Livy, History of Rome, Book 37
Translation: Rev. Canon Roberts


C. Livius was sent to Lycia with two Roman quinqueremes, four Rhodian quadriremes and two undecked ships from Smyrna. His instructions were to visit Rhodes on his way and communicate his plans to the government. The cities which he passed on his voyage-Miletus, Myndus, Halicarnassus, Cnidus and Cos-fully met all his requirements. When he arrived in Rhodes he explained the object of his expedition, and asked their opinion on it. It was universally approved and three additional quadriremes were supplied for his fleet. He then set sail for Patara. A favourable wind carried them right up to the city, and they hoped that the suddenness of their appearance might frighten the citizens into deserting Antiochus. Afterwards the wind veered round and a heavy cross-sea arose. They succeeded by dint of hard rowing in holding the land, but there was no safe anchorage near the city and they could not lie off the harbour mouth in such a rough sea and with night coming on. Sailing past the city walls they made for the port of Phoenicus rather less than two miles away. This harbour afforded a safe shelter from the violence of the waves, but it was surrounded by high cliffs which the townsmen together with the king's troops who formed the garrison promptly occupied. Though the shore was rocky and landing difficult, Livius sent the contingent from Issa and the Smyrnean light infantry to dislodge them. As long as these light troops had only few to deal with they kept up the contest with missiles and desultory skirmishing more than with hand-to-hand fighting, but as more and more came out of the city in a constant stream and at last the whole of the able-bodied population were pouring out, Livius began to feel apprehensive lest his light troops should be cut off and the ships assailed from the shore. So he sent into the fight the whole of his troops, the seamen and even the rowers, armed with whatever weapons they could get hold of. Even then the battle hung in suspense and not only were a good many soldiers killed, but L. Apustius was amongst those who fell in this promiscuous fighting. The Lycians, however, were routed and driven back to their city and the Romans returned, victorious, but with considerable losses, to their ships. All idea of making any further attempt on Patara was abandoned; the Rhodians were sent home and Livius, sailing along the coast of Asia, crossed over to Greece to meet the Scipios who were in Thessaly at the time. Then he returned to Italy.