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 Agrippa, with half of his ships, sailed out of Hiera before daylight in order to have a naval engagement with Papias1 only. When he saw the fleet of Apollophanes also, and seventy ships on the other wing, he sent word to Octavius at once that Pompeius was at Mylæ with the greater part of his naval forces. Then he placed himself with his heavy ships in the centre, and summoned the remainder of his fleet from Hiera in all haste. The preparations on both sides were superb. The ships had towers on both stem and stern. When the usual exhortation had been given and the standards raised, they rushed against each other, some coming bow on, others making flank attacks, the shouts of the men and the spray from the ships adding terror to the scene. The Pompeian ships were shorter and lighter, and better adapted to blockading and darting about. Those of Octavius were larger and heavier, and, consequently, slower, yet stronger to give blows and not so easily damaged. The Pompeian crews were better sailors than those of Octavius, but the latter were stronger. Accordingly, the former excelled not so much in close fighting as in the nimbleness of their movements, in breaking oar blades and rudders, cutting off oar handles, or separating the enemy's ships entirely, doing them no less harm than by ramming. Those of Octavius sought to cut down with their beaks the hostile ships, which were smaller in size, or shatter them, or break through them. When they came to close quarters, being higher, they could hurl missiles down upon the enemy, and more easily throw the corvus2 and the grappling-irons. The Pompeians, whenever they were overpowered in this manner, leaped into the sea and were picked up by their small boats, which were hovering around for this purpose.
1 This is evidently a copyist's mistake for Demochares. The preceding section says that Demochares was in Agrippa's front, and Dion Cassius (xlix. 2) tells us that the battle that took place here was between Agrippa and Demochares. Suetonius (Aug. 16) adds the name of Apollophanes.
2 The corvus was a framework with a hook at its extremity. It was carried in an upright position on the prow and worked by a hinge at the bottom, and was used for the same purpose as the grappling-irons, to seize and hold fast the enemy's ships.
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