They accordingly, having set sail from Samos in quest of provisions, their stock being consumed, were preparing to pass over to Chios. Samos served as a granary to the Romans, and thither all the store-ships sent from Rome directed their course.
When they had sailed round from the city to the back of the island, which looks northward towards Chios and Erythrae, and were preparing to cross over, the praetor is informed by a letter, that a vast quantity of corn had arrived at Chios, from Italy; but that the vessels laden with wine were detained by storms.
At the same time accounts were received, that the people of Teos had furnished large supplies of provisions to the king's fleet, and had promised five thousand vessels of wine. On this the praetor immediately changed his course, and steered away to Teos, resolved either to make use of the provisions prepared for the enemy, with the consent of the inhabitants, or to treat them as foes.
When they had turned their prows to the land, about fifteen vessels appeared in sight near Myonnesus, which the praetor at first supposed to belong to the king's fleet, and hastened to pursue.
It appeared afterwards, that they were piratical cutters and galleys. They, having ravaged the sea-coast of Chios, re- [p. 1684]
turning with booty of every kind, betook themselves to flight when they saw the fleet on the open sea.
They had much the advantage in swiftness, their galleys being lighter and constructed for the purpose, and were nearer the land; therefore before the fleet could overtake them, they made their escape to Myonnesus.
And the praetor, unacquainted with the place, followed in expectation of forcing their ships from it out of the harbour. Myonnesus is a promontory between Teos and Samos. It consists of a hill rising from a pretty large base to a sharp top, in the shape of an obelisk. From the land it has access by a narrow path towards the sea, cliffs undermined by the waves terminate it, so that in some places the superimpending rocks project beyond the vessels that lie at anchor.
The ships not daring to approach lest they should be exposed to the weapons of the pirates, who stood above on the cliffs, wasted the day to no purpose.
At length, after they had desisted from this useless undertaking a little before night, they the next day reached Teos. Here the praetor, after mooring in the port at the back of the city, which the inhabitants call Geraesticum, sent out the soldiers to ravage the land about the city.