Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Now the Athenians saw the moment to use their superior seamanship when and where it could count.

The Peleponnesian left  were following the Athenian right but unable to catch them. When they had enough sea room and perhapss saw their pursuers tiring or falling into disorder, the Athenians turned on them.

The Athenian centre squadron had beacked onto shore and abandoned their ships. They were followed up onto land by the crews of the Peleponnesian centre and some sort of scrappy land battle developed.

The Athenian left held their own against the Syracusans - maybe seeking some revenge for the Sicilian debacle.

Now it was the Athenians who delivered the periplous on the Peleponnesians! They turned to port and came round onto the rear of the enemy fleet. The Peleponnesian left and centre were disordered and caught at a disadvantage, the perfect situation for effective ram attacks.

It may be significant that this manouvre was executed by the Athenian commander, Thrasybulus, maybe with his best ships against the Peleponnesian commander with his fastest ships. Putting the enemy commander out of the fight - Alexander style - may have contributed a lot to the loss of heart by the Peleponnesian fleet who had already had success in routing the Athenian centre.

Many of the Peleponnesian fleet simply fled before the Athenians as their battle line was rolled-up. They fled north to Abydos or to take refuge in the mouth of the river Midius. The Athenians lost 15 ships and the Peleponnesian fleet, 21 ships. Being outnumbered, and having their centre so severely mauled did not allow the Athenians to take best advantage of their victory but a demonstration that Athens was still supreme at sea was more significant than the casualty list.

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