For the barbarian Bohemund, whom we have mentioned so frequently, was preparing for his attack on the Roman throne by collecting an immense army, and on the other side this party of pretenders rose against the Emperor, as we said before in the preface. The originators of the conspiracy were four in all, by surname Anemades, and their Christian names were Michael, Leo, . . . and . . . They were brothers, firstly by birth, and secondly by disposition; for they all agreed on this point, to kill the Emperor and seize the sceptre.
Others of the nobility associated themselves with them, namely, the Antiochi of illustrious race, and the two called Exazeni, that is Ducas and Hyaleas, the boldest men in battle that ever were, and besides them Nicetas Castamonites and a certain Curticius and George Basilacius. These were all leaders in the military party, and of the Senate there was John Solomon. Because of the latter’s superfluity of riches and brilliant lineage, Michael, the
At home disaffection was rife, and abroad rebellions never ceased. And at a time, when the Emperor had not yet overcome the difficulties at home, all the world outside burst into a blaze just as if Fortune were making the barbarians abroad and the pretenders at home spring up simultaneously like the seff-grown Giants. And this in spite of the Emperor’s administrating and managing the government in a very peaceful and humane way, and overwhelming everybody with kindnesses.
For some he gladdened with honours and promotions, and never ceased enriching by handsome gifts; while as for the barbarians of whatever country they were, he never gave them any pretext for war nor enforced the necessity of it upon them, but when they made a tumult he checked them ; for it is bad generals who in a time of universal peace purposely excite their neighbours to war. For peace is the end of every war, but to choose war in every case instead of peace for the sake of anything . . . and al
Bolcanus meanwhile, who was very guileful, at once opened negotiations for peace with the Emperor and sent him the hostages he had demanded. The Emperor lingered on in those parts for a year and two months, and then he was informed that Bohemund was still staying about in Lombardy and as winter was already setting in, he dismissed all the soldiers to their homes and himself returned to Thessalonica. Whilst he was journeying to Thessalonica, the first son of the prince John Porphyrogenitus was born at Balabista and a little girl was born at the same time. The Emperor attended the services of the commemoration of the Proto-martyr Demetrius in Thessalonica and then returned to the Capital.
Here the following incident occurred. Nearly in the middle of the Forum of Constantine there was a bronze statue looking towards the East standing on a conspicuous purple pillar and holding a sceptre in its right hand, and in its left a sphere fashioned of bronze. This was said to be the st
The Emperor did not as a rule pay much attention to such matters, for he was of opinion that they arose from some natural cause, yet even he questioned the men who understood these things; and summoned Basilius (this man shewed great devotion to the Emperor), who had lately received the honourable post of Prefect of Byzantium, and consulted him about the comet which had appeared. Basilius said he would defer his answer till the next day, and he returned to his lodging (which was a chapel built long ago in honour of the evangelist John) and watched the comet when the sun was about setting. While he was thus worried and wearied with calculations, he happened to fall asleep, and in his sleep beheld the saint dressed in priestly robes.
All overjoyed, he fancied he ‘saw no illusive dream, but a reality.’ Hence on recognising the saint he was fearful and begged him timidly to make known to him the message of the comet. And the saint replied that it foretold the movem
And he took the Empress with him partly for his own sake and the reasons we have given, and partly because there was no danger at the moment, and the time for war was not yet at hand. The Empress took with her all the gold and coined money of other quality she had as well as some of her other precious possessions and left the city. And throughout the journey she gave with lavish hand to the beggars, the men clad in leather and the naked; no one who asked of her went away empty-handed. Even when she reached the tent appointed for her, she did not immediately enter and lie down to rest, but threw it open and gave the beggars free access. For to this class she was very accessible, and allowed herself to be both seen and heard by them.
