At this time, the consul Acilius was engaged in the siege of Naupactum. Livius was detained several days at Delos by contrary winds, for that tract among the Cyclades, which are separated in some places by larger straits, in others by smaller, is extremely subject to storms.
Polyxenidas, receiving intelligence from his scout-ships, which were stationed in various places, that the Roman fleet lay at Delos, sent off an express to
the king, who, quitting the business in which he was employed in Hellespontus, and taking with him all the ships of war, returned to Ephesus with all possible speed, and instantly called a council to determine whether he should risk an engagement at sea.
Polyxenidas affirmed, that no delay should be incurred; “it was particularly requisite so to do, before the fleet of Eumenes and the Rhodian ships should join the Romans;
in which case, even, they would scarcely be inferior in number, and in every other particular would have a great superiority, by reason of the agility of their vessels, and a variety of auxiliary circumstances.
For the Roman ships, being unskilfully constructed, were slow in their motions; and, besides that, as they were coming to an enemy's coast, they would be heavily laden with provisions; whereas their own, leaving none but friends in all the countries round, would have nothing on board but men and arms.
Moreover that their knowledge of the sea, of the adjacent lands, and of the winds, would be greatly in their favour; of all which the Romans being ignorant, would find themselves much distressed.”
In advising this plan he influenced all, especially as the same person who gave the advice was also to carry it into execution. Two days only were passed in making preparations; and on the third, setting sail with a [p. 1652]
hundred ships, of which seventy had decks, and the rest were open, but all of the smaller rates, they steered their course to Phocaea.
The king, as he did not intend to be present in the naval combat, on hearing that the Roman fleet was approaching, withdrew to Magnesia, near Sipylus, to collect his land forces, while his
ships proceeded to Cyssus, a port of Erythraea, where it was supposed they might with more convenience wait for the enemy.
The Romans, as soon as the north wind, which had held for several days, ceased, sailed from Delos to Phanae, a port in Chios, opposite the Aegaean sea.
They afterwards brought round the fleet to the city of Chios, and having taken in provisions there, sailed over to Phocaea. Eumenes, who had gone to join his fleet at Elaea, returned a few days after, with twenty-four decked ships, and a greater number of open ones, to Phocaea, where were the Romans, who were fitting and preparing themselves for a sea-fight.
Then setting sail with a hundred and five decked ships, and about fifty open ones, they were for some time driven forcibly towards the land, by a north wind blowing across its course. The ships were thereby obliged to go, for the most part, singly, one after another, in a thin line; afterwards, when the violence of the wind abated, they endeavoured to stretch over to the harbour of Corycus, beyond Cyssus.