The Romans win a Naval Victory -- The Scipios march to the Hellespont -- A Roman Fleet captured by Stratagem -- Fighting at Pergamus -- The Naval Battle of Myonessus
While the Scipios were still making their preparations, Livius, who had charge of the coast defence of Italy and who had been chosen the successor of Atilius, with his own coast-guard ships and some contributed by the Carthaginians and other allies, sailed for the Pirus. Receiving there the fleet from Atilius he set sail with eighty-one decked ships, Eumenes following with fifty of his own, one-half of which had decks. They put in at Phoca, a place belonging to Antiochus, but which received them from fear, and on the following day they sailed out for a naval engagement. Polyxenidas, commanding the fleet of Antiochus, met them with 200 ships much lighter than those opposed to him, which was a great advantage to him, since the Romans were not yet experienced in nautical affairs. Seeing two Carthaginian ships sailing in front, he sent three of his own against them and took them, but found them empty, the crews having leaped overboard. Livius dashed angrily at the three with his flag-ship, much in advance of the rest of the fleet. The enemy being three to one grappled him contemptuously with iron hooks, and when the ships were fastened together the battle was fought as though it were on land. The Romans, being much superior in valor, sprang upon the enemy's ships, overpowered them, and returned, bringing back two ships captured simultaneously by one. This was the prelude to the naval engagement. When the fleets came together the Romans had the best of it by reason of their bodily strength and bravery, but on account of the unwieldy size of their ships they could not capture the enemy, who got away with their nimble craft, and, by rapid flight, took refuge in Ephesus. The Romans repaired to Chios, where twenty-seven Rhodian ships joined them as allies. When Antiochus received the news of this naval fight, he sent Hannibal to Syria to fit out another fleet from Phnicia and Cilicia. When he was returning with it the Rhodians drove him into Pamphylia, captured some of his ships, and blockaded the rest.
In the meantime Publius Scipio arrived in tolia with the consul and received the command of the army from Manius. He scorned the siege of the tolian towns as small business, and allowed the imploring people to send a new embassy to Rome, while he hastened against Antiochus before his brother's consulship should expire. He moved by way of Macedonia and Thrace to the Hellespont, and it would have been a very hard march for him had not Philip of Macedon repaired the roads, entertained him, escorted him, bridged the streams some time before, and furnished him provisions. In return for this the Scipios immediately relieved him from the payment of the remaining money indemnity, having been authorized to do so by the Senate if they should find him zealous. They also wrote to Prusias, king of Bithynia, reminding him that the Romans were in the habit of augmenting the possessions of the kings in alliance with them. They said that, although they had conquered Philip of Macedon, they had allowed him to retain his kingdom, had released his son whom they had held as a hostage, and had remitted the money payment still due. Thereupon Prusias willingly entered into 505 alliance with them against Antiochus. Livius, the commmander of the fleet, when he learned that the Scipios were on the march, left Pausimachus, the Rhodian, with the Rhodian ships and a part of his own, in olis, and himself sailed with the greater part to the Hellespont to assist the army. Sestos and Rhteum, and the harbor of the Achans,506 and several other places surrendered to him. Abydos refused and he laid siege to it.
After the departure of Livius, Pausimachus trained his sailors by repeated exercises, and constructed machines of various kinds. He attached iron pans containing fire to long poles and suspended them over the sea, so as to clear his own ships and fall upon those of the enemy when they approached. While he was thus engaged Polyxenidas, the admiral of Antiochus, who was also a Rhodian, but had been banished for crime, laid a trap for him. He promised to deliver the fleet of Antiochus to him if he would agree to help him in securing readmittance to his own country. Pausimachus suspected the wily rascal and took special pains to guard against him. But after Polyxenidas had written him an autograph letter on the subject of the betrayal and in accord therewith had sailed away from Ephesus on the pretence of procuring corn for the army, Pausimachus, observing the movement and thinking that no one would put his own signature to a letter proposing a betrayal unless he was speaking the truth, felt entire confidence, relaxed his vigilance, and sent his own fleet away to procure corn. Polyxenidas, seeing that his stratagem was successful, reassembled his ships, and sent the pirate Nicander to Samos with a few men to create confusion by getting in the rear of Pausimachus on the land, and himself sailed at midnight, and about daybreak fell upon him while still asleep. Pausimachus, in this sudden and unexpected catastrophe, ordered his men to abandon their ships and defend themselves on land. When Nicander attacked him in the rear he thought that the land had been taken possession of by night not merely by those who were visible, but by a much larger number. So he made another confused rush for his ships. He was foremost in the encounter and the first to fall, fighting bravely. The rest were all captured or killed. Seven of the ships, which were provided with the fire-apparatus, escaped, as no one dared approach them for fear of conflagration. The remaining twenty Polyxenidas towed to Ephesus.
