War with the Scyths part 15

War with the Scyths part 15

Thereupon, as he knew they set out on foraging expeditions at daybreak, he sent for Taticius (he has often been mentioned in this history) and bade him take the most courageous of the youths and picked men from his own bodyguard and all the Latins and keep watch during the night for the Scythians’ expedition at dawn, so that when he supposed that the foraging party was at a good distance from their camp, he could ride down upon them at full speed. Taticius carried out these orders, killed about four hundred and took a large number captive. And what followed?

Expedition against Nicomedia

The horsemen sent by the Count of Flanders, about five hundred picked men, arrived and brought as a present to the Emperor one hundred and fifty selected horses: moreover they sold him all the horses they did not require for their own use. The Emperor welcomed them very graciously and returned hearty thanks. Next he received a message from the East saying that Apelchasem,

War with the Scyths part 14

War with the Scyths part 14

Overcome by this unforeseen disaster, the father beat his breast for three days and nights with a sling-stone and then died. The interval of peace with the Scythians did not last long, but like ‘dogs they returned to their vomit’ ; they then removed from Cypsella and occupied Taurocomus, where they wintered and ravaged the neighbouring village-towns.

VII On the return of spring they came down from there to Chariopohs. The Emperor who was stationed at Bulgarophygum, wished to no longer delay but set apart a considerable section of the army, all picked men and amongst them too the young soldiers, called ” Archontopouli,” all with their beards scarcely grown, but irresistible in attack, and ordered them to fall upon the Scythians, who were standing on the tops of their wagons, from the rear.

First formed by Alexius

This band of ” Archontopouli ” was first formed by Alexius. As the Roman Empire possessed no army owing t

War with the Scyths part 13

War with the Scyths part 13

The Comans returned, fully prepared for war with the Scythians, but not finding them and learning that they had come over the passes, occupied Marcella and after arranging terms of peace with the Emperor, demanded permission to cross the passes and attack the Scythians. However, the Emperor refused, as he had already concluded peace with the Scythians, saying, ” We have no need of auxiliaries at present ; take a satisfactory present and go home! ” He treated the ambassadors courteously, gave them satisfactory presents and sent them home in peace.

This emboldened the Scythians who promptly broke the treaty, reverted to their former cruelty and laid waste the neighbouring lands and cities. For as a rule all barbarians are unstable, and the observance of treaties is not natural to them. Becoming aware of this Synesius returned to the Emperor and himself informed him of the Scythians’ ingratitude and violation of the treaty. They seized Philippopolis and this

War with the Scyths part 12

War with the Scyths part 12

Now in the ancient historians, no mention is made of a Hunnish army ever having come there, but during the Emperor Alexius’ reign the whole nation congregated there from all quarters and gave the place its name. These probable facts about the lake are now mentioned by me for the first time in order to prove that owing to the Emperor’s many expeditions in many directions many places obtained their names either directly from him or from his enemies who collected there; and we note that much the same thing happened in the time of Alexander, King of Macedon. For both the Alexandria in Egypt, and the other in India were named after him, and we further know that Lysimachia was named after Lysimachus, one of his soldiers.

Emulating Alexander’s zeal

Therefore it does not surprise me if the Emperor Alexius, emulating Alexander’s zeal, occasionally fitted new names to places either from the tribes who assembled there or whom he had summoned, or ga

War with the Scyths part 11

War with the Scyths part 11

Now the chieftains of the Scythians were minded to put the prisoners they held to death, but the majority of the people absolutely refused to allow this, as they wished to sell them for a price. And as this proposal gained the day, the Emperor was acquainted of it by letters from Melissenus who, although he was a prisoner, had done a great deal to persuade the Scythians to adopt this course. The Emperor, who was still in Beroƫ, at once sent to the capital for the requisite amount of money, and then redeemed the captives.

Send us back empty-handed

V At that time Tatus returned to the Ister with the Comans he had won over; directly they saw the amount of booty, and of captives, they said to the Scythian chieftains, “We have left our homes and travelled a long way to come to your assistance on the understanding that we should share your dangers and your victories. Therefore as we have done our best it would not be right to send us back empty-handed. For it

War with the Scyths part 10

War with the Scyths part 10

IV During the flight of the defeated troops that day Palaeologus was knocked off his horse and lost it; while standing helpless and well aware of his dangerous situation he gazed about in case he could see his horse anywhere, when suddenly he saw Leo, the Bishop of Chalcedon, of whom we have written above. This man was dressed in priestly garb and was offering him his horse; Palaeologus mounted it and continued his flight; but he never saw the holy man again. This priest had really a very frank and open nature, and the right character for a priest of superior rank, but he was somewhat simpleminded and occasionally displayed more zeal than knowledge, and he had no accurate acquaintance with the sacred canons.

For these reasons disaster befell him, as has been already related, and he lost his bishopric; Paleologus, however, always adhered to him because of his preeminent goodness. So whether it was by reason of his fervent belief in this man that Palxologus was granted this

War with the Scyths part 9

War with the Scyths part 9

After saying this and encouraging the others, he was the first to dash like a firebrand upon the Scythians and struck at the first who encountered him, and the latter straightway rolled from his saddle. As the closed ranks of the Scythians were thus split up, he and his companions reached the country behind the Scythians. At any rate the Emperor managed to do this, but the Protostrator had the misfortune to fall on the ground for his horse slipped; but one of his attendants immediately gave him his own horse.

When he caught up the Emperor he never moved more than a foot’s breadth away from him again, for he was so intensely devoted to him. In the confusion resulting from one party fleeing and the other pursuing, a second lot of Scythians overtook the Emperor; he immediately turned round and hit down his assailant and killed not only him but several others as well, as those who were present assert.

Look behind you, Nicephorus

Another Scythian who

War with the Scyths part 8

War with the Scyths part 8

The Emperor had advanced in front of his own army and stood sword in hand; with the other he held up as a standard the Pallium of the Mother of the Divine Word and was supported by only twenty brave-hearted companions, Nicephorus, Diogenes’ son, was there together with Michael Ducas the Protostrator, and brother of the Empress, and the servants of his family. Then three Scythian foot-soldiers leapt at him, two snatched at his reins on either side, the third at his right leg. Immediately he cut one man’s hand off, against the other he lifted his sword and with threatening voice made him fall back, whilst he struck at the helmet of the man holding his leg.

But he only gave a rather light blow with his sword nor did he use his whole strength in making it for he was afraid that one of two things might happen if, as is often the case, a severe blow from his sword missed altogether, namely, that he would hit his own leg, or the horse on which he was riding, and in th

War with the Scyths part 7

War with the Scyths part 7

The Emperor who was very adventurous and liked to be the first to start a battle, did not take into consideration the arguments of those who protested against fighting, but put George Cutzomites in charge of the Imperial tent and all the baggage and dispatched him to Betrinum; then he enjoined the army not to light a lamp or fire that evening, but to keep the horses ready and watch till sunrise. He himself left his tent at daybreak, divided his forces and set them in order of battle, and then reviewed the army. He chose the centre of the line as his post, where he was surrounded by his relations and connections, such as his brother Adrian who was at that time commanding the Latins, and other valiant gentlemen.

The left wing was held by Nicephorus Caesar Melissenus, his sister’s husband, and the leaders on the right wing were Castamonites and Taticius, whilst the Sauromatians, Uzas and Caratzas, commanded the allies. Then he chose six men as his own bodyguard and orde

War with the Scyths part 6

War with the Scyths part 6

Accordingly he set to work, invested the town on all sides, and after breaking down one side of the walls, he entered with his entire army. But the two citadels of this town were still held by the kinsmen of a man called Tatus who had left the town shortly before to try and win over the Comans to come to the help of the Scythians. On the point of leaving and when bidding farewell to his friends this Tatus said, ” I know for certain that the Emperor will come and besiege this town.

Therefore directly you see him advancing into this plain, make haste to be the first to seize the hill which overlooks it, for it is the most advantageous position, and erect your palisades there, so that the Emperor may not be able to carry on the siege at his leisure, but be obliged to turn his attention to what is happening in his rear through fear of the injury you may do. And throughout the day and night keep on sending relays of troops against him.” But the Emperor, hitting upon