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The Alexiad: Book XIV

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Turks, Franks, Cumans and Manichaeans (1108-15)


I Thus these matters were brought to an end conformably with the Emperor's wishes and Bohemund ratified by oaths the agreement which has been set out at length above with the holy Gospels in front of him and the lance, with which the lawless soldiers pierced our Saviour's side. Then he asked to be allowed to return to his own country, and placed all his forces in the power and at the discretion of the Emperor, requesting at the same time that they should pass the winter within the Roman dominions and be supplied abundantly with all necessaries, and that when the winter was over and they had recovered from their many toils, they should be allowed to go wherever they wanted. These requests he made and the Emperor immediately gave his consent to them. After being then and there honoured with the rank of Sebastus and receiving a large sum of money he returned to his own army. And Constantine Euphorbenus, usually called Catacalon, accompanied him so that no injury should be done to him on the road by any soldiers of ours, but more especially to take forethought for a camp for the Frankish army in some suitable and safe spot, and to listen to, and grant, any requests the soldiers might make. When Bohemund reached his own camp and had handed over his army to the men sent with him by the Emperor for this purpose, he embarked on a ship with one bank of oars and landed in Lombardy. He lived only six months longer and then paid the debt that all must pay.

The Emperor was detained for some time by his care for the Franks; and when he had arranged everything satisfactorily for them, he took the road home to Byzantium. But after his return he did not give himself entirely to rest and repose, for, when he reflected how the barbarians had laid the whole sea-coast of Smyrna in ruins right up to Attalia, he thought it would be a disgrace if he could not restore the cities to their pristine state, bring back their former prosperity [360] and repeople them with the inhabitants who were now scattered far and wide. Not but what he was also concerned about the city of Attalus but he gave much thought to it. There was a man, Philocales Eumathius, who was very energetic, and not only belonged to the nobility by birth, but excelled most in prudence; he was liberal in mind and hand, faithful to God and his friends, singularly devoted to his masters but absolutely uninitiated in military training, for he neither knew how to hold a bow and draw its string to his breast, or how to protect himself with a shield. In other ways he was very clever as, for example, in setting ambuscades and in worsting the enemy by various devices. This man went to the Emperor and earnestly besought him to give him the governorship of Attalia. Knowing the man's subtlety in inventions and undertakings and the good luck which always attended him (whatever that is or is supposed to be), for he never put his hand to any undertaking without attaining his object, the Emperor let himself be persuaded by these reasons, and gave him a good supply of troops, and also many suggestions and bade him above all be very discreet in his enterprises. On reaching Abydus Eumathius at once sailed across the intervening straits and reached Atramytium.[*=Adramytium] This was formerly a very populous town ; but when Tzachas was laying waste the country round Smyrna, he laid it in ruins and rased it to the ground. On observing the complete disappearance of this town which looked as if man had never dwelt in it, Eumathius forthwith rebuilt it and restored it to its former appearance and recalled the inhabitants from all sides, at least such of the original ones as had escaped, and sent for many from other parts and settled them in the town, and thus gave it back its former appearance. Then he enquired about the Turks and learnt that they were at the moment near Lampe, so he separated a detachment from his forces and sent it to meet them. They attacked them and after a fierce battle carried off the victory without delay; and they treated the Turks so cruelly that they even threw newborn infants into kettles of boiling water; they killed many and others they took alive, and returned to Eumathius with rejoicing. The surviving Turks put on black clothes as they wished to represent their misfortunes to their countrymen even by their garments, and travelled through all the country occupied by the Turks and with shrill lamentations, related the horrors that had befallen them and by their very dress [361] they moved all to pity and roused them up to avenge them. Eumathius who had betaken himself to Philadelphia was rejoicing at the success of his enterprise. But a certain leading satrap, Asan by name, who was in possession of Cappadocia and treated the inhabitants like purchased slaves, heard of the calamity that had befallen the Turks of whom we have spoken, so collected his forces, sent for more from other places and brought up his army to twenty-four thousand, and then marched out to meet Eumathius. Now Eumathius, being a clever man, as already said, was not living in unconcern in Philadelphia, nor had he fallen into idle ways directly be got inside its walls, but kept on sending out scouts in all directions and to prevent their becoming careless, he sent a second lot after the first to rouse them into wakefulness, with the result that they watched all night long and kept an eye on all the by-ways and plains. One of these scouts saw the Turkish army in the distance and came running to bring Eumathius the tidings. As he was quick-witted and swift at grasping the needful and in giving effect to his decisions without a moment's loss, he immediately bade all the gates of the city to be made secure because he felt that his forces were insufficient against such numbers, and ordered that nobody at all was to be allowed to go up to the walls, or shout or play on the flute or lyre. In a word he gave such an appearance to the town, that passers-by would have thought it was quite uninhabited.

On reaching Philadelphia Asan encircled it with his army and remained there for three days. But as not a single inhabitant could be seen looking out, and the gates were securely fastened and he had neither siege-engines nor catapults, he concluded that Eumathius' army was small and for this reason did not dare to venture out, so he condemned those within severely for weakness and turned in another direction in utter contempt of Eumathius. Consequently he dispatched ten thousand of his own army against Celbianum, and . . . others toward Smyrna and Nymphaeum, and the rest to ChliarA and Pergamus; he sent them all out to forage and himself followed the troops that were going to Smyrna. Philocales, however, guessing Asan's intention, sent all the forces he had in pursuit of the Turks. They followed up the division that was proceeding to Celbianum and surprised them sleeping unheedingly, so attacked them at dawn of day and cut them down without mercy; and also liberated all the prisoners taken by the [362] Turks. Afterwards they pursued the Turks marching to Smyrna and Nymphaeum; some of the troops ran on ahead and opened battle with them from the front and the two flanks and routed them completely. They killed many and took many captive ; the few that were left f ell into the streams of the Maeander in their flight and were immediately drowned. This is a river in Phrygia, the most winding of all rivers, for it twists hither and thither the whole way. Emboldened by their second victory they pursued the third division, but could do nothing more as the Turks had already travelled on too far ahead. They therefore returned to Philadelphia. When Eumathius saw them and heard how gallantly they had fought and made a point of not letting one of the enemy slip through their fingers, he rewarded their. lavishly and promised them further favours in the future.

II After Bohemund's death Tancred kept a tight hold on Antioch for he considered that it belonged to him, so he kept the Emperor entirely out of it. The Emperor meanwhile reflected that the barbarian Franks had broken their oaths in the case of this city, that he himself had spent a great deal of money and suffered many inconveniences in transporting those myriad hosts from the Western countries into Asia, in spite of his finding them a stiff-necked and sharp-tempered people. He had also sent many Roman armies out with them to fight against the Turks, and this for two reasons, firstly, to prevent their falling a prey to the Turkish sword (for being Christians he was concerned for them), and secondly, in order that they with our co-operation should destroy some of the Ishmaelites' cities, and give others under a truce to the Roman Emperors, and in this way the portions of the Romans would be enlarged. But no good had accrued to the Roman rule from these innumerable toils and dangers and gifts, for the Franks kept a tight hold on the city of Antioch, and did not give us back the other cities either so he felt he could not bear it nor restrain himself any longer from returning evil for evil and taking revenge for their horrible inhumanity. For that Tancred should enjoy those countless presents and those heaps of gold and the Emperor's unending care of the Franks and the quantities of armies lie had sent as auxiliaries to them, whilst the Roman kingdom reaped no benefit from all this and the Franks considered the prize their own and disregarded and counted as naught the treaties and oaths they had made with him-this thought [363] rent his soul asunder and he did not know how to bear the insult. Consequently he sent ambassadors to Tancred the governor of Antioch, to accuse him of injustice and the violation of oaths and to say that he would no longer submit to being despised by him but would take vengeance upon him for his ingratitude to the Romans.. For it would be disgraceful, and more than disgraceful, if after spending countless sums of money, and sending the finest regiments of the Roman army with them to take the whole of Syria and Antioch itself, and striving with all his heart and might to enlarge the boundaries of the Roman Empire, it should be Tancred who luxuriated in his, the Emperor's, money and labours.