And she did not only give money to the poor, but also good advice. If she noticed any of strong physique who led a lazy life, she urged them to find work and employment and earn the necessaries of life in that way, rather than grow lax through s
These were the reasons that thrust aside this woman’s innate shyness, and gave her the bold eyes of a man (or encouraged her to meet the eyes of men); yet even in these circumstances she did not lose her usual modesty, but by her quiet looks and silence and by her self-respect remained little known to the majority. The only thing that shewed the Empress was following the army was a litter borne by two mules and covered with the imperial curtains, for the rest her divine body was concealed from view. One thing alone all acknowledged, namely, that some most excellent foresight conducted everything to do with the Emperor’s malady, and that she was his tireless guardian, an ever-wakeful eye which never slumbered over its duties.
And such of us as were well-disposed to the Emperor aided and abetted the mistress, my mother, in her care to the utmost of our respective ability, nor did we ever relax. I have written this especially for those who are fond of scoffing and
Similarly the philosopher Theano, when her forearm once became uncovered and somebody jokingly said, “What a beautiful forearm !” replied “Yes, but not a public one.” And so the Empress, my mother, the image of dignity, the temple of holiness, did not only dislike shewing her arm or eyes to the public, but did not even like her voice to be carried to unaccustomed ears. Such a wonderful example of modesty was she! But since, as it is said, not even the gods can fight against necessity, she was obliged to accompany the Emperor on his frequent expeditions.
Her natural modesty would have kept her at home in the palace, but her devotion and ardent love for the Emperor drove her out of it even against her will for various reasons, the first of which was that the illness, which had attacked his feet, necessitated very constant care. For in consequence of this gouty affection, the Emperor had piercing pains and would not submit to anybody’s touch as r
It was for this reason that my father appointed him Stratopedarch of the whole East and promoted him to very high honours, especially after he had had a proof of his courage. Once when the Emperor, my father, joined battle with Robert, as we have related, in the heat of that battle a certain Frank exceedingly tall, directed his spear, spurred on his horse and fell upon Aspietes like a thunderbolt. The latter grasping his sword received the Frank’s terrific onslaught and was wounded most severely, for the spear pierced his lung and passed out through his spine.
However Aspietes was not perturbed by the blow nor unhorsed, but settling himself more firmly in his seat, struck the barbarian on his helmet and cut both the helmet and the head in half. And then both f ell from their horses, the Frank dead and Aspietes still breathing. His attendants picked him up, all drained of blood, tended him well and then carried him to the Emperor, shewed him the spear and the wound an
And yet he was very brave and a most valiant soldier; but when he was put into Cilicia, far away from a master’s hand and had full authority, he abandoned himself to all sorts of wantonness. Consequently when the moment of the siege arrived, that wretched Armenian, who was steadily growing more effeminate and leading a loose life, shewed that he had become quite helpless in face of that most patient soldier, Tancred. For his hearing was not disturbed by the thunder of his threats and when Tancred came wielding the thunderbolt through scenes of devastation to Cilicia, he did not even glance up at the lightning.
Tancred suddenly led out his enormous army from Antioch and, forming it into two divisions, sent half overland to the towns of Mopsus, the other half he embarked on triremes and took them by sea into the mouth of the river Saron. This river runs down from the Taurus mountains, and flows between the two cities of Mopsus, the one in ruins, the other newly built,
He did this, firstly because they themselves had already begun to wish to return home, and secondly, in order that they might refute the tales which Bohemund had been publishing about him. But he himself departed hurriedly for the city of Thettalus, partly in order to train the recruits in military exercises, and partly to hinder Bohemund from his reputed desire of crossing from Lombardy into our Empire. The Counts when they left became most trustworthy evidence against Bohemund, they called him a cheat who never spoke the truth even in ordinary cases, they often refuted him to his face and denounced him in every town and village, and were in themselves credible witnesses.
Cantacuzenus and Monastras
II As Bobemund’s crossing was being spoken of on all sides and the Emperor recognized that he still required many more forces to have an army of proportionate size to oppose to the Frankish masses, he did not delay or hesitate, but sent for the men from Ccelo-