Upon the news of this victory Phoca again changed sides to Antiochus, as did also Samos and Cuma. Livius, fearing for his own ships, which he had left in olis, returned to them in haste. Eumenes hastened to join him, and the Rhodians sent the Romans twenty new ships. In a short time they were all in good spirits and they sailed toward Ephesus prepared for another engagement. As no enemy appeared they divided their naval force into two parts, one half for a long time showing itself on the high sea, while the other landed on the enemy's coast and ravaged it until Nicander attacked them from the interior, took away their plunder, and drove them back to their ships. Then they withdrew to Samos, and Livius' term of office as admiral expired.
About this time Seleucus, the son of Antiochus, ravaged the territory of Eumenes and laid siege to Pergamus, shutting up the soldiers in it. On account of this Eumenes sailed with haste to Ela, the naval station of his kingdom, and with him L. milius Regillus, the successor of Livius as admiral. One thousand foot-soldiers and 100 picked horse had been sent by the Achans as allies to Eumenes. When their commander, Diophanes, from the wall saw the soldiers of Seleucus sporting and drinking in a contemptuous way, he urged the Pergameans to join him in a sally against the enemy. As they would not agree to this he armed his 1000 foot and his 100 horse, led them out of the city under the wall, and stood there quietly. The enemy derided him for a long time on account of the smallness of his force and because he did not dare to fight, but he fell upon them while they were taking their dinner, threw them into confusion, and put their advance guard to flight. While some sprang for their arms, and others tried to bridle their horses or to catch those that ran away or to mount those that would not stand, Diophanes won a most glorious victory, the Pergameans cheering vociferously from the walls, but even then not venturing out. Having killed as many as he could in a brief demonstration and taken a certain number of prisoners with their horses, he quickly returned. The following day he again stationed the Achans under the wall, the Pergameans again not going out with him. Seleucus approached him with a large body of horse and challenged him to battle, but Diophanes did not accept the challenge. He kept his station close under the wall and watched his opportunity. Seleucus remained till midday, when he turned and led his tired horsemen back. Then Diophanes fell upon his rear and threw it into confusion, and after doing all the damage he could, returned forthwith to his place under the wall. By continually stealing upon the enemy in this way whenever they were collecting forage or wood, and inflicting losses upon them, he compelled Seleucus to move away from Pergamus, and finally drove him out of Eumenes' territory altogether.
Not long afterward Polyxenidas and the Romans had a naval engagement near Myonnesus, in which the former had ninety decked ships, and Regillus, the Roman admiral, eighty-three, of which twenty-five were from Rhodes. The latter were ranged by their commander, Eudorus, on the left wing. Seeing Polyxenidas on the other wing extending his line much beyond that of the Romans, and fearing lest it should be surrounded, he sailed rapidly around there with his swift ships and experienced oarsmen, and brought his fire-ships against Polyxenidas first, scattering flames everywhere. The ships of the latter did not dare to meet their assailants on account of the fire, but, sailing round and round, tried to keep out of the way, shipped much water, and were exposed to ramming behind the bows.507 Presently a Rhodian ship struck a Sidonian, and the blow being severe the anchor of the latter was dislodged and stuck in the former, fastening them together. The two ships being immovable the contest between the crews became like a land fight. As many others hastened to the aid of each, the competition on both sides became spirited, and the Roman ships broke through the Antiochean line of battle, which was exposed in this way, and surrounded the enemy before they knew it. When they discovered it there was a flight and a pursuit. Twenty-nine of the Antiochean ships were lost, thirteen of which were captured with their crews. The Romans lost only two vessels. Polyxenidas captured the Rhodian ship and brought it to Ephesus.