the enemy somewhere out at sea.
Rain, however, and foggy weather encountered him, and caused his ships
to straggle and get into disorder in the dark. In the morning his
fleet had parted company and was most of it still straggling round the
island, and the left wing only in sight of Charminus and the
Athenians, who took it for the squadron which they were watching for
from Caunus, and hastily put out against it with part only of their
twenty vessels, and attacking immediately sank three ships and
disabled others, and had the advantage in the action until the main
body of the fleet unexpectedly hove in sight, when they were
surrounded on every side. Upon this they took to flight, and after
losing six ships with the rest escaped to Teutlussa or Beet Island,
and from thence to Halicarnassus. After this the Peloponnesians put
into Cnidus and, being joined by the twenty-seven ships from Caunus,
sailed all together and set up a trophy in Syme, and then returned
to anchor at Cnidus.
As soon as the Athenians knew of the sea-fight, they sailed with all
the ships at Samos to Syme, and, without attacking or being attacked
by the fleet at Cnidus, took the ships' tackle left at Syme, and
touching at Lorymi on the mainland sailed back to Samos. Meanwhile the
Peloponnesian ships, being now all at Cnidus, underwent such repairs
as were needed; while the eleven Lacedaemonian commissioners conferred
with Tissaphernes, who had come to meet them, upon the points which

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