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25. In this strait the Syracusans and their allies, who had somewhat more than thirty ships, were1 compelled to fight late in the day for a vessel which was sailing through. They put out against sixteen Athenian and eight Rhegian ships; [2] but, being defeated by the Athenians, they made a hasty retreat, each ship as it best could, to their stations at Messenè and near Rhegium; one ship was lost. Night closed the engagement. [3] After this the Locrians quitted the Rhegian territory, and the Syracusans and their2 confederates united their fleet and anchored at the promontory of Pelorus near Messenè, where their land-forces were also stationed. [4] The Athenians and Rhegians, sailing up to them, and seeing that the crews were not there, fell upon the empty vessels, but an iron grapnel was thrown out at them, and they in their turn lost a ship, from which the crew escaped by swimming. [5] Then the Syracusans embarked, and, as they were being towed along the shore towards Messenè, the Athenians again attacked them. Making a sudden twist outwards they struck the first blow at the Athenians, who lost another ship. [6] Thus both in the movement along the coast and in the naval engagement which ensued, the Syracusans proved themselves quite a match for the Athenians, and at length made their way into the harbour at Messenè. [7] The Athenians, hearing that Camarina was to be betrayed to the Syracusans by a certain Archias3 and his confederates, sailed thither. Meanwhile the Messenians, with their whole power by land and with the allied fleet, made war upon Naxos, a Chalcidian city which was their neighbour. [8] On the first day they forced the Naxians to retire within their walls and ravaged the country; [9] on the morrow they sailed round to the mouth of the river Acesines, again ravaged the country, and with their land-forces made incursions right up to the city. But in the meantime a large body of Sicels came down over the heights to assist the Naxians against the Messenians. Perceiving this the besieged took heart, and shouting to one another that the Leontines and their other Hellenic allies were coming to succour them, they sallied out of the city, charged the Messenians, and put them to flight with a loss of more than a thousand men; [10] the rest with difficulty escaped, for the barbarians fell upon them in the roads and destroyed most of them. The allied fleet, putting into Messenè, broke up and returned home. Whereupon the Leontines and their allies, in concert with the Athenians, marched against the now enfeebled Messenè. The Athenian fleet attempted an assault of the harbour while the army attacked the city. [11] But the Messenians and a Locrian garrison under Demoteles, which after their disaster at Naxos had been left to protect the place, suddenly falling upon them put to flight the main body of the Leontines with great loss; whereupon the Athenians disembarked, came to their aid, and, falling on the Messenians while they were still in confusion, chased them back to the city. They then erected a trophy and retired to Rhegium. [12] After this the Hellenes in Sicily went on fighting against one another by land; but the Athenians took no part in their operations.

1 Partial defeat of the Syracusan fleet by the Athenians and Rhegians in the straits of Messenè.

2 Partial success of the Syracusans, who take two Athenian ships.

3 Unsuccessful attempts of the Messenians upon Naxos, and of the Leontines and Athenians upon Messenè. The Athenians for a time withdraw from the contest.

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load focus Greek (1942)
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