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Now the Athenians were engaged in gathering ships. But Mindarus, the Lacedaemonian admiral, setting out by night with his entire fleet, made in haste for the Hellespont and arrived on the second day at Sigeium.1 When the Athenians learned that the fleet had sailed by them, they did not wait for all the triremes of their allies, but after only three had been added to their number they set out in pursuit of the Lacedaemonians. [2] When they arrived at Sigeium, they found the fleet already departed, but three ships left behind they at once captured; after this they put in at Eleus2 and made preparations for the sea-battle. [3] The Lacedaemonians, seeing the enemy rehearsing for the battle, did likewise, spending five days in proving their ships and exercising their rowers; then they drew up the fleet for the battle, its strength being eighty-eight ships. Now the Lacedaemonians stationed their ships on the Asian side of the channel, while the Athenians lined up against them on the European side, being fewer in number but of superior training. [4] The Lacedaemonians put on their right wing the Syracusans, whose leader was Hermocrates, and the Peloponnesians themselves formed the whole left wing with Mindarus in command. For the Athenians Thrasyllus was stationed on the right wing and Thrasybulus on the left. At the outset both sides strove stubbornly for position in order that they might not have the current against them. [5] Consequently they kept sailing around each other for a long time, endeavouring to block off the straits and struggling for an advantageous position; for the battle took place between Abydus and Sestus3 and it so happened that the current was of no little hindrance where the strait was narrow. However, the pilots of the Athenian fleet, being far superior in experience, contributed greatly to the victory.

1 On the Asian side at the very entrance of the Hellespont.

2 Directly opposite Sigeium.

3 Some eight miles up the Hellespont from the entrance.

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    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.103
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