When the fleet was brought round to the city, all being ignorant of the approach of the enemy, both soldiers and sailors went on shore to divide the provisions, and the wine particularly, among the ships;
when, about mid-day, a peasant happened to be brought before the praetor, who told him, that the enemy's fleet was lying at the island of Macris these two days; and that, a little while ago, some of them were observed to be in motion, as if preparing to sail.
Greatly alarmed at this unexpected event, the praetor ordered the trumpets to sound, to call in such as might have straggled into the country, and sent the tribunes into the city, to hasten the soldiers and sailors on board.
The confusion was not less than if the place were on fire, or taken by an enemy; some running to call out the men; others hurrying to the ships, while the orders of the officers were confounded by irregular shouts, amid which the trumpets raised their din, until at length the crowd collected at the ships.
Here scarcely could each know his own ship, or make his way through the tumult; and the disorder would probably have been productive of much mischief, on land and sea, had not Aemilius, in the commander's ship, sailed out first [p. 1686]
into the main; where, receiving those following, he put each into its own place, so as to form a line abreast:
and Eudamus, with the Rhodian fleet, waited at the shore, that the men might be embarked without confusion, and that every ship might leave the harbour as soon as it was ready.
By these means, the foremost division formed under the eye of the praetor, while the rear was brought up by the Rhodians; and then the whole line, in as regular order as if within sight of the foe, advanced into the open sea. They were between Myonnesus and the promontory of Corycus, when they first got sight of the enemy.
The king's fleet, which was coming in a long line, with only two vessels abreast, then formed themselves in order of battle, stretching out their left division so far, as that it might enclose the right of the Romans.
When Eudamus, who commanded in the rear, perceived that the Romans could not form an equal front, but were just on the point of being surrounded, he pushed up his ships. They were Rhodians, by far the fastest sailers of any of the fleet; and having filled up the deficiency in the extent of the line, he opposed his own ship to the commander's, on board of which was Polyxenidas.