About the same time the Peloponnesians in their fleet of twenty-five ships, which was stationed1
opposite the Athenian fleet at Naupactus to protect the passage of the merchant-vessels going to Sicily, made ready for action. They manned some additional ships, which raised their number nearly to that of the Athenians, and anchored at Erineus off Achaia, which is in the territory of Rhypae.
The bay, off the shore of which they were stationed, has the form of a crescent, and the infantry of the Corinthians and of the allies, which had come from the country on both sides to co-operate with the fleet, was disposed on the projecting promontories. The ships, which were under the command of Polyanthes the Corinthian, formed a close line between the two points.
The Athenians sailed out against them from Naupactus with thirty-three ships, under the command of Diphilus.
For a while the Corinthians remained motionless; in due time the signal was raised and they rushed upon the Athenians and engaged with them. The battle was long and obstinate.
Three Corinthian ships were destroyed. The Athenians had no ships absolutely sunk, but about seven of them were rendered useless; for they were struck full in front by the beaks of the Corinthian vessels, which had the projecting beams of their prows designedly built thicker, and their bows were stoven in.
The engagement was undecided and both sides claimed the victory; but the Athenians gained possession of the wrecks because the wind blew them towards the open sea and the Corinthians did not put out again. So the two fleets parted. There was no pursuit, nor were any prisoners taken on either side. For the Corinthians and Peloponnesians were fighting close to the land and thus their crews escaped, while on the Athenian side no ship was sunk.
As soon as the Athenians had returned to Naupactus the Corinthians set up a trophy, insisting that they were the victors, because they had disabled more of the enemy's ships than the enemy of theirs. They refused to acknowledge defeat on the same ground which made the Athenians unwilling to claim the victory. For the Corinthians considered themselves conquerors, if they were not severely defeated; but the Athenians thought that they were defeated because they had not gained a signal victory.
When however the Peloponnesians had sailed away and the land-army was dispersed, the Athenians raised another trophy in Achaia, at a distance of about two miles and a quarter from the Corinthian station at Erineus. Such was the result of the engagement.