previous next

The troops that were at Chios under Eteonicus12 subsisted, so long as the summer lasted, upon the produce of the season and by working for hire up and down the island; when winter came on, however, and they were without food and poorly clad and unshod, they got together and agreed to make an attack upon Chios; and it was decided that those who approved this plan should carry a reed, so that they could tell how numerous they were. [2] Now when Eteonicus learned of the plot, he was uncertain how to deal with the matter on account of the great number of the reed-bearers. To attack them openly seemed to him to be dangerous, for he feared that they might rush to their arms, gain possession of the city, turn enemies, and so ruin everything, in case they should prevail; while, in the other case, to be putting allied soldiers to death in such numbers was also clearly a serious matter, for in this way the Lacedaemonians might incur harsh criticism among the other Greeks as well, and the troops might be disaffected toward the cause. [3] Accordingly he took with him fifteen men armed with daggers and proceeded through the city, and meeting a man suffering from ophthalmia as he was leaving a physician's house, a reed in his hand, he put him to death. [4] And when an uproar resulted and people asked why the man had been put to death, Eteonicus ordered his followers to give out word that3 it was because he had the reed. As a result of this announcement all those who were carrying reeds threw them away, each man as he heard the report being afraid that he might be seen with one. [5] After this Eteonicus called together the Chians and bade them contribute money, in order that the sailors might get their pay and not attempt anything seditious; and the Chians did so. At the same time he ordered his men to embark upon their ships; and going along past each ship in its turn he encouraged and advised them at length, as though he knew nothing of what had happened, and distributed a month's pay to all hands. [6]

After this the Chians and the rest of the allies gathered at Ephesus and resolved, in view of the existing situation, to send ambassadors to Lacedaemon to report the facts and to ask for Lysander as commander of the fleet, a man who was in high favour among the allies as a result of his former command, when he won the battle of Notium.4 [7] Ambassadors were accordingly sent, and with them went also envoys from Cyrus with the same request. And the Lacedaemonians granted them Lysander as vice-admiral, but made Aracus admiral; for it was contrary to their law for a man to hold the office of admiral twice; nevertheless, they put the ships under the command of Lysander—the war having now lasted twenty-five years. [8]

It was in this year that Cyrus put to death Autoboesaces and Mitraeus, who were sons of Darius' sister—the daughter of Darius' father Xerxes—because upon meeting him they did not thrust their hands through the corê, an honour they show the5 King alone. (The corê is a longer sleeve than the cheiris, and a man who had his hand in one would be powerless to do anything.) [9] In consequence, Hieramenes and his wife said to Darius that it would be shameful if he were to overlook such wanton violence on the part of Cyrus; and Darius, on the plea that he was ill, sent messengers and summoned Cyrus to come to him. [10]

In the following year—Archytas being now ephor,6 and Alexias archon at Athens—Lysander arrived at Ephesus and sent for Eteonicus to come thither from Chios with the ships, while he also gathered together all the other ships that were anywhere to be found; then he occupied himself with refitting these vessels and building more at Antandrus. [11] Meantime he went to Cyrus and asked for money; and Cyrus told him that the funds provided by the King had been spent, in fact much more besides, showing him how much each of the admirals had received; nevertheless he did give him money. [12] And upon receiving it Lysander appointed to each trireme its captain and paid his sailors the wages that were due them. Meanwhile the Athenian generals also were getting their fleet in readiness, at Samos. [13]

At this point Cyrus sent for Lysander, for a messenger had come to him from his father with word that he was ill and summoned him, he being at Thamneria, in Media, near the country of the Cadusians, against whom he had made an expedition, for they were in revolt. [14] And when Lysander arrived, Cyrus warned him not to give battle to the Athenians unless he should far outnumber them in ships; for, Cyrus said, both the King and he had money in7 abundance, and hence, so far as that point was concerned, it would be possible to man many ships. He then assigned to Lysander all the tribute which came in from his cities and belonged to him personally, and gave him also the balance he had on hand; and, after reminding Lysander how good a friend he was both to the Lacedaemonian state and to him personally, he set out on the journey to his father. [15]

