(ORDO NEWS) — During the Peloponnesian War, Sparta and Athens fought fierce naval battles for the Hellespont, now the Dardanelles. As now, it was the most important strategic object; whoever owned the Hellespont controlled almost all trade in the Aegean.
The battles took place predominantly in the summer; during the cold season, the Greeks preferred to sit in their warm homes. Another campaign in 411 BC. e. dragged on until November.
At the end of August, having been defeated at Kinossem and losing 21 ships, the commander of the Spartan fleet, Navarch Mindar, went to Egyptian Abydos. There, licking his wounds, he sent messages asking for help. It was not until November that the Spartan commander Doria came out with reinforcements from Syracuse.
However, the Athenian strategist Alcibiades met him on 18 ships and tried to force a fight, but the Spartans evaded, gathering forces for a decisive battle, and left for the island of Samos. Alcibiades rushed after them in pursuit, but lost among the many Greek islands.
In the meantime, Mindar, having received a message from Dorieus, headed for the Hellespont, where the Spartan ships were safely combined into a large squadron of 97 ships. They were opposed by the Athenian fleet of 74 ships.
The battle began at dawn. Two Greek squadrons converged in the middle of the Hellespont. In the naval battles of the Peloponnesian War, ships were used as rams. First, the captains directed their ships, trying to inflict maximum damage on the enemy and disable their watercraft, and after a hard ramming, the infantry rushed into battle.
All day and until evening, the naval battle at Abydos could not determine the winner. Only when the sun touched the horizon did both armies see the approaching ships.
Each of the surviving and deadly tired warriors hoped that reinforcements on 18 ships had arrived to help them. It was Alcibiades, who in the morning did not catch up with the escaping enemy fleet, and now arrived at the place of the general battle, dispelling the hopes of the Spartans.
The arrival of an Athenian general turned the tide of the battle, and Mindar was forced to retreat to Abydos, where his remaining fleet was sheltered by his Persian allies.
Sparta suffered another defeat at the Hellespont, and lost the opportunity to capture an important strait. But the Peloponnesian War did not end there. Fratricidal battles between Sparta and Athens continued for many more years.
Contact us: [email protected]