Polyxenidas thought that the Roman fleet would make for Samos to join the Rhodian ships, and starting from Ephesus first stood off Myonnesus, then crossed to the island which they call Macris, that he might fall upon any individual ship of the passing fleet as it got out of formation or attack the [p. 329]
rear of the column at a suitable opportunity.
he saw that the fleet was scattered by the storm, he first thought that he had a chance to attack, but a little later, the wind freshening and rolling up even greater waves, since
he realized that he could not get to them, he crossed to the island of Aethalia, that thence on the following day he might fall upon the ships which were trying to reach Samos from the sea.
A small part of the Romans reached at dusk a deserted harbour in Samian territory, the rest of the fleet, tossed all night in the open sea, ran to the same port.
There they learned from peasants that the enemy's fleet was standing off Aethalia, and a council was held whether they should fight at once or wait for the Rhodian fleet. Action being postponed —for such was the decision —they crossed to Corycus whence they had come.
Polyxenidas also, after waiting in vain, returned to Ephesus. Then the Roman fleet, the sea being empty of the enemy, crossed to Samos.
The Rhodian fleet also arrived at the same place a few days later, and thus, to make it clear that this was what they were awaiting, a start was immediately made for Ephesus, that they might either fight a naval battle or, if the enemy declined the engagement, which was a matter of great import for its effect on the dispositions of the cities, they might wrest from him an admission of cowardice.
They took their position facing the entrance to the harbour with the fleet drawn up in order of battle. When no one came out to meet them, the fleet divided, and part remained at anchor in the open sea opposite the entrance, part landed the marines on the coast.
And when they were bringing in a vast amount of booty, having devastated the country [p. 331]
far and wide, Andronicus the Macedonian, who was2
in the garrison at Ephesus, made a sally as they approached the walls, and stripping them of a large part of their plunder drove them to the sea and the ships.
On the next day, placing an ambuscade at about the half-way point, the Romans marched in column towards the city to draw out the Macedonian; then, since the very suspicion that this would be done prevented anyone from coming out, they returned to the ships; and, the enemy avoiding battle on land and sea, the fleet returned to Samos, whence it had come.
Then the praetor sent two triremes of the allies from Italy and two from Rhodes, with Epicrates the Rhodian in command, to defend the strait of Cephallania.
The Spartan Hybristas with the young men of the Cephallanians was making this dangerous with his piracy, and the sea was already closed to supplies from Italy.3