In the ensuing year—the year in which there1
was an eclipse of the moon one evening, and the old temple2
of Athena at Athens was burned, Pityas being now ephor at Sparta and Callias archon at Athens—the Lacedaemonians sent Callicratidas to take command3
of the fleet, since Lysander's term of office had ended (and with it the twenty-fourth year of the war).
And when Lysander delivered over the ships, he told Callicratidas that he did so as master of the sea and victor in battle. Callicratidas, however, bade him coast along from Ephesus on the left of Samos, where the Athenian ships were, and deliver over the fleet at Miletus; then, he said, he would grant him that he was master of the sea.
But when Lysander replied that he would not meddle when another was commander, Callicratidas, left to himself, manned with sailors from Chios and Rhodes and other allied states fifty ships in addition to those which he had received from Lysander. And after assembling the entire fleet, a total of one hundred and forty ships, he prepared to meet the enemy.
But when he found out that Lysander's friends were intriguing against him,—they not only rendered half-hearted service, but also spread the report in the cities that the Lacedaemonians made a serious mistake in changing their admirals; for in place of men who were proving themselves fit and were just coming to understand naval matters and knew well how to deal with men, they frequently sent out men who were unacquainted with the sea and unknown to the people near the seat of war; and there was danger, they said, of their meeting with disaster on this account,—after hearing of all this Callicratidas called together the Lacedaemonians who were there and addressed them4
“I, for my part, am content to stay at home, and if Lysander or anyone else professes to be more experienced in naval affairs, I will not stand in his way so far as I am concerned; but it is I who have been sent by the state to command the fleet, and I cannot do otherwise than obey my orders to the best of my power. As for you, in view of the ambition which I cherish and the criticisms which our state incurs,—and you know them as well as I do,—give me whatever advice seems to you best on the question of my remaining here or sailing back home to report the conditions which exist here.”
Since no one dared to propose anything else than that he should obey the authorities at home and do the work for which he had come, he went to Cyrus and asked for pay for the sailors; Cyrus, however, told him to wait for two days.
But Callicratidas, indignant at being thus put off and driven to anger by having to dance attendance at his gates, declaring that the Greeks were in a sorry plight, toadying to barbarians for the sake of money, and saying that if he reached home in safety he would do his best to reconcile the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, sailed away to Miletus;
and after despatching triremes from there to Lacedaemon to get money, he gathered the Milesians in assembly and spoke as follows:
“Upon me, men of Miletus, lies the necessity of obeying the authorities at home; and as for you, I claim that you should show the utmost zeal in this war, because you dwell among barbarians and in the past have suffered very many ills at their hands.
And you should as leaders5
show the other allies how we may inflict the utmost harm upon the enemy in the shortest time, until the people return from Lacedaemon whom I have sent thither to get money;
for the money which Lysander had on hand he gave back to Cyrus, as though it were unneeded surplus, and went his way; and as for Cyrus, whenever I visited him he invariably put off giving me an audience, and I could not bring myself to dance attendance at his gates.
But I promise you that for whatever good results we achieve while we are waiting for the funds from Sparta I will make you an adequate return. Let us then, with the help of the gods, show the barbarians that even without paying court to them we can punish our enemies.”
When he had said this, many arose, particularly those who were accused of opposing him, and in alarm proposed a grant of money, offering private contributions as well. And taking this money and supplying from Chios a payment of five drachmae apiece for his seamen, he sailed against Methymna, in Lesbos, which was hostile.
And when the Methymnaeans refused to surrender,—for there was an Athenian garrison in the place and those who had control of the government were partisans of Athens, —Callicratidas attacked the city and captured it by storm.
All the property which it contained the soldiers seized as booty, but all the captives Callicratidas assembled in the market-place; and when his allies urged him to sell into slavery the Methymnaeans as well as the Athenians, he said that while he was commander no Greek should be enslaved if6
he could help it.
Accordingly on the next day he let the Methymnaeans go free, but sold the members of the Athenian garrison7
and such of the captives as were slaves; then he sent word to Conon that he would put a stop to his playing the wanton with his bride, the sea. And when he caught sight of Conon putting out to sea at daybreak, he pursued him, aiming to cut off his course to Samos, so that he could not direct his flight thither.
Conon's ships, however, made good speed as he fled, because the best oarsmen had been picked out of a great many crews and assembled in a few; in the end he sought refuge in the harbour of Mytilene, in Lesbos, and with him two more of the ten generals, Leon and Erasinides. But Callicratidas, pursuing with one hundred and seventy ships, sailed into the harbour simultaneously.
And Conon, thwarted in his plan by the enemy's swiftness, was forced to give battle at the mouth of the harbour and lost thirty ships; their crews, however, escaped to the land; and the remainder of his ships, forty in number, he drew up on shore under the wall of the city.
Thereupon Callicratidas anchored in the harbour and blockaded him on that side, holding the outlet to the sea. As for the land side, he summoned the Methymnaeans to come to his aid with their entire force and brought over his army from Chios; and money came to him from Cyrus.
When Conon found himself blockaded both by land and by sea, and was unable to procure provisions from anywhere,—and the people in the city were8
many, and the Athenians could not come to his aid because they had not learned of these events,—he launched two of his fastest ships and manned them before daybreak, picking out the best oarsmen from his whole fleet, shifting the marines to the hold of the ships, and setting up the side screens.9
They continued in this way through the day, but each evening he had them disembark when darkness came on, so that the enemy might not perceive that they were so doing. On the fifth day they put on board a moderate quantity of provisions, and when it came to be midday and the blockaders were careless and some of them asleep, they rowed out of the harbour, and one of the ships set out for the Hellespont and the other to the open sea.
