The siege of Methymne in 406 was a second
success for the Peloponnesian fleet commanded by
saw the loss of a second Athenian stronghold on the coast of Asia Minor.
Callicratidas had been appointed to replace the popular commander
Lysander, and had not been
greeted with any enthusiasm by his new fleet. He eventually managed to take
command of the fleet, which now contained 140 ships, including fifty newly
arrived from Allied states. His first move was to capture the fortress of
Delphinium on Chios, and he then moved on to attack the Athenian stronghold of
Methymne on Lesbos. This city was held by a stronger Athenian garrison than
Delphinium, and held out against a number of assaults.
According to Diodorus Siculus the city fell after some of its inhabitants
betrayed it to the Peloponnesians, although Callicratidas is described as
having broken inside the walls. Xenophon doesn't mention the treachery and
instead has the city fall to an assault, although this could have been aided by
unmentioned help from within the city. Callicratidas behaved generously after
the fall of the city. Often during the Great Peloponnesian War the entire
population of a city was sold into slavery after a storm, but on this occasion
only the captured Athenians and existing slaves were sold. Other free-born
captives were freed, and control of the city was returned to its inhabitants.
In the aftermath of this success the Peloponnesian fleet nearly intercepted an
Athenian fleet under Conon.
Nearly half of the Athenian fleet was lost, but the remaining ships managed to
escape into Mytilene, where it was blockaded by Callicratidas.