), the Spartan high admiral (ναυάρχος
) in the second year of the Peloponnesian war, B. C. 430, made a descent upon Zacynthus with 1000 Lacedaemonian hoplites; but, after ravaging the island, was obliged to retire without reducing it to submission. Cnemus was continued in his office of admiral next year, though the regular term, at least a few years subsequently, was only one year.
In the second year of his command (B. C. 429), he was sent with 1000 hoplites again to co-operate with the Ambracians, who wished to subdue Acarnania and to revolt from Athens.
He put himself at the head of the Ambracians and their barbarian allies, invaded Acarnania, and penetrated to Stratus, the chief town of the country.
But here his barbarian allies were defeated by the Ambracians, and he was obliged to abandon the expedition altogether. Meantime the Peloponnesian fleet, which was intended to co-operate with the land forces, had been defeated by Phormio with a far smaller number of ships. Enraged at this disaster, and suspecting the incompetency of the commanders, the Lacedaemonians sent out Timocrates, Brasidas, and Lycophron to assist Cnemus as a council, and with instructions to prepare for fighting a second battle.
After refitting their disabled vessels and obtaining reinforcements from their allies, by which their number was increased to seventy-five, while Phormio had only twenty, the Lacedaemonian commanders attacked the Athenians off Naupactus, and though the latter at first lost several ships, and were nearly defeated, they eventually gained the day, and recovered, with one exception, all the ships which had been previously captured by the enemy.
After this, Cnemus, Brasidas, and the other Peloponnesian commanders formed the design of surprising Peiraeeus, and would probably have succeeded in their attempt, only their courage failed them at the time of execution, and they sailed to Salamis instead, thereby giving the Athenians notice of their intention. (Thuc. 2.66
; Diod. 12.47