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90. The Peloponnesians, when they found that the Athenians would not enter the straits or the gulf,1 determined to draw them in against their will. So they weighed anchor early in the morning, and, ranging their ships four deep, stood in towards the gulf2 along their own coast3, keeping the order in which they were anchored. The right wing, consisting of twenty of their fastest vessels, took the lead. [2] These were intended to close upon the Athenians and prevent them from eluding their attack and getting beyond the wing in case Phormio, apprehending an attack upon Naupactus, should sail along shore to its aid. He, when he saw them weighing anchor, was alarmed, as they anticipated, for the safety of the town, which was undefended. [3] Against his will and in great haste he embarked and sailed along the shore; the land forces of the Messenians followed. [4] The Peloponnesians, seeing that the enemy were in single file and were already within the gulf and close to land, which was exactly what they wanted, at a given signal suddenly brought their ships round, and the whole line faced the Athenians and bore down upon them, every ship rowing at the utmost speed, for they hoped to cut off all the Athenian fleet. [5] Eleven vessels which were in advance evaded the sudden turn of the Peloponnesians, and rowed past their right wing into the open water; but they caught the rest, forced them aground, and disabled them. All the sailors who did not swim out of them were slain. Some of the empty ships they fastened to their own and began to tow away; [6] one they had already taken with the crew, but others were saved by the Messenians, who came to the rescue, dashed armed as they were into the sea, boarded them, and, fighting from their decks when they were being already towed away, finally recovered them.

1 The Peloponnesians by a feigned attack on Naupactus draw the Athenians into the gulf, and, suddenly turning upon them, drive most of their vessels upon shore. Bravery of the Messenians.

2 Reading παρά for ἐπί with the Laurentian and three other MSS. Or, adopting the conjecture ἐκείνων for ἑαυτῶν : 'making for the enemy's shore, and' &c.

3 Reading παρά for ἐπί with the Laurentian and three other MSS. Or, adopting the conjecture ἐκείνων for ἑαυτῶν : 'making for the enemy's shore, and' &c.

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