But in the meantime he received a message from Caunus, informing him that the twenty-seven1
ships and his Lacedaemonian advisers had arrived. He thought that everything should give way to the importance of convoying so large a reinforcement which would secure to the Lacedaemonians greater command of the sea, and that he must first of all provide for the safe passage of the commissioners who were to report on his conduct.
So he at once gave up his intended expedition to Chios and sailed for
Caunus. As he coasted along he made a descent on the island of Cos Meropis. The city was unfortified and had been overthrown by an earthquake, the greatest which has ever happened within our memory. The citizens had fled into the mountains;
so he sacked the town and overran and despoiled the country, but let go the free inhabitants whom he found. From Cos he came by night to Cnidus, and was prevailed upon by the importunity of the Cnidians, instead of disembarking his men, to sail at once, just as he was, against twenty Athenian ships with which Charminus (one of the generals at Samos) was watching for the twenty-seven ships expected from Peloponnesus, being those which Astyochus was going to escort.
The Athenians at Samos had heard from Melos of their coming, and Charminus was cruising off the islands of Symè, Chalcè, and Rhodes, and on the coast of Lycia; he had by this time discovered that they were at Caunus.