And the blockaders, as they severally got their ships clear of one another, cutting away their anchors and rousing themselves from sleep, hastened to the pursuit in confusion, for it chanced that they had been breakfasting on the shore; and when they had embarked, they pursued the vessel which had made for the open sea, and at sunset they overhauled her and, after capturing her in battle, took her in tow and brought her back, men and all, to their fleet.
But the ship which fled toward the Hellespont escaped, and on its arrival at Athens reported the blockade. Meanwhile Diomedon, seeking to aid Conon, blockaded as he was, anchored with twelve ships in the strait of Mytilene.
Callicratidas, however, sailed down upon him suddenly and captured ten of his ships, Diomedon escaping with his own ship and one other.
When the Athenians heard of what had happened10
and of the blockade, they voted to go to the rescue with one hundred and ten ships, putting aboard all who were of military age, whether slave11
or free; and within thirty days they manned the one hundred and ten ships and set forth. Even the knights12
went aboard in considerable numbers.
After this they sailed to Samos and from there got ten Samian ships; they collected also more than thirty others from the rest of the allies, forcing everybody to embark, and in like manner whatever Athenian ships happened to be abroad. And the total number of the ships came to more than one hundred and fifty.
Now Callicratidas, when he heard that the relief expedition was already at Samos, left behind him at Mytilene fifty ships with Eteonicus as commander, and setting sail with the remaining one hundred and twenty, took dinner at Cape Malea in Lesbos.
On the same day it chanced that the Athenians took dinner on the Arginusae islands. These lie opposite Mytilene.13
And when Callicratidas saw their fires during the night and people reported to him that it was the Athenians, he proposed to put to sea at about midnight, in order to attack them unexpectedly; but a heavy rain coming on, with thunder, prevented the setting out. And when it ceased, he sailed at daybreak for the Arginusae.
The Athenians stood out to meet him, extending their left wing out to sea and arranged in the following order: Aristocrates, in command of the14
left wing, led the way with fifteen ships, and next in order Diomedon with fifteen more; and Pericles was stationed behind Aristocrates and Erasinides behind Diomedon; and beside Diomedon were the Samians with ten ships, drawn up in single line; and their commander was a Samian named Hippeus; and next to them were the ten ships of the taxiarchs,15
also in single line; and behind these the three ships of the nauarchs16
and also some ships from the allies;
and the right wing was under the command of Protomachus, with fifteen ships; and beside him was Thrasyllus with fifteen more; and Lysias, with the same number of ships, was stationed behind Protomachus, and Aristogenes behind Thrasyllus.
The ships were arranged in this way so as not to give the enemy a chance of breaking through17
the line; for the Athenians were inferior in seamanship. But all the vessels of the Lacedaemonians were arranged in single line, with a view to breaking through the enemy and circling round him, inasmuch as they had superior seamen. And Callicratidas was on the right wing.
Now Hermon the Megarian, the pilot of Callicratidas' ship, said to him that it was well to sail away; for the triremes of the Athenians were far more numerous. Callicratidas, however, said that Sparta would fare none the worse if he were killed, but flight, he said, would be a disgrace.
After this they fell to fighting, and fought for a long time, their ships at first in close order and afterwards18
scattered. But when Callicratidas, as his ship rammed an enemy, fell overboard into the sea and disappeared, and Protomachus and those with him on the right wing defeated the opposing Lacedaemonian left, then began a flight of the Peloponnesians to Chios, though very many went to Phocaea; while the Athenians sailed back to the Arginusae.
The loss on the Athenian side was twenty-five ships, crews and all, with the exception of a few men who were brought to shore, and on the Peloponnesian side nine Laconian ships, out of a total of ten, and more than sixty ships of the allies.
After this victory it was resolved by the Athenian generals that Theramenes and Thrasybulus, who were ship-captains, and some of the taxiarchs, should sail with forty-seven ships to the aid of the disabled vessels and the men on board them, while they themselves went with the rest of the fleet to attack the ships under Eteonicus which were blockading Mytilene. But despite their desire to carry out these measures, the wind and a heavy storm which came on prevented them; accordingly, after setting up a trophy, they bivouacked where they were.
As for Eteonicus, the dispatch-boat reported to him the whole story of the battle. He, however, sent the boat out again, telling those who were in it to sail out of the harbour in silence and not talk with anyone, and then to sail back immediately to his fleet, wearing garlands and shouting that Callicratidas had been victorious in battle and that all the ships of the Athenians had been destroyed.
This they proceeded to do; and when they were sailing in, Eteonicus began to offer sacrifices for the good19
news, and gave orders that the soldiers should take their dinner, that the traders should put their goods into their boats in silence and sail off to Chios (for the wind was favourable), and that the triremes also should sail thither with all speed.
And he himself led his land forces back to Methymna, after setting fire to their camp. Conon now launched his ships, and, since the enemy had stolen away and the wind was quieter, went to meet the Athenians, who had by this time set out from the Arginusae, and told them what Eteonicus had done. The Athenians put in to Mytilene, sailed thence against Chios, and, accomplishing nothing there, sailed back towards Samos.