War with the Scyths part 18


Tzachas opened the conversation, addressing the other by name, and said, “I must tell you that I am the young man who many years ago overran Asia and though fighting bravely was trapped through my want of experience and captured by the famous Cabalicas Alexander. By him I was carried captive and handed over to the Emperor Nicephorus Botaniates, who at once bestowed on me the rank of ‘Protonobilissimus ‘ and rich gifts, and I in return became his vassal. But ever since Alexius Comnenus assumed the reins of government, all my privileges have been annulled. And I have come here now in order to explain to you the reasons of my hostility.

Writing as is customary among

Let the Emperor be told of them and, if he wishes the enmity which has arisen to be brought to an end, then let him restore to me in full all the privileges due to me of which I have been deprived. And if you think favourably of a marriage between our children, let a form of betrothal be drawn up in writing as is customary among you and also among us barbarians. Then if all these conditions I have mentioned have been fulfilled, I will restore to the Emperor through you all the islands which I have overrun and taken from the Roman power and, after completing a truce with him, I will return to my own country.”

Dalassenus looked upon all this as empty talk as he knew well the crafty nature of the Turks, and therefore put off indefinitely the fulfilment of his demands, at the same time he told him plainly the opinion he entertained of him saying, “You will never hand over the islands to me, as you say, nor can I without consulting the Emperor agree to your demands upon him and upon myself. But since the Grand Duke, John, the Emperor’s brother-in-law, accompanied by the whole fleet and numerous land forces, is on the point of arrival, let him hear your terms, and then, if he acts as mediator, I can assure you that your truce with the Emperor will be arranged.”

This Duke John had been dispatched to Epidamnus with a strong army by the Emperor, partly to guard Dyrrachium, and partly to carry on war with the Dalmatians. For the chief called Bodinus was a great warrior and full of rascality and would not remain within his own frontiers but made daily incursions on the nearest large Dalmatian villages and annexed them to his own property. Duke John had spent eleven years at Dyrrachium and rescued many forts from the hands of Bolcanus and had also sent many Dalmatians captive to the Emperor, and at last he had engaged in a violent contest with Bodinus and captured him.

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