While these transactions are carried on at the Hellespont, Polyxenidas, the commander of the king's fleet, (but he was an exile from Rhodes,) having heard that
the ships of his countrymen had sailed from home, and that Pausistratus, who commanded them, had, in a public speech, uttered several haughty and contemptuous expressions respecting him, and having conceived a particular jealousy against him, considered nothing else, night or day, than that by his acts he should refute his boastful words.
He sent a person, who was known to him, to say, that “if it were allowed, he would be of great service to Pausistratus, and to his native country; and that he might be restored by Pausistratus to his country.”
When Pausistratus, in surprise, asked by what means such things could be effected; and pledged his faith to the other, at his request, that he would either concur in the execution of the design, or bury it in silence;
the emissary then told him, that “Polyxenidas would deliver into his hands, either the whole of the king's fleet or the greater part of it; and as a reward, he stipulated for nothing more, than a return to his native country.”
The importance of the business had this effect, that he neither believed nor despised his proposition. He sailed to Panormus, in the Samian territory, and stopped there in order to examine thoroughly the business which was proposed to him.
Messengers passed rapidly from both parties, nor was confidence inspired into Pausistratus until, in the presence of his messenger, Polyxenidas wrote, with his own hand, an engagement that he would perform all that he had promised, and sent the tablets sealed with his own seal.
By such a pledge as this, he thought that the traitor was completely engaged to him. For, “that he who lived under a king would never act so absurdly as to give evidence of guilt against himself, attested by his own signature.”
The method of conducting the pretended plot was then settled: Polyxenidas said that “he would neglect every kind of preparation; that [p. 1666]
he would not keep any considerable numbers on board, either of rowers or mariners; that he would haul up on land some of the ships, under pretence of refitting them;
would send away others into the neighbouring ports, and keep a few at sea before the harbour of Ephesus; which, if circumstances made it necessary to come out, he would expose to a battle.” The negligence which Pausistratus heard that Polyxenidas was about to use in his fleet, he himself immediately practised.
Part of his ships he sent to Halicarnassus to bring provisions, another part to the city of Samos, while he himself waited at Panormus, that he might be ready when he should receive the signal of attack from the traitor.
Polyxenidas encouraged his mistake by counterfeiting neglect; hauled up some ships, and, as if he intended to haul up others, put the docks in repair; he did not call the rowers from their winter quarters to Ephesus, but assembled them secretly at Magnesia.