Perceiving this, the Athenians advanced
against them by each inlet, and falling on the enemy's fleet, most of which
was by this time afloat and in line, at once put it to flight, and giving
chase as far as the short distance allowed, disabled a good many vessels,
and took five, one with its crew on board; dashing in at the rest that had taken refuge on shore, and battering some
that were still being manned, before they could put out, and lashing on to
their own ships and towing off empty others whose crews had fled.
At this sight the Lacedaemonians, maddened by a disaster which cut off
their men on the island, rushed to the rescue, and going into the sea with
their heavy armour, laid hold of the ships and tried to drag them back, each
man thinking that success depended on his individual exertions.
Great was the melee, and quite in contradiction to the naval tactics usual
to the two combatants; the Lacedaemonians in their excitement and dismay being actually engaged in
a sea-fight on land, while the victorious Athenians, in their eagerness to
push their success as far as possible, were carrying on a land-fight from
After great exertions and numerous wounds on both sides they separated, the
Lacedaemonians saving their empty ships, except those first taken;
and both parties returning to their camp, the Athenians set up a trophy,
gave back the dead, secured the wrecks, and at once began to cruise round
and jealously watch the island, with its intercepted garrison, while the
Peloponnesians on the mainland, whose contingents had now all come up,
stayed where they were before Pylos.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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