When the Emperor's ambassadors brought this message, that mad and demented barbarian would not listen, even with the tips of his ears, to the truth of their words and the free speech of the ambassadors, but acted like the men of his race and being puffed up with vanity boasted that he would place his throne above the stars and threatened to bore a hole through the walls of Babylon with the tip of his spear, and sang the praise of his power for being undaunted and irresistible in onslaught, and reiterated that, no matter what happened, he would never give up Antioch, not even if the soldiers set to fight against him had hands of fire. He further likened himself to Ninus, the great king of Assyria, and said he was a big, irresistible giant, a dead weight standing upon the earth, and he considered all the Romans ants and the weakest of all creatures. The ambassadors left him and returned and after they related the Frank's mad talk, the Emperor became filled with rage and could hardly be restrained but wanted to start for Antioch on the spot. He then convoked the men of the highest repute in military circles and all the members of the senate and asked them for their advice. They immediately and unanimously rejected the idea of the Emperor's marching against Tancred. They said that he ought first to win over the other Counts who were masters of the towns round about Antioch, and also Balduinus, King of Jerusalem, and find out their opinions and whether they would be willing to assist him in an expedition against Antioch. Afterwards if he were sure that they were all hostile to Tancred, he could advance against him with full confidence ; but, if not, the matter of Antioch must be managed in some different way. The Emperor commended this advice and shortly summoned Manuel Butumites and another man [364] who knew the Latin language and sent them to the Counts and to the King of Jerusalem, after giving them full instructions on the subject about which they were to converse with the Counts and also with Balduinus himself, the King of Jerusalem. As it was imperative that they should have money to use in their mission to these Counts, because the Latins are so covetous, he handed Butumites orders for Eumathius Philocales, at that time Duke of Cyprus, telling the latter to supply them with as many ships as they needed; he also bade him give them plenty of money of all kinds, of every shape and coinage and of varying qualities to be used as gifts for the Counts. He also enjoined on the men mentioned, more especially on Manuel Butumites, that after receiving the money from Philocales, they should anchor off Tripoli and visit the Count Pelctranus,[*=Bertram, son of Raymond of Toulouse] the son of the Isangeles who has often been mentioned in this history, and remind him of the faith which his father had always kept with the Emperor, and hand him the Emperor's letters at the same time. And they were to say to him, "You must not shew yourself inferior to your own father, but preserve faith with us just as he did. I would have you know that I am going to Antioch to take my vengeance on that man who has violated the solemn oaths he made to God and to me. Be careful not to give him assistance in any way and do your best to induce the Counts to pledge their faith to us so that they may not for some reason or other espouse Tancred's cause." So they made their way to Cyprus and, after collecting the money there and as many ships as they wanted, they sailed straight to Tripoli. They moored their ships in its harbour, disembarked and had an interview with Pelctranus and recited to him the messages with which the Emperor had charged them. They found him very wefl-inchned and ready to fulfil any wish of the Emperor's, and willing even to suffer death for his sake if that should be necessary, and he promised that when the Emperor arrived in the neighbourhood of Antioch, he would come down and do obeisance to him. Then with his consent they deposited the money they had brought with them in the episcopal palace of Tripoli, as the Emperor had suggested. For he feared that if the Counts found out they were carrying money with them, they would take the money but send them away empty-handed, and use the money for themselves and Tancred. He therefore judged it wiser that the ambassadors should first go [ 365] empty-handed and test the Counts' feelings but also tell them how much the Emperor had destined for them, and promise the gift of the money and require an oath from them and, if in the meanwhile they shewed themselves willing to yield to the Emperor's demands, then only to hand the money over to them. So Butumites and his fellows deposited the money in the bishop's residence at Tripoli, as we have said. But on Balduinus' hearing of these ambassadors' arrival in Tripoli, he at once, through desire for the money, sent his own cousin Simon to forestall their coming and invite them. They with Pelctranus' consent left the money behind there and accompanied Simon who had been sent from Jerusalem and found Balduinus besieging Tyre. He received them with pleasure and shewed them much friendliness, and as they had reached him on the Carnival, he kept them there through the whole of Lent Whilst he, as we said, was besieging Tyre.

Now this city was protected by impregnable walls as well as by three outworks which enclosed it in a circle. For the outmost circle encompassed the second, and this in its turn the innermost or third one. They were like three circles, enclosing each other and set like girdles round the city. Balduinus knew well that he must first destroy these outworks and only then take the city; for they were like corselets placed in front of Tyre and hindered the siege. He had already destroyed this first and second belt by means of machines of destruction and was at work on the third, but after tearing down its battlements he had grown idle, for he could have taken this one too, if he had set his mind to it. But, thinking that after this he could ascend into the city by the help of a few ladders, he lost interest in the siege, just as if he already had the town in his power. This fact brought salvation to the Saracens; and the man who had had victory almost in his hand, was utterly beaten off from it, and the men who were inside the net, escaped from its meshes. For the interval spent by Balduinus in idleness was most diligently used by them as a time of recovery. They devised the following cunning trick. To all seeming they had an eye to making terms of peace and sent embassies to Balduinus about it; but in reality while the terms of peace were under discussion, they were preparing their defence, and while they kept him buoyed up with hope they were forming machinations against him. For having noticed his great slackness in the war, and also that the soldiers outside the walls had lost heart, one night they filled a number of clay [366] jars full of liquid pitch, and hurled them down on to the engines standing round the city. As the jars were necessarily broken to pieces in their fall, the liquid was poured all over the woodwork, and on to that they threw lighted torches. Then they brought other jars containing a great deal of naphtha which caught the fire and made the flames shoot up into the air and converted the Franks' engines into ashes. And the light of the breaking day mingled with the light from the towering blaze of the wooden sheds. Thus Balduinus! soldiers reaped the fruits of the carelessness in which they had indulged and of which they repented now that the smoke and fire shewed them the result. Some of the soldiers standing near the sheds were taken captive, six in number, and on seeing them the Tyrian governor had their heads cut off and shot into Balduinus' camp from catapults. When the soldiers saw the fire and the heads they were seized with panic, jumped on their horses and fled as if utterly terrified by those heads, although Balduinus rode to and fro among them and called back the fugitives and tried to embolden them in every way. But 'he was singing to deaf men'; for once they had abandoned themselves to flight, they kept steadily on their course and seemed swifter than any bird. And the goal of their course was the fortress locally called Ace,[*=Acre] for that appeared to those cowardly runagates like a tower of refuge. Then in despair and at an utter loss Balduinus, though unwillingly, followed the fleeing soldiers and likewise ran away, to the city mentioned. Meanwhile Buturnites; embarked on his Cyprian ships (they were twelve in all) and sailed along the coast towards Ace, and there met Balduinus and then reported to him all the Emperor had ordered him to say ; but he supplemented his speech by saying that the Emperor had already reached Seleucia. This was not true at all but just an artifice to frighten the barbarian and make him dismiss him quicl4y. But Balduinus was not deceived by this dodge, and rebuked Butumites sternly for having lied. For he had already received information from elsewhere of the Emperor's doings, namely that he had gone down to the long coast, suppressed the pirate-ships which were ravaging those shores, and then returned home from there because he was ill (about this we will speak more in detail later on). With this information Balduinus contradicted Butumites, and after censuring him for his false statement, said, "You must come with me to the Holy Sepulchre and from there I will send ambassadors [367] to carry our decisions to the Emperor." Directly they reached the Holy City, he demanded the money which the Emperor had sent. Butumites said, " If you promise that you will help the Emperor against Tancred and thus keep the oath which you made with him when you passed through, then you shall receive the money which was sent for you without delay." Balduinus however was anxious to get the money although eager to help Tancred and not the Emperor, and when he did not get it, he was annoyed. The whole barbarian race is like that, it is always agape for presents and money, but is very little inclined to carry out the purpose for which the money is given. So he merely handed Buturnites some letters and dismissed him. The ambassadors also met the Count Iatzulinus,[Joscelin de Courtney] on the day of our Lord's resurrection, who had come to worship at the Holy Sepulchre, and discussed what was fitting with him. But when they discovered that he answered in the same strain as Balduinus, they left Jerusalem without having accomplished anything.

