IT has already been stated that the Peloponnesian fleet of 94 triremes, having remained not less than 80 days idle at Rhodes, had come back to Milêtus towards the end of March, with the intention of proceeding to the rescue of Chios, which a portion of the Athenian armament under Strombichidês had been for some time besieging. The main Athenian fleet at Samos, however, prevented Astyochus from effecting this object, since he did not think it advisable to hazard a general battle. He was influenced partly by the bribes, partly by the delusions of Tissaphernês, who sought only to wear out both parties by protracted war, and who now professed to be on the point of bringing up the Phenician fleet to his aid. Astyochus had in his fleet the ships which had been brought over for coöperation with Pharnabazus at the Hellespont, and which were thus equally unable to reach their destination. To meet this difficulty, the Spartan Derkyllidas was sent with a body of troops by land to the Hellespont, there to join Pharnabazus, in acting against Abydos and the neighbouring dependencies of Athens. Abydos, connected with Milêtus by colonial ties, set the example of revolting from Athens to Derkyllidas and Pharnabazus, an example followed, two days afterwards, by the neighbouring town of Lampsakus.
It does not appear that there was at this time any Athenian force in the Hellespont; and the news of this danger to the empire in a fresh quarter, when conveyed to Chios, alarmed Strombichidês, the commander of the Athenian besieging armament. The Chians, having recently increased their fleet to 36 triremes, against the Athenian 32 by the arrival of 12 ships (obtained from Milêtus during the absence of Astyochus at Rhodes), had sallied out and fought an obstinate naval battle against the Athenians, with some advantage. Nevertheless Strombichidês felt compelled immediately to carry away 24