When Antiochus lost his hope of an alliance with Prusias, he went to Ephesus from Sardis to inspect the fleet which for some months had been equipped and ready, more because he saw that with
his land forces he could not withstand the Roman army and its generals, the two Scipios, than because he had ever tried actual combat by sea with much success or had at this time any great and assured confidence.
There was, however, a reason for hope at the moment, in that he had heard, first, that the larger part of the Rhodian fleet was in the vicinity [p. 367]
of Patara and, second, that King Eumenes with all1
his ships had gone to meet the consul at the Hellespont; an additional stimulant to his spirits was the destruction of the Rhodian fleet at Samos under conditions attained by trickery.
Relying on these circumstances, he sent Polyxenidas with the fleet to try fortune in any sort of engagement and himself led his troops to Notium.
This is a town of Colophon, overlooking the sea, distant from old Colophon about two miles.
And he wished to have the town itself in his hands, being so close to Ephesus that he could do nothing on land or sea which was not observed by the Colophonians, and through them was not immediately known to the Romans, and he had no doubt that when they heard of its siege they would move the fleet from Samos to bear aid to an allied city; this would be the opportunity for Polyxenidas to bring about an engagement.
Therefore he began to lay siege to the city, constructing a line of fortifications down to the sea on each side alike, and in both ran mantlets and an outwork up to the wall and moved battering-rams under shelter.2
Terrified by these misfortunes, the Colophonians sent to Lucius Aemilius the praetor at Samos representatives to beg for the protection of the praetor and the Roman people.
Aemilius, idle at Samos, was chafing under the long delay, thinking of nothing less than that Polyxenidas, twice challenged by him
in vain, would offer the opportunity for battle, and he thought it a disgrace that the fleet of Eumenes should assist the consul in transporting the legions into Asia while he was entangled in aiding the beleaguered Colophon, an operation of indefinite duration.
Eudamus the Rhodian, who also had detained him at Samos, [p. 369]
although he wished to leave for the Hellespont, and3
all the others, kept urging him and saying:
how much better it would be either to relieve the allies from siege
or again to defeat the navy already once defeated and to wrest completely from the enemy his mastery of the sea than, abandoning the allies and surrendering to Antiochus the land and sea of Asia, to go off to the Hellespont, where the fleet of Eumenes was sufficient, and run away from his own share in the war.4