When they found that Pelctranus was no longer among the living, they asked for the moneys they had deposited in the episcopal palace. But Pelctranus' son and the bishop of Tripoli delayed giving them back the money for some time, so at last the ambassadors threatened them saying, " If you do not give back the money to us, you are not true servants of the Emperor and you are proved not to observe the same fidelity to him as Pelctranus and his father Isangeles did. Very well then, you shall not have an abundant supply of necessaries from Cyprus in the future, nor shall the Duke of Cyprus come to your aid, and then you will perish by famine." After they had 'let out every reef,' as the proverb says, and tried first honeyed words and then threats and yet could not persuade Pelctranus' son to give up the money, they judged it expedient to make him take a solemn oath of fidelity to the Emperor, and then to give him only the gift destined for his father, consisting of gold and silver stamped money and garments of divers kinds. On receipt of these the son took the solemn oath of fidelity to the Emperor. The rest of the money they took back to Eumathius and with it purchased well-bred horses from Damascus and Edessa and even Arabia. From there they crossed the Syrian sea and gulf of Pamphylia and then gave up sailing as they considered the land safer than the sea, and made their way to the Chersonese where [368] the Emperor was, and after crossing the Hellespont they reached the Emperor.

III And now troubles fell upon him one after the other, like a snowstorm, for at sea the chiefs of Pisa, Genoa and Lombardy were preparing to lay waste all the sea-board by means of their fleet; and on land in the East the Ameer Saisan [*=or Melek] was again trying to get hold of Philadelphia and the maritime districts. Consequently the Emperor decided he must leave the capital and go to some place from which he could carry on the war against both parties. So he went to the Chersonese and called up troops from all parts both from land and sea, and set apart a goodly army to go over the Scamander to Atramytium or even Thracesium and stay there. At that time the governor of Philadelphia was Constantine Gabras who had sufficient men to garrison the town; the semi-barbarian Monastras (who has often been mentioned in this history) held Pergamus and Chliara and the towns round about it, and all the other towns along the sea were governed by men renowned for daring and military experience. The Emperor sent them frequent messages exhorting them to keep a constant watch and to send out spies in all directions to observe the barbarians' skirmishings and bring their news quickly. Having thus made things in Asia secure he turned his attention to the war at sea ; he ordered some of the sailors to anchor their ships in the harbours of Madytus and Coeli and keep a steady watch on the straits opposite and also make excursions with light cruisers and keep a continual look-out over the sea-ways in expectation of the Frankish fleet. Others were to sail among the islands and guard them without at the same time overlooking the Peloponnese, but to give that too the requisite protection.

As he wished to stay in those parts for a considerable time, he had some dwellings constructed in a suitable spot and spent the winter there. When the fully-equipped fleet from Lombardy and the other places loosed its cables and sailed forth, the admiral of it picked out five biremes and sent them out to catch some ships and from them learn the Emperor's whereabouts. But when they reached Abydos, it fell out that only one ship returned to the man who sent them forth, as the rest were captured, crews and all. From this ship the admirals of the said fleets learnt of the Emperor's doings, namely that after making everything very secure on land [369] and sea, he was wintering in the Chersonese in order to hearten up all his men. Since they were unable to fight successfully against the Emperor's subtle plans, they put their hands to their rudders and went off in another direction. One Frank alone from among these admirals took his own monoreme which was very swift and sailed away to Balduinus. He found him besieging Tyre and related to him all that we have just said about the Emperor (I fancy he had sailed with the other admirals' consent); and also told him that the Roman fleet had succeeded in capturing the scout-ships, as told above. And he even confessed without a blush that when the leaders of the Frankish fleet discovered that the Emperor was all ready to meet them, they retreated, thinking it better to return without accomplishing anything than to fight with the Roman fleet and be beaten. All these things that Frank, who was nervous and still in dread of the Roman fleet, recounted to Balduinus. That then is what happened to the Franks at sea; but on land things did not settle down without distresses and worries for the Emperoi. For a certain Michael from Amastris who was the governor of Acrunus, was meditating defection and took the town and began to ravage the surrounding country terribly. On being informed of this the Emperor sent George, the son of Decanus, against him with an adequate force. After a siege of three months George took the city and sent the rebel to the Emperor without delay. The Emperor entrusted the care of the fortress to another man, but at Michael he shot a severe glance, threatened him with many things and apparently had doomed him to death; thus he instilled great fear into the man, and yet very soon relieved the soldier of his dread. For the sun had not set below the horizon before the prisoner was a free man, and the man condemned to death was the recipient of many gifts. Such was my father, the Emperor, on all occasions, and yet later on he met with much ingratitude from the whole world. Just in the same way our universal Benefactor was once treated, our Lord who rained down manna in the wilderness, gave food to men in the mountains and made them pass through the sea with dry feet, and yet later He was set at naught and insulted and beaten and finally condemned to be crucified by the impious. But as I write this my tears gush out before my words, and I long to speak of these men and make a list of the ungrateful, but I restrain my tongue and beating heart and continually repeat to myself the words of the poet, "Bear up, O heart, for thou [370] hast borne more horrible things already I " This is enough about that ungrateful soldier.

