Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XIII - The Library of History

Page 337


The Acts of Callicratides, the Lacedemonian General. The Fight at Sea in the Harbour at Mitylene, between Conon and Callicratides.

THUS things pass'd for this Year, at the close of which Antigenes was chosen Magistrate of Athens; and Manius Aemilius, and Caius Valerius, Roman Consuls. About this time Conon the Athenian Admiral, made up a Fleet of those Ships that lay at Samos, and sent for others from the Confederates; and having now got together a considerable Navy, he hasted away to fight the Enemy.

The Lacedemonians appointed Callicratides Admiral; Lysander being discharg'd of that Command for some time. This Callicratides was a very Young Man, of a Plain and Honest Mind, and an Innocent Conversation; not as yet tainted with the Vices and ill Manners of other Nations, and was highly esteem'd among the Spartans, for his Justice and Integrity; and every Man own'd, that he never swerv'd from the Rules of Justice, either in Publick or Private Affairs: But on the contrary, if at any time any offer'd to corrupt him with Bribes, he highly resented it, and punish'd them accordingly. Having now receiv'd his Commission, he sails to Ephesus, and there had the Fleet deliver'd up to him by Lysander; which with the rest that he got together from other parts, made up a Navy of an hundred and forty Sail. The Athenians then lay at Anchor at Delphinum in Chios: Against whom he made with his whole Fleet, and in his way besieg'd a Fort of the Athenians; the Garrison there, being about five hundred, were terrify'd at the greatness of the Navy, and surrender'd the Place upon Articles of Safe Conduct. Then Callicratides demolish'd the Fort, and sail'd against Teios; and surprizing the Place in the Night, got within the Walls, and sack'd the City. Passing thence to Lesbos, he lay with his Army before Methymna, wherein was an Athenian Garrison. At first he prevail'd little, tho' he press'd hard upon it with daily Assaults: But not long after, being let in by the Treachery of some within, he sack'd the City, but put none to the Sword, and restor'd the Place to the Methymneans. Things thus prosperously succeeding, he hasten'd to Mitylene, and committing the Heavy-Armed Men, to Thorax the Lacedemonian, commanded him to march with all speed with the Land-Army, whilst he himself made with the Fleet, to the Shoar. In the mean time Conon, the Athenian Admiral, so prepar'd his Fleet, (which consisted of seventy Sail) for a Sea-fight, that he excell'd all the Admirals that were ever before him. With these he came to the Aid of Methymna; but when he found it was taken, he lay with his Fleet at an Island, one of those call'd the Hundred Islands. About Break of day next Morning, when he discern'd the Enemy's Fleet making up to him, conceiving it not advisable to fight with a Fleet that was more than double his number, he resolv'd to sail off; and having snapt up some of the Enemy's Gallies by the way, determin'd to fight rather at Mitylene; concluding that if he were Conqueror, he could there pursue them with greater Advantage; and if he were Conquer'd, he had the Port near at hand, wherein to shelter himself. Upon this he Embarks all his Souldiers, and commands the Rowers to row but gently and slowly, that the Enemy might come up nearer to him. The Lacedemonians, the nearer they came, were more eager to press on, in confidence that they should overtake and destroy those that were behind in the Rear. But Conon, by degrees falling down behind the rest, the Commanders of the best of the Peloponesian Ships, pursu'd with all Eagerness. By this Means, the Rowers now wax'd faint, and were drawn away far from the rest of the Fleet: which Advantage being observ'd by Conon, and that they now approch'd near to Mitylene, he set up the Purple Flag from his own Ship, which was a Sign to the Officers to joyn Battle. Upon which the Athenians all at one time tack't suddenly about, and made upon the Enemy; and the whole Fleet, reiterated the Pean, and the Trumpets sounded a Charge.

Upon this sudden Change, the Peloponesians were amaz'd, and made what hast they could in this Extremity, to put themselves into a Line of Battle; but having so little time to tack about, they were in great Confusion; especially in regard the Ships, where their proper place was, which they had deserted, were so far behind. Conon therefore, improving the Opportunity put into his Hands, makes straight upon them; and before they could put themselves in Order of Battle, pierces some of their Ships through, and brushes off the Oars of others. But not one of those Ships that engag'd

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