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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VIII   


money for each man from the Chians, on the third day put out in
haste from the island; in order to avoid falling in with the ships
at Eresus, they did not make for the open sea, but keeping Lesbos on
their left, sailed for the continent. After touching at the port of
Carteria, in the Phocaeid, and dining, they went on along the
Cumaean coast and supped at Arginusae, on the continent over against
Mitylene. From thence they continued their voyage along the coast,
although it was late in the night, and arriving at Harmatus on the
continent opposite Methymna, dined there; and swiftly passing
Lectum, Larisa, Hamaxitus, and the neighbouring towns, arrived a
little before midnight at Rhoeteum. Here they were now in the
Hellespont. Some of the ships also put in at Sigeum and at other
places in the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile the warnings of the fire signals and the sudden increase
in the number of fires on the enemy's shore informed the eighteen
Athenian ships at Sestos of the approach of the Peloponnesian fleet.
That very night they set sail in haste just as they were, and, hugging
the shore of the Chersonese, coasted along to Elaeus, in order to sail
out into the open sea away from the fleet of the enemy.

After passing unobserved the sixteen ships at Abydos, which had
nevertheless been warned by their approaching friends to be on the
alert to prevent their sailing out, at dawn they sighted the fleet
of Mindarus, which immediately gave chase. All had not time to get
away; the greater number however escaped to Imbros and Lemnos, while
four of the hindmost were overtaken off Elaeus. One of these was
stranded opposite to the temple of Protesilaus and taken with its
crew, two others without their crews; the fourth was abandoned on
the shore of Imbros and burned by the enemy.
After this the Peloponnesians were joined by the squadron from
Abydos, which made up their fleet to a grand total of eighty-six
vessels; they spent the day in unsuccessfully besieging Elaeus, and
then sailed back to Abydos. Meanwhile the Athenians, deceived by their
scouts, and never dreaming of the enemy's fleet getting by undetected,
were tranquilly besieging Eresus. As soon as they heard the news
they instantly abandoned Eresus, and made with all speed for the
Hellespont, and after taking two of the Peloponnesian ships which
had been carried out too far into the open sea in the ardour of the
pursuit and now fell in their way, the next day dropped anchor at
Elaeus, and, bringing back the ships that had taken refuge at
Imbros, during five days prepared for the coming engagement.
After this they engaged in the following way. The Athenians formed in
column and sailed close alongshore to Sestos; upon perceiving which
the Peloponnesians put out from Abydos to meet them. Realizing that
a battle was now imminent, both combatants extended their flank; the
Athenians along the Chersonese from Idacus to Arrhiani with
seventy-six ships; the Peloponnesians from Abydos to Dardanus with
eighty-six. The Peloponnesian right wing was occupied by the
Syracusans, their left by Mindarus in person with the best sailers
in the navy; the Athenian left by Thrasyllus, their right by
Thrasybulus, the other commanders being in different parts of the
fleet. The Peloponnesians hastened to engage first, and outflanking
with their left the Athenian right sought to cut them off, if
possible, from sailing out of the straits, and to drive their centre
upon the shore, which was not far off. The Athenians perceiving
their intention extended their own wing and outsailed them, while
their left had by this time passed the point of Cynossema. This,
however, obliged them to thin and weaken their centre, especially as
they had fewer ships than the enemy, and as the coast round Point
Cynossema formed a sharp angle which prevented their seeing what was
going on on the other side of it.
The Peloponnesians now attacked their centre and drove ashore the
ships of the Athenians, and disembarked to follow up their victory. No
help could be given to the centre either by the squadron of

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