The Sultan Saisan sent troops from Chorosan, some of whom marched through the lands of Sinaus, and the others through what is properly called Asia. On receipt of this news, Constantine Gabras, then Governor of Philadelphia, collected his troops and overtook the Turks at Celbianum; he was the first to dash upon them at full gallop and ordered the others to do the same and thus they routed the barbarians. When the Sultan who had dispatched these troops heard how many had been killed, he sent ambassadors to the Emperor to treat about peace, confessing at the same time that he had long desired to see peace between Mussulmans and Romans. For from afar he had heard of the Emperor's prowess against all his foes, and on making trial of it himself he had 'recognized the cloth by its edge,' and the 'lion by its claws,' and though against his will had turned aside to thoughts of peace. Now when the Ambassadors from Persia arrived, the Emperor, a formidable figure, seated himself on his throne and the men, whose business it was, arranged the soldiers of every nationality and the axe-bearing barbarians in their proper order, and then brought in the ambassadors to the imperial throne. The Emperor first asked them the conventional questions about the Sultan, and, after listening to the messages they brought, he confessed that he welcomed and desired peace with the whole world. He next enquired about the Sultan's proposals and when he recognized that some of his requests would not be expedient for the Roman rule, he wrapped up very persuasive arguments in many words and made a very clever defence of his actions to them, and by his long speech persuaded them to concur with his wishes. Then he dismissed them to the tent prepared for them with injunctions to think over his words and said that if they agreed wholeheartedly with them the treaty between them should be concluded on the morrow. They shewed themselves very ready to accept the Emperor's terms, and the treaty was concluded on the following day. In this the Emperor was not thinking only of his own interests but of the Roman Empire. For he was more solicitous of the universal welfare than of his own, and in all his arrangements he only regarded, and referred everything to, the dignity of the Roman sceptre, in order that treaties might last on even after his death to future years-and yet he failed in his object. For after [371] him things were different and everything was turned into confusion. In the meantime all disturbing elements had been laid to rest and we looked forward to perfect peace, and we had peace from then to the end of his life. But all that was most desirable vanished together with the Emperor, and his efforts were all rendered vain after his departure by the stupidity of his successors to the throne.

IV After receiving trustworthy information about the Roman fleet from the survivors of the five cruisers, as we have related, and learning that the Emperor had equipped his fleet and was staying in the Chersonese in expectation of their arrival, the admirals of the Frankish fleet abandoned their first plan and had no longer the slightest desire to approach the coasts of Romania. The Emperor wintered in Calliopolis with the Empress (who, as we have mentioned several times, accompanied him because of the severe pains in his feet) and after waiting for the season in which the Frankish fleet usually sailed home he returned to the capital. But only a short time elapsed before news was brought of the advance of a Turkish host, collected from all the countries of the East, even from Chorosan itself and numbering about fifty thousand men. For never throughout his whole reign did the Emperor enjoy even a short time of rest, as enemies after enemies kept continually cropping up. Consequently he called up his whole army from all sides, and choosing the time of year when the barbarians were wont to make their expeditions against the Christians, he crossed the straits between Byzantium and Damalis. And not even the increasing pain in his feet could deter him from this undertaking.

Now this disease had never attacked any of his ancestors, so that one might think it had been passed on to him by heredity; nor was it due to soft living which often gives it to those who are intemperate in their life and pleasures. But I will relate the real origin of this affection of hiq feet. One day for the sake of exercise, he was playing at polo with Taticius, of whom I have often spoken. Taticius was caused to swerve by his horse and fell against the king, whose kneecap was injured by the weight of the impact and the pain extended right down the leg. But, as he was used to endurance, he said nothing about the pain, and only had the leg slightly attended to, and as the pain soon passed he pursued his usual routine. This was the original cause of the Emperor's sufferings in his feet; for the local injury drew the rheumatics to the injured part. But the second and more active source [372] of all this trouble was the following. Who has not heard of those countless hosts of Franks who arrived in the Queen of Cities when they had quitted their own homes and invaded ours? By them the Emperor was engulfed in an immense sea of worries, for he had long grasped the fact that the Franks were dreaming of the Roman Empire; and he saw their multitude exceeding the sand and the stars in number, and then looked at the Roman forces which did not equal a fraction of theirs, even if they could all be concentrated on one spot. But on the contrary most of them were dispersed, for some were keeping guard in the valleys of Serbia and in Dalmatia; others were protecting the lands along the Ister against the inroads of the Comans and the Dacians, and many again were entrusted with the guarding of Dyrrachium. so that it might not be re-taken by the Franks-when he considered all this the Emperor bent his whole attention to the Franks and relegated everything else to the second place. And the barbarians who were moving about secretly and had not yet openly declared their enmity, he appeased by titles and gifts. By all possible means he tried to check the Franks' aim, and when he reflected not less, but rather more, on the internal disaffection, he did his utmost to guard himself by skilfully bringing their plots to naught. But who could describe the welter of ills which overtook him? Therefore he made himself all things to all men, and by re-arranging matters as far as possible, according to circumstances, he applied himself to the most pressing need, just as a good physician who follows the rules of his art. In the morning, as soon as the sun had leapt above the eastern horizon, he sat on the imperial throne and gave orders that all the Franks should come in freely every day, partly because he wished them to state their requests, and partly too because he was manoeuvring by arguments of various kinds to bring them to accede to his own wishes.

Now the Frankish Counts are naturally shameless and violent, naturally greedy of money too, and immoderate in everything they wish, and possess a flow of language greater than any other human race ; and they did not make their visits to the Emperor in any order, but each Count as he came brought in as many men as he liked with him ; and one came after another, and another in turn after him. And when they came in, they did not regulate their conversation by a waterglass, as the rule was for orators formerly, but for as long as each wished to talk to the Emperor, be he even a mere [373] nobody, for so long he was allowed to talk. Now, as this was their character, and their speech very long-winded, and as they had no reverence for the Emperor, nor took heed of the lapse of time nor suspected the indignation of the onlookers, not one of them gave place to those who came after them, but kept on unceasingly with their talk and requests. Their talkativeness and hunting instinct and their finicking speech axe known to all who are interested in studying the manners of mankind, but we who were then present learnt them more thoroughly from experience. For even when evening came, the Emperor who had remained without food all through the day, rose from his throne to retire to his private bedroom; but not even then was he freed from the Franks' importunity. For one came after the other and not only those who had not been heard during the day, but the same came over again, always preferring one excuse after another for further talk, whilst he stood unmoved in the midst of the Franks, quietly bearing their endless chatter. And you could see him all alone and with unchanging countenance ever giving a ready answer to all their questions. And there was no end to their unseasonable loquacity. If any one of the ministers tried to cut them short, the Emperor prevented him For knowing the Franks' natural irritability he was afraid lest from some trifling pretext a great fire of scandal should be lighted and great harm ensue to the Roman rule. And really it was a most wonderful sight. For like a hammer-wrought statue, made perhaps of bronze or cold iron, he would sit the whole night through, from the evening until midnight perhaps, and often even till the third cock-crow, and very occasionally almost till the sun's rays were bright. All his attendants were dead-tired and would retire and rest and then come back again grumbling. Not one of his courtiers could remain as long as he did without resting, but all kept fidgeting in one way or another. For one would sit, another would rest his head on something and lie down, and another would prop himself against the wall. The Emperor alone presented an unyielding front to all this labour. And what words would properly describe his patience. For in this babel of tongues each one spoke at length and 'wrangled on unbridled of tongue,' as Homer says; then he would stand aside for another and give him the opportunity of speaking, and he passed it on to another and so on from one to the other. And they only stood at intervals, but he had to retain his position unceasingly up to the first or second [374] cockcrow. After a short rest he was again seated on his throne when the sun rose and then fresh labours and new contentions succeeded those of the night. Clearly it was from this reason that the pain in his feet attacked the Emperor. And from that time on to his death the rheumatism visited him at periodical intervals, and caused him exquisite agony. But he endured it so patiently without ever uttering a word of complaint, but only said, "I deserve the pain; it comes upon me justly because of the multitude of my sins." If perchance a word of despondency had escaped his lips, he at once made the sign of the cross against the miscreant demon, and said, " way from me, thou wicked one! Perdition to thee and thy machinations against Christians!" I have said sufficient about the pains in his feet for the present.

