At about this time the consul Acilius was besieging Naupactus. Livius was detained at Delos for several days by adverse winds, and indeed the region around the Cyclades, which are separated from one another, some by wider straits, some by narrower, is exceedingly windy.
Polyxenidas, being informed by the vessels which had been sent to reconnoitre that the Roman fleet was delayed at Delos, sent messengers to the king.
He, dropping everything he was doing at the Hellespont, returned with his beaked ships with all possible speed to Ephesus and at once held a council as to whether they should make trial of a naval battle.
Polyxenidas maintained that they should not delay, but should fight before the fleet of Eumenes and the Rhodian ships should join the Romans;
thus they would be [p. 279]
practically equal in numbers, superior in everything1
else, both in the speed of the ships and in the varied character of their auxiliaries.
For the Roman ships were not only unskilfully constructed and hard to move, but were also laden down with supplies, since they were coming to a hostile country; but their own ships, since they were leaving everything around them peaceful, would carry nothing except soldiers and arms.
Their acquaintance with the sea, the lands and the winds would also help greatly, and all these would make trouble for an enemy unfamiliar with them.
The author of this advice, who would also put the plan into effect, had weight with all. Delaying two days in preparation, they set sail on the third day with a hundred ships, all of smaller size, seventy being decked, the rest open, and came to Phocaea.
When he had heard that a Roman fleet was approaching, the king, since he did not intend to be present at the naval battle, returned from there to Magnesia, which is near Sipylus, to assemble his land forces;
the fleet made haste to Cissus, the harbour of the Erythraei, as if it were more convenient to meet the enemy there.
As soon as the north winds subsided —they had been blowing for several days —the Romans stood out from Delos toward Phanae, a harbour of the Chians facing the Aegean sea; there they brought the fleet around to the city and after taking on provisions crossed to Phocaea.
Eumenes went to his fleet at Elaea and a few days later returned to Phocaea with twenty-four decked ships and a somewhat larger number of open vessels, finding the Romans making themselves ready and fit for a naval battle.
Thence they set out with one [p. 281]
hundred and five decked ships and about fifty open2
vessels, and when at first they were driven towards the shore by north winds blowing across their course, the ships were compelled to proceed in a thin column, almost in single file; then when the violence of the wind moderated a little they tried to cross to the harbour of Corycus, which is above Cissus.