War with the Scyths part 22


Thus it came about that both arrnies remained stationary till the evening, and then when night fell, both returned to their own camps without having struck a blow. For they were afraid and not bold enough to fight. Gradually the men who had fled here, there and everywhere in the first battle re-assembled at Rusium, and the majority of them had not taken the slightest part in the battle. Further, Monastras, Uzas and Synesius who were brave followers of Ares, also arrived at Rusium, disabled too, after having traversed the district then called Asprum.

A presentiment that to-morrow the Scythians

X But the Emperor, who was ill with a chill, as I have said, was obliged to retire to bed for a few days to recover. But even so he could not rest for thinking about what he ought to do on the morrow. As he was meditating on these things, Tatranes came to him. He was a Scythian who had frequently deserted to the Emperor and then gone back to his own people, each time he had been forgiven by the Emperor and in consequence of this forbearance he now bore a deep affection towards him and for the rest of his life he planned and worked for the Emperor with all his heart and soul. He came and said, “O Emperor, I have a presentiment that to-morrow the Scythians will surround the town and then commence a battle with us. You should therefore anticipate them and draw up your lines outside the walls at daybreak.”

The Emperor thanked him, took his advice and arranged to carry out this plan at sunrise. After giving this advice Tatranes went away and spoke as follows to the Scythian leaders, “Do not be puffed up with pride, because you have recently defeated the Emperor, and when you begin a battle with us do not raise your hopes too high because our numbers are small. For the Emperor’s might is invincible and a large mercenary army is expected at any minute. If you will not accept peace with him, the vultures will eat your corpses.” This is what Tatranes; said to the Scythians.

Now the Emperor was planning the capture of the numerous horses of the Scythians which were grazing in the plain, for the Scythians continued ravaging our territory both by day and by night, so he surnmoned Monastras, and Uzas and enjoined them to take some picked horsemen skirt round the rear of the Scythians and at dawn enter & plain and carry off all the horses and other cattle together with their herdsmen, and he exhorted them to be without fear. “For,” said he, “as we shall be fighting the enemy in front, you will easily execute your task.” And he was not disappointed, for his words soon became facts.

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