But perhaps there was a person who contributed to this disease and increased the sufferings he bore from this cup of his, so full of bitterness; however I will only suggest it in a few words, but not tell the whole story. Although the Empress smeared the rim of the cup with honey and contrived to make much of his suffering slip down easily, through being his ever-watchful guardian, yet this man must be added to our description and may be called a third reason of the Emperor's malady; and he was not only the immediate but the most effective cause, to use the traditional language of physicians. For he did not only attack him once and then disappear, but he was always present and his companion, just as the most subtle humours are present in the bloodvessels. Nay more, if one reflected on that man's nature, he was not only the cause of disease, but actually a malady itself and its severest symptom. But it behoves me to bite my tongue and restrain my words and not run off the track, however eager I may be to leap upon those villains. But I will reserve my story about him to a fitting moment.

V Now let my history resume its narrative. The Emperor had crossed to Darnalis on the opposite coast and was in camp there, and there our narrative had left him. And soon all flocked to him like a snowstorm, and crossed to him who was staying in that place, partly because he vras awaiting the arrival of them all, and partly in the hope that his excessive pains would diminish. The Empress was with him taking care of him and lightening the pains in his feet by various kinds of tendance. When he saw the full moon, he said to her, " If the Turks really think of sallying forth to plunder, now is the fittest time for it, and I am annoyed [375] that I have missed this opportunity." He said this in the evening and at dawn the eunuch in attendance on their Majesties' bedchamber announced that the Turks had made an attack upon Nicaea, and shewed them a letter from Eustathius Camytzes, at that time governor of that city, describing what they had done. Immediately, without waiting a little or delaying at all, and as if oblivious of his continuous pains, the Emperor started in a war-chariot for Nicaea, holding the whip himself in his right hand. The soldiers too picked up their spears and marched in orderly bands on either side. Some ran along at his side, some went ahead and others followed, all in high spirits at his marching against the barbarians, but saddened because his pains prevented his riding (on horseback). And he inspired all with confidence by his signs and words, for he smiled sweetly and talked to them. After three days' journey they reached a place called Aegiali, from which he intended to cross to Cibotus. As the Empress saw that he wished to hurry on the crossing, she bade him farewell and returned to the capital. On the Emperor's reaching Cibotus a messenger came to him saying that the chief satraps of the forty thousand had separated, and some of them had gone to ravage Nima and the lands around it, whilst Monolycus and . . . were devastating the countries along the sea. The troops which had laid waste all the districts adjacent to the lake of Nicaea, as well as Prusa and Apollonias, had pitched their camp by the town and brought all their booty together there. Then they had moved forward in a body and laid waste Lopadium and the surrounding districts, and, as the messenger said, had even taken Cyzicus at the first assault from the seaward side, as the governor of the town had not offered even the slightest resistance, but fled ignominiously from the place.

Further, Contogmen and the Ameer Muhumet, the archsatraps of the picked troops, had proceeded by way of Untiana to Poemanenum, dragging along with them much booty and very many captives, both men and wretched women and children whom the sword had spared. After crossing the river Monolycus (locally called Barenus, which flows down from a mountain named Ibis, in which many other rivers take their rise, namely the Scamander, the Angelocomites and the Empelus), they turned off to Parium, and Abydus on the Hellespont and then marched through Atramytium.and Chliara with their whole train of prisoners without shedding a drop of blood or fighting a single battle. On receipt of [376] this news the Emperor sent letters to Camytzes, then acting as Duke of Nicaea, ordering him to follow up the barbarians with five hundred soldiers and keep him informed by letter about them, but to avoid an engagement with them. He marched out from Nicaea, overtook Contogmen and the Ameer Muhumet and the rest near the place called Aorata, and as if forgetful of the Emperor's instructions, at once attacked them.

Now they were expecting the Emperor and, thinking it was he who had fallen upon them, they fled in a panic. But they had captured a Scythian prisoner and when they learnt the truth from him, and found it was Camytzes, they crossed the mountains and took heart and by means of kettledrums and shouts recalled their tribesmen who had scattered in all directions. And these recognizing this signal of recall, all flocked back to them. Then they returned to the plain which lies immediately below the place called Aorata and reassembled there. But Camytzes, after taking all the booty from them, did not wish to push on to Pcemanenum where he could have arranged matters well (for it was a very strongly fortified town), but loitered round Aorata without noticing that he was plotting his own destruction. For the barbarians who had secured a safe position did not forget Camytzes but lay in wait for him all the time. And when they found out that he was still staying at Aorata arranging about all the booty and the prisoners they drew up all their forces in companies and fell upon him at early dawn. Directly they saw the vast crowd of barbarians which had attacked them, the greater part of Camytzes' army thought good to ensure their own safety by flight, but Camytzes himself with the Scythians and the Franks and the braver of the Romans fought valiantly. And there the greater number of them fell; yet Camytzes, with a few survivors, still continued the fight. But when the horse on which he was riding received a fatal blow, he was thrown to the ground, whereupon his nephew, Catarodon by name, jumped off his own horse and gave it to him. But as he was a tall, heavy man Camytzes did not find it easy to mount the horse; so he stepped back a little and then propping himself against an oak, drew his dagger; he despaired of any hope of safety, but did not cease hitting at the helmet, shoulders or even the hands of any barbarians who dared approach him. When the barbarians saw him maintaining his resistance so long and killing many and also wounding many, they admired the man's boldness and marvelled at his steadiness and decided to [377] save him for this reason. The arch-satrap, Muhumet by name, who had known him formerly and now recognized him, checked the attack of the men who were fighting with Camytzes, and dismounting from his horse, as did also the men with him, went up to him and said, " Do not choose death in preference to your safety, but give me your hand and be saved I " Then Camytzes, seeing the numbers by which he was surrounded and feeling unable to cope with so many, gave his hand to Muhumet, who had him put on a horse and his feet bound so that he could not easily run away. This, then, was the fate which overtook Eustathius.

The Emperor guessing the route by which the barbarians would come took another, passed through Nicaea and Malagina and the so-called Basilica (these are narrow valleys and very difficult paths lying on the mountain-ridges of Olympus) and then descended to Alethina and next reached Acrocus as he was hurrying to get ahead of the Turks and attack them from the front and thus start a pitched battle with them. But the Turks in absolute forgetfulness of the Roman army found a reed-bed along the valley, and scattered themselves about in it and rested. When the news was brought to the Emperor as he was starting out against them that the barbarians had occupied the plains of the valley, he drew up his army in battle-order at a suitable distance. In the van he placed Constantine Gabras and Monastras, the rest of the troops he arranged in squadrons on either flank, and the rear he entrusted to Tzipoureles and Abelas who had had long and varied military experience. The centre of the line he held himself and falling upon the Turks like a thunderbolt he threw all their troops into confusion and commenced a pitched battle with them. Many of the barbarians were killed on that occasion, after a very close fight and many too were taken by the spear. Those who sought refuge in the reed-bed, were safe for a time; but after securing a brilliant victory over the others the Emperor turned to the reed-bed and tried to drive the men there out of it. However his soldiers did not know how to do it as they could not go in because of the swampy nature and density of the reed-bed. So the Emperor put a ring of his soldiers round the reed-bed and ordered a fire to be lighted on oiie side of it. This was done and the flames rose to a great height ; the Turks inside while fleeing from the fire f ell into the soldiers' hands; and some of them fell to the sword while others were led alive to the Emperor.