Now Lysander, when Cyrus had thus given over to him all his money and set out, in response to the summons, to visit his sick father, distributed pay to his men and set sail to the Ceramic Gulf, in Caria. There he attacked a city named Cedreiae which was an ally of the Athenians, and on the second day's assault captured it by storm and reduced the inhabitants to slavery; they were a mixture of Greek and barbarian blood. Thence he sailed away to Rhodes. [16] As for the Athenians, they harried the territory of the King, using Samos as a base, and sailed against Chios and Ephesus; they were also making their preparations for battle, and had chosen three generals in addition to the former number,—Menander, Tydeus, and Cephisodotus. [17] Meanwhile Lysander sailed from Rhodes along the coast of Ionia to the Hellespont, in order to prevent the passing out of the grain-ships and to take action against the cities which had revolted from the Lacedaemonians. The Athenians likewise set out thither from Chios, keeping to the open sea; [18] for Asia was hostile to them. But Lysander coasted along from Abydus to Lampsacus, which was an ally of the Athenians; and the people of Abydus and the other cities were at hand on the shore to support him, being8 commanded by Thorax, a Lacedaemonian. [19] Then they attacked the city and captured it by storm, whereupon the soldiers plundered it. It was a wealthy city, full of wine and grain and all other kinds of supplies. But Lysander let go all the free persons who were captured. [20] Now the Athenians had been sailing in the wake of Lysander's fleet, and they anchored at Elaeus, in the Chersonese, with one hundred and eighty ships. While they were breakfasting there, the news about Lampsacus was reported to them, and they set out immediately to Sestus. [21] From there, as soon as they had provisioned, they sailed to Aegospotami, which is opposite Lampsacus, the Hellespont at this point being about fifteen stadia9 wide. There they took dinner. [22] And during the ensuing night, when early dawn came, Lysander gave the signal for his men to take breakfast and embark upon their ships, and after making everything ready for battle and stretching the side screens,10 he gave orders that no one should stir from his position or put out. [23] At sunrise the Athenians formed their ships in line for battle at the mouth of the harbour. Since, however, Lysander did not put out against them, they sailed back again, when it grew late in the day, to Aegospotami. [24] Thereupon Lysander ordered the swiftest of his ships to follow the Athenians and, when they had disembarked, to observe what they did, and then to sail back and report to him; and he did not disembark his men from their vessels until these scout-ships had returned. This he did for four days; and the Athenians continued to sail out and offer battle. [25] Meantime Alcibiades, who could discern from his castle that the Athenians were11 moored on an open shore, with no city near by, and were fetching their provisions from Sestus, a distance of fifteen stadia from their ships, while the enemy, being in a harbour and near a city, had everything needful, told the Athenians that they were not moored in a good place, and advised them to shift their anchorage to Sestus and thus gain a harbour and a city; “for if you are there,” he said, “you will be able to fight when you please.” [26] The generals, however, and especially Tydeus and Menander, bade him be gone; for they said that they were in command now, not he. So he went away. [27] And now Lysander, on the fifth day the Athenians sailed out against him, told his men, who followed them back, that as soon as they saw that the enemy had disembarked and had scattered up and down the Chersonese, —and the Athenians did this far more freely every day, not only because they bought their provisions at a distance, but also because they presumed to think lightly of Lysander for not putting out to meet them,—they were to sail back to him and to hoist a shield when midway in their course. And they did just as he had ordered. [28] Straightway Lysander gave a signal to his fleet to sail with all speed, and Thorax with his troops went with the fleet. Now when Conon saw the oncoming attack, he signalled the Athenians to hasten with all their might to their ships. But since his men were scattered here and there, some of the ships had but two banks of oars manned, some but one, and some were entirely empty; Conon's own ship, indeed, and seven others accompanying him, which were fully manned, put to sea in close order, and the Paralus12 with them,13 but all the rest Lysander captured on the beach. He also gathered up on the shore most of the men of their crews; some, however, gained the shelter of the neighbouring strongholds. [29]

But when Conon, fleeing with his nine ships, realized that the Athenian cause was lost, he put in at Abarnis, the promontory of Lampsacus, and there seized the cruising sails that belonged to Lysander's ships; then he sailed away with eight ships to seek refuge with Euagoras in Cyprus, while the Paralus went to Athens with the tidings of what had happened. [30] As for Lysander, he took his prizes and prisoners and everything else back to Lampsacus, the prisoners including Philocles, Adeimantus, and some of the other generals. Furthermore, on the day when he achieved this victory he sent Theopompus, the Milesian buccaneer, to Lacedaemon to report what had happened, and Theopompus arrived and delivered his message on the third day. [31] After this Lysander gathered together the allies and bade them deliberate regarding the disposition to be made of the prisoners. Thereupon many charges began to be urged against the Athenians, not only touching the outrages they had already committed and what they had voted to do if they were victorious in the battle, —namely, to cut off the right hand of every man taken alive,—but also the fact that after capturing two triremes, one a Corinthian and the other an Andrian, they had thrown the crews overboard to a man. And it was Philocles, one of the Athenian generals, who had thus made away with these men. [32] Many other stories were told, and it was finally resolved to put14 to death all of the prisoners who were Athenians, with the exception of Adeimantus, because he was the one man who in the Athenian Assembly had opposed the decree in regard to cutting off the hands of captives; he was charged, however, by some people with having betrayed the fleet. As to Philocles, who threw overboard the Andrians and Corinthians, Lysander first asked him what he deserved to suffer for having begun outrageous practices towards Greeks, and then had his throat cut.

1 See I. vi. 36 f.

2 406 B.C.

3 406 B.C.

4 See I. v. 11-14.

5 406 B.C.

6 405 B.C.

7 405 B.C.

8 405 B.C.

9 The stadium = c. 600 feet.

10 See I. vi. 19 and note.

11 405 B.C.

12 One of the “state triremes,” which were employed for various public missions and as dispatch-boats.

13 405 B.C.

14 405 B.C.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1900)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
405 BC (6)
406 BC (3)
hide References (8 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: