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 heavenly vision, or whether some other mysterious design of Providence was manifested in this priest, I am unable to say. With the Patzinaks pursuing him, Palaeologus ran into marshy, thickly-shaded place and there fell in with about hundred and fifty Roman soldiers. As the Scythians enircled them and they saw their case was desperate for they could not fight against so many, they waited upon Palaeologus’ decision for they knew his bravery and indomitable disposition of old.

Thereupon Palaeologus made a wild dash

He advised them to rush headlong at the Scythians, taking absolutely no thought for their own safety, and thus, I fancy, purchasing it. “But first,” he said, ” we must confirm this plan by oath, and then if we are all of one opinion no one must f ail to take part in the onset against the Scythians, but each must regard the general safety and danger as his own.” Thereupon Palaeologus made a wild dash at the foe, and struck the first man he met, who straightway fell to the ground dazed. But the rest were half-hearted in their attack, and some of them were killed and others returned to the covered glade as if to their nest, and saved their lives by hiding in it.

Whilst Palaeologus was making for a certain height he was again pursued by the Patzinaks and his horse was wounded and fell; he himself, however, escaped to the neighbouring mountain. Then he sought for the road to safety, which under the circumstances it was not easy for him to find, and so he wandered about for eleven days, when he fell in with a soldier’s widow, who gave him shelter for several days, and then her sons, who had escaped with their lives from the battle, pointed out to him the road to safety. This is the story of Palaeologus’ adventures.

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