VI This is what happened to the Turks who had come down from Carme. When the Ameer Muhumet heard of the disaster which had overtaken the Turks from Carme, he at once marched in pursuit of the Emperor after joining up with the Turcomans, who dwelt in Asia, and the rest; and thus it came about that the same man was both pursuer and pursued. For the barbarians with Muhumet pursued the Emperor by following his tracks while he was marching after the Turks from Carme and was thus caught between the two. However he had already conquered the one lot, and the pursuers were quite free from danger. When Muhumet suddenly attacked the Emperor's rear he first fell in with Abelas. As he was within sight of the Emperor this gave him greater confidence and being moreover a rash man, he did not wait a little for his troops to come up so as to receive the Turks' attack with a properly arrayed army, but dashed against Muhumet. And Tzipoureles followed him. When the two had reached an old fort, but their men had not yet arrived, Muhumet, a very determined man, met them, and wounded Abelas' horse, but not its rider, with an arrow and so unhorsed him. And when the Turks saw him on foot they surrounded and killed him. Likewise on seeing Tzipoureles riding fearlessly against them they 'winged', so to say, the horse on which he was riding with their arrows and unseated him and straightway dispatched him with their swords. Now the soldiers of the rear-guard whose duty it was to protect the wearied baggage-carriers and the horses and drive off as much as possible any who worried them, saw the Turks making this attack, so rushed upon them and routed them completely. Camytzes was there with the Turks, as a prisoner, and when he noticed the confusion that had arisen in the battle and saw that the Turks were now fleeing and our men pursuing, he, being a determined man, planned his escape and took to the road, and fell in with a Frank in full armour who gave him his horse. He found the Emperor encamped in the plain of the valley lying between Philadelphia and Acrocus which was large enough, not only for one, but for several armies. When he saw Camytzes he received him with great joy and after offering thanksgiving to God for having delivered him, he sent him off to the capital, saying, " Tell them all you have suffered and seen and report to our relations that, thanks to God, we are alive." On being told of the death of Abelas and Tzipoureles the Emperor was deeply grieved in soul about their death and said, "We [379] have gained one, but lost two." For, whenever he had been victorious in war, it was his wont to enquire whether any of his soldiers had been captured or fallen a victim to the enemy's hands, and even though he had routed whole phalanxes and carried off the victory, yet had it happened that any one even of the lowest rank of soldiers had perished, he considered that victory as haught but regarded it as virtually a Cadmean one, and a loss instead of gain. After that he constituted certain officers, George Lebunes and others, custodians of that country and left them his troops and then returned to the capital as victor.

Camytzes meanwhile reached Damalis and got into a little boat about the mid-watch of the night, and, as he knew that the Empress was in the upper part of the palace, he went there and knocked at the door next to the shore. When the porters asked who he was, he did not want to declare his own name, but only asked them to open the doors to him. And directly he gave his name he was permitted to enter. The Empress was overjoyed and received him outside her bedroom-door (this balcony was formerly called 'Aristerion ' ), but when she saw him dressed in Turkish clothes and limping on both feet through having been beaten during the battle, she first enquired about the Emperor and then bade him be seated. Next she asked him about everything and when she heard of the Emperor's recent and unexpected victory and saw the prisoner free before her, she did not know what to do for joy. She allowed him to rest till daytime and then go out and proclaim to the whole world what had happened. So he got up in the morning and mounted a horse in the same clothes in which he had arrived after his marvellous deliverance from captivity, and rode down to the Forum of Constantine. And the whole city at once ran out to him, partly to know what he was doing, and partly because they were still more anxious to have news of the Emperor. Then surrounded by a number of horse- and foot-soldiers he related the events of the war in a loud voice and all that had befallen the Roman army, and the plans the Emperor had made against the barbarians and the brilliant victory he bad gained whereby he had avenged himself several times over; and concluded with his own miraculous escape from the barbarians. The whole populace applauded his speech and the noise of their applause reached the skies.

VII After this had been done, Constantinople was full of the news of the Emperor's successes. For in very truth, [380] to what an extent had fate involved him in difficult affairs which were adverse to him and the Roman state, and in general by what a number of misfortun es was he encompassed! Yet his valour and vigilant and energetic nature resisted and struggled manfully against every misfortune. For not one of the former Emperors right down to the present day were ever met by such a complication of affairs and such wickedness from all kinds of men, both at home and abroad, as we have found to be the case with regard to this Emperor. For either it was decreed by God's permission that the Roman state should be oppressed by ills (for I should never consider our fate as dependent upon the revolution of the stars) or the Roman dynasty had been reduced to such a state by the foolishness of the previous Emperors that a crowd of business and a heavy swell of confusion was accumulated on the time of my father's reign. For at one and the same moment the Scythian rose against him from the North, the Frank from the West, and the Ishmaelite from the East, to say nothing of the dangers of the sea, and the barbarians who ruled the sea, and the countless pirate-ships, some of which were built by the wrath of the Saracens, and others by the covetousness of the Vetones and their dislike to the Roman Empire. For all cast envious glances at it. For being by nature mistress of the other nations the Roman Empire is regarded as an enemy by her subjects, and, whenever an opportunity offers, either the one or the other rushes upon her either from the land or from the sea.

Now the difficulties during the reigns before our time were very slight and fairly tolerable; but -in the case of my father directly he mounted the imperial chariot dangers of every kind streamed down upon him from all quarters at the same time. For the Frank was moving and shewing the tip of his spear, the Ishmaelite was stretching his bow, and all the nomadic and Scythian tribes with their myriad wagons were rushing upon him. But perhaps someone who has lighted upon this history and read so far will say that my tongue has been corrupted by nature. But verily that is not so; I swear by the dangers the Emperor underwent for the welfare of the Roman Empire, and the struggles and disasters my father suffered on behalf of the Christians, I most certainly do not describe and write of these things in order to favour my father. And, wherever I perceive that my father made a mistake, I unhesitatingly transgress the natural law and cling to the truth, for though I hold him dear, I hold [381] truth dearer still. For, as some philosopher has said, when two things are dear, it is best to prefer the truth. But I follow up the facts themselves, without adding anything of my own or slurring over events, and thus I speak and write. And the proof is close at hand; for I am not writing about things of ten thousand years ago, but there are many still living to-day who knew my father and tell me of his doings; and no small part of my history has been gathered from them, for one will relate one thing which he happens to remember and another another, and all are of the same opinion. And as a rule I was with my father and mother and accompanied them. For it was not my lot to be kept at home and brought up in the shade and in luxury; but even from my cradle (I call my God and His Mother to witness!) toils and afflictions and continual misfortunes beset me, some from without and some from within. What my physical appearance was I cannot say, that the attendants of the women's apartments can describe and tell at length. But as for all the external ills which happened to me before I had even completed my eighth year, and the many enemies the malice of men aroused against me it would require the Siren of Isocrates to tell, or the eloquence of Pindar, the breeziness of Polemo, the Calliope of Homer, the lyre of Sappho or some other power beyond all these. For there is no terror either great or small, from near or afar that did not throng around us. And verily the floods overwhelmed me and from that time until now, up to the very time that I am writing this history, the sea of calamities rushes over me and waves follow upon waves. But unconsciously I have been drawn to speak of my own troubles; now having returned to my senses, I will swim upstream again, as it were, and return to my first subject.

Part of my history, as I said, I derive from my own memory and part from the men who accompanied the Emperor on his expeditions and told me divers things about them, and who by means of ferrymen conveyed the news to us of what had happened in the wars; but most I gathered first-hand as I often heard the Emperor and George Palaeologus talking about them. In this way I collected much of my material, but most during the reign of the third successor to the imperial throne after my father, when all flatteries and lies about his grandfather had expired together, for the whole world was flattering the present occupant of the throne and nobody shewed any sign of adulation for the departed, but related the naked facts, and spoke of things just as they had received them. [382] But now I am bewailing my own misfortunes and lamenting the deaths of three Emperors, my Emperor and father, my Empress and mistress-mother, and alas! my own husband and Caesar; so I mostly keep in a comer and occupy myself with books and God. And I shall not allow even the most insignificant of men to approach me unless they be men from whom I can learn of things which they happen to have heard of from others, or they be my father's intimate friends. For during these last thirty years, I swear it by the souls of the most blessed Emperors, I have neither seen nor spoken to a friend of my father's, this is due partly to many of them having died and partly to many being prevented by fear. For the powers that be have condemned us to this ridiculous position so that we should not be seen, but be a general object of abhorrence. And what I have added to my history, let God and His Mother my Mistress be my witnesses, I have collected from some absolutely unpretentious, simple commentaries, and from a few old men who were soldiers when my father seized the Roman sceptre but have fallen upon evil times and retired from the turmoil of the world to the calm life of monasteries. For the commentaries which fell into my hands were simple in diction and incurious and strictly truthful and displayed no style and were free from all rhetorical pretensions. And the narrations of the old men were like the commentaries both in phrase and scope, and I judged the truth of my history from them by comparing and examining what I had written with what they told me, and what they told me with what I remembered from having often heard the accounts both from my father himself and from my paternal and maternal uncles. From all these sources I wove the whole fabric of my truthful history. And now let me return to the point in my history of which I was speaking above, namely Camytzes' escape from the barbarians and his speech to the citizens.

He, as I have said, recounted all that had happened, and the devices the Emperor employed against the Ishmaelites; and the inhabitants of Constantinople with one voice and mouth shouted their applause, hymned the Emperor and made a god of him and blessed him for his generalship and could not restrain their pleasure in him. And after escorting Camytzes homeward in high spirits, they welcomed the Emperor a few days later as a triumphant victor, an invincible general, an undefeated King and a revered Emperor. That was how the people acted; but he after entering the palace and offering [383] thanksgiving for his safe return to God and the Mother of God, recommenced his usual mode of life. For as he had settled his enemies abroad and put down the rebellions of pretenders he now turned his attention to the courts of justice and the laws. For he was at the same time the best administrator both of peace and of war. For he judged the case of orphans, had right done to widows, looked very severely on any case of injustice and only occasionally sought physical refreshment in the chase or other relaxations. For as in other matters he acted as a philosopher, in this too, in subduing his body and making it subservient to him. During the greater part of the day he devoted it to labours, and then again would recall it from labours. But even his relaxation was a second labour, the reading and studying of books and the careful observance of the precept, 'search the scriptures.' The chase and the game of polo were but of secondary, or tertiary, importance to my father, even while he was still a young man and before that monster, the affection in his feet, had fastened itself upon him like a sinuous serpent, and kept 'biting his heel,' as it says in the curse. But directly this disease commenced and began to increase then certainly he gave himself up to gymnastics, and horse-exercise and other games for he was ordered to do this by medical science in order that by regular horse-exercise some of the fluid which descended might be dispersed and he might be relieved of the weight which pressed upon him. For as I have said above, this racking affliction of my father's arose from no other cause than his labours and fatigues for the glory of the Romans.

VIII Not a year had passed before the Emperor heard a rumour that the Comans had crossed the Ister; consequently at the commencement of the eighth Indiction in the month of November in the beginning of autumn he left the Queen of Cities after calling up all his forces and stationed these, some in Philippopolis and in the towns called Petritzus and Triaditza and in the province of Nisus and some as far away as Branizoba (or Buranitzobe) on the banks of the Ister. He enjoined them to bestow great care on their horses so that they should grow stout and strong enough to carry their riders in time of battle. He himself remained in Philippopolis, a town in the centre of Thrace, which is washed by the Eurus on the side of the North wind.

This river flows down from the extreme end of Rhodope, makes many twists and turns, flows past the town of Adrian [384] and after many tributaries have joined it, empties itself into the sea near the town of Aenus. When speaking of Philip I do not mean the Macedonian, the son of Amyntas, for the city is younger than that Philip, but I mean the Roman Philip, an extremely tall man whose physical strength nobody could resist. At first it was a small town called Crenides before Philip's time, and by others Trimus. But that very large man Philip enlarged the town and girt it round with walls and made it the most famous town in Thrace, for he built a very large circus in it and other admirable edifices, the traces of which I saw myself when I once stayed in the town with the Emperor for some purpose or other. The city stands on three hills and each hill is surrounded by a strong and high wall, and on the side where it slopes down to the plains and level ground there is a moat running alongside of the Eurus. From all appearances it must once have been a large and fine city. After the Tauri and Scythians enslaved the city in bygone days, it was reduced to the condition in which we found it during my father's reign and conjectured that it must have been very large. The chief of its misfortunes was the residence of so many heretics there. For the Armenians took possession of the city and the so-called Bogomils (I will speak of them and their heresy later at an opportune moment), and even those most godless Paulicians, an offshoot of the Manichaean sect, founded as their name shows by Paul and John, two men who had imbibed the undiluted heresy of Manes and handed it on to their followers.

I rather wished to treat lightly of the doctrine of the Manicha~ans and to explain it very concisely, and even attempt a refutation of their most godless doctrines. But I will omit these as I know that everybody considers the Manichaean heresy an absurdity and also because I wish to hasten on with my history. Moreover I know that not only men of our own court have refuted them, but that Porphyrius, our great opponent, reduced the nonsensical doctrine of the Manichaeans to utter absurdity when in several chapters he very scientifically examined the question of two principles, although his doctrine of the unity of God compels his readers -to support Plato's "Unity " or "the One." We do indeed worship the unity of the Divine nature, but not that Unity which contains only one Person. Nor do we accept the 'One' of Plato; that which is with the Greeks, the 'Mysterious' and with the Chaldeans the 'Ineffable'; for from it they make [385] many other principles dependent, both mundane and hyper-mundane.

Now these followers of Manes and of Paul and John, the sons of Callinice, who were very uncivilized and cruel and would not hesitate to shed blood, were conquered in war by that most admirable of Emperors, John Tzimisces; then he led them as slaves out of Asia and transported them from the regions of Chalybes and Armenia to Thrace and compelled them to*. take up their abode near Philippopolis. This he did firstly to drive them out of their strong cities and forts which they held as despotic rulers, and secondly to post them as trustworthy guards against the inroads of the Scythians by which the country of Thrace was often oppressed; for the barbarians crossed the passes of the Haemus and over-ran the plains below.

