But in an instant of time both the excellence of their ships and their experience in naval warfare took away all fear from the Rhodians.
For the ships, sailing quickly out into deep water, each gave the one in rear a place on the land side,1
and, moreover, if a ship clashed head on with a ship of the enemy, it either crushed its prow or broke off its oars or, passing through the open intervals between the files, it attacked the stern.2
The greatest fear was caused when a seven-banked ship of the king was sunk3
with one blow by a much smaller Rhodian vessel; so now without question the right wing of the enemy was turned to flight.
Eudamus, in the open, although he was superior in everything else, was hard pressed by Hannibal, particularly on account of the greater number of his ships, and Hannibal would have surrounded him had not the flagship of his fleet displayed the signal by which, as the custom is, a scattered fleet is collected into one place, and all the ships which had been victorious on the right4
flank had hurried off to bear aid to their comrades.
Then Hannibal also and the ships which followed him began to retire; nor could the Rhodians pursue, [p. 361]
since many of their rowers were sick and for that5
reason more quickly exhausted.
While they were restoring their strength with food in the open water, Eudamus watched the enemy towing their lame and crippled ships with hawsers from open vessels, and hardly more than twenty moving off undamaged, and from the bridge of the flagship he called for silence and exclaimed, “Stand up and look upon a glorious sight.”
Every man stood up, and seeing the confusion and panic of the enemy, they cried almost with one voice “Let us pursue.”
The ship of Eudamus himself had been damaged by many blows; but he ordered Pamphilidas and Chariclitus to follow as far as they deemed it safe.
They pursued for some distance; but when Hannibal was close to land, fearing that they might be detained by the wind near a hostile coast, they returned to Eudamus, and with difficulty towed to Phaselis the captured seven-banked ship which had been struck at the first onset.
Thence they returned to Rhodes, not so much rejoicing in their victory as blaming one another because, when it had been possible, the entire fleet of the enemy had not been sunk or captured.
Hannibal, discouraged by this one defeat, did not even then dare to pass Lycia, anxious though he was to join the old fleet of the king as soon as possible;
and, that this course might not be open to him, the Rhodians sent Chariclitus with twenty beaked ships to Patara and the harbour of Megiste.
Eudamus, with the seven largest ships of the fleet which he had commanded, they ordered to rejoin the Romans at Samos, in order that with whatever wisdom and whatever influence he had, he might urge the Romans to the capture of Patara. [p. 363]