16. He agreed that in all matters connected with literature he was my inferior (I am referring here to the sciences), but where military strategy was concerned it was his ambition to surpass me. The knowledge that I was thoroughly conversant with the science of military tactics, that I had made a complete study of everything pertaining to military formations, the building of war-machines, the capture of cities, and all the other things that a general has to consider, this moved him not only to admiration, but also to envy. So far as he could, he argued against me, and tried to outdo me in these debates. Many of those who shared that campaign with us will know that this description is not exaggerated.
17. This second war of his was no more successful than the first. It was, in fact, altogether indecisive and the enemy held their own everywhere. If our men fell in their tens of thousands, while a mere handful of our adversaries were taken prisoner, at least we were not beaten — and we succeeded in making a lot of noise at the barbarians! The result of it all was that Romanus became more proud and more insolent than ever, because, forsooth, he had twice commanded an army. He lost respect for everything, and — worse still — the evil counsellors to whom he listened led him completely astray.
18. As for the empress, he treated her like a captive taken in war. For next to nothing he would have agreed even to drive her out of the palace. The Caesar**264 he suspected, and on several occasions hastened to arrest him and put him to death, but changed his mind afterwards and gave up the idea. For the present, at all events, he was content to bind him and his sons to swear on oath that they would be loyal.
Secretly cherished against the Caesar
Having no reasonable pretext for carrying out the plans which he secretly cherished against the Caesar, he set out on his third and last expedition against the barbarians,**265 who were now distinctly hostile. Actually, they were engaged in plundering raids on Roman territory and as soon as spring came, they overran it in considerable force. So Romanus once again left the capital to fight them, accompanied by a larger contingent of allies and native troops than before.**266
19. With his usual contempt of all advice, whether on matters civil or military, he at once set out with his army and hurried to Caesarea. Having reached that objective, he was loth to advance any further and tried to find excuses for returning to Byzantium, not only for his own sake but for the army’s. When he found the disgrace involved in such a retreat intolerable, he should have come to terms with the enemy and put a stop to their annual incursions.
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