This Haemus is a very long mountain range running along a line parallel to Mount Rhodope. The range begins at the Euxine sea, leaves the cataracts a little on one side and continues right into Illyria; there it is cut through by the Adriatic Sea, I fancy, and emerges again in the opposite continent and finishes right away in the Hercynian forests. On either side of its slopes dwell many very wealthy tribes, the Dacians and the Thracians on the northern side, and on the southern, more Thracians and the Macedonians. In olden days the Scythian nomads would cross the Haemus, before Alexius' spear and his many battles brought them almost to extermination, and spoil the Roman territory with their large armies and especially the nearer towns, of which the chief one was the formerly renowned city of Philippopolis. But John Tzimisces converted our opponents of the Manichaean heresy into our allies, as far as arms are concerned, by opposing them as redoubtable forces to these Scythian nomads, and from that time the cities had a respite from most of their incursions. However the Manichaeans, being naturally free and unruly, soon acted as usua:1 and reverted to their original nature. For, as all the inhabitants of Philippopolis were Manichaeans except a few, they tyrannized over the Christians there and plundered their goods, caring little or naught for the envoys sent by the Emperor. They increased in numbers until all the inhabitants around Philippopolis were heretics. Then another brackish stream of Armenians joined them and yet another from the most polluted sources of James. And thus, metaphorically speaking, it was a meeting-place of all evils; for the rest disagreed [386] indeed with the Manichaeans in doctrines, but agreed with them in disaffection. But my father, the Emperor, arrayed his long military experience against them too and subdued some without fighting and others he reduced to slavery by fighting. How much that valiant man did and endured over this truly apostolic work! For what reason could anyone forbear to praise him? perhaps because he was negligent in his military duties? -nay, he filled the East and the West with his exploits as general. Or is it because he was indifferent to argumentation? -nay again, for he had studied the Holy Writings more than anybody else in order to sharpen his tongue for wrestlings with the heretics. He alone commingled arms and arguments, and conquered the barbarians with his arms, and subdued the impious by his arguments; as in this present instance he engaged the Manichaeans in a contest that was apostolic rather than military. I for my part should call him 'the thirteenth apostle.' Although some ascribe this glory to Constantine the Great; yet I am of opinion that Alexius should be ranked equal to the Emperor Constantine or, to prevent contentiousness, let him be placed second to Constantine both as apostle and Emperor.

For, as we were saying above, he went to Philippopolis for the reasons given and, as the Comans had not yet appeared, he made the secondary purpose of his journey more important than his actual task and began turning the Manichaeans from their brackish religion and instilling into them the sweet doctrines of the Church. So from the morning till afternoon or even evening, and sometimes till the second or third watch of the night he would send for them and teach them the orthodox faith and refute their distorted heresies. Present with him were Eustratius, the bishop of Nicaea, a man of wide knowledge of religious and secular literature and pluming himself on dialectics more than those who frequent the Stoa and Academy, and also the incumbent of the archiepiscopal throne of Phillippopolis. In addition to all the others and in preference to them the Emperor had as his coadjutor my Caesar, Nicephonis, whom he had trained in the study of the sacred books. Consequently many of the Manichaeans on that occasion went to the priests without any hesitation, confessed their sins and received divine baptism. But many too could be seen who with a tenacity exceeding that of the Maccabeans of old clung to their own religion and quoted passages and proofs from the sacred writings, thinking thereby to confirm their own detestable doctrine. But by the Emperor's [387] continuous arguments and frequent admonitions the majority of these too were convinced and accepted divine baptism. For from the first rays of the sun in the East to deepest night very often the controversy was continued and he would not desist from the conference but often remained without food and this too in summer-time in an open-air tent.

IX While this was going on and that wordy disputation with the Manichaeans was being hammered out, a messenger came from the Ister and announced that the Comans had crossed. Without delay the Emperor started for the Danube, taking with him what soldiers he had. On reaching Bidyne and not finding the barbarians (for they had already crossed back directly they heard of the Emperor's approach) he at once detached a band of brave soldiers and bade them go in pursuit of the barbarians. So they crossed the Danube and started off after them. They pursued them for three days and nights but when they found that the Comans had crossed the river beyond the Danube on rafts, they returned to the Emperor without having effected anything. The Emperor was indeed somewhat annoyed that his soldiers had not over-taken the barbarians, and yet he considered it a species of victory that by the mere sound of his name he had driven the barbarians away, and converted many from the Manichaean heresy to our faith. So he set up a double trophy, one for a victory over the barbarians by means of arms, and the other over the heretics by most pious discourses. Then he returned to Philippopolis and after a short rest applied himself to fresh contests. For Culeon and Cusinus and with them Pholus, the chief upholders of the Manichaean heresy, and in other respects like the rest of the Manichaeans, but clever at maintaining their heterodoxy, were adamantine against all verbal persuasion; they were also exceedingly able in pulling the Scriptures to pieces and in interpreting them perversely; so the Emperor summoned them every day and engaged in a war of words with them. Then could be seen a double contest--on the one side, the Emperor contending with all his might for their salvation, and on the other, these three men disputing earnestly to gain, if possible, a so-called Cadmean victory. For the three stood there sharpening each other's wits, as if they were boar's teeth, intent upon rending the Emperor's arguments. And if any objection escaped Cusinus, Culeon would take it up; and il Culeon was at a loss, Pholus in his turn would rise in opposition; or they would, one after the other, rouse themselves against [388] the Emperor's premises and refutations, just like very large waves following up other large waves. But the Emperor swept away all their objections as if they were a spider's web and quickly closed their impious mouths. But as he could not convince them at all, he finally wearied of these men's silliness and dispatched them to the Queen City, allotting to them as their abode the verandahs which surrounded the great palace. And yet his hunting had not been all in vain in spite of his not having captured those leaders by his words; for every day he brought to God, maybe a hundred, maybe even more than a hundred; so that the sum total of those he had captured before and those whom he won now by the words of his mouth would amount to thousands and ten thousand souls. But why should I linger to speak of that which the whole world knows and to which the East and West bear testimony? for whole towns and districts infected by various heresies he brought back by divers means to our orthodox faith. Upon the more eminent Manicbmans he bestowed great gifts and enrolled them among the picked soldiery. But the more vulgar, such as were diggers or had to do with ploughing and cattle, he gathered together and transplanted them with their wives and children to a town he built for them near Philippopolis on the other side of the river Eurus. There he settled them and called the town Alexiopolis, or a name more generally used, Neocastrum, and to one and all he distributed plough-lands and vineyards, horses and immovable property. Nor did he leave these gifts unsecured, so that like the gardens of Adonis they should bear flowers one day and fall away the next, but by Golden Bulls he confirmed these gifts to them and he did not limit his benefactions to them only but made them transmissible to their sons and sons' sons; and, in case the males failed, the women could succeed to the inheritance. In this wise did the great man confer his benefits. Let this be sufficient on this subject, although a great deal has been omitted; and let no one revile this history as if it were corrupt. For many of the people still living can testify to the truth of what I have related and I could not be convicted of falsehood.

After arranging all matters as was best the Emperor left Philippopolis and went back to the Queen City. And there he renewed his continual discussions and arguments with Culeon and Cusinus and their followers. And he captured Culeon, for he, I fancy, was the more intelligent and able to follow [389] the true arguments closely, and he became a very tame lamb in our fold. But Cusinus and Pholus became savage and, like iron, they were hammered upon by the Emperor's frequent discourses and yet they remained of iron and turned away from him and would not be led by him. Therefore as they were the most blasphemous of all the Manichaeans and clearly drifting into melancholy madness, he had them cast into the prison called Elephantine, and while supplying them liberally with all necessaries, he allowed them to die in company with their sins alone.

Complete Text | Introduction | Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 |
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Anna Comnena (Komnene). The Alexiad. Edited and translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. London: Routledge, Kegan, Paul, 1928.

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