War with the Scyths part 9

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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 had crept up from- the back was on the point of hitting Nicephorus Diogenes, when the Emperor caught sight of him and called out: “Look behind you, Nicephorus ! ” So the latter turned round sharply and struck the Scythian in the face; and I have often heard the Emperor say that he had never seen anything so swift and skilful.

He used also to say, “If I had not been carrying a standard that day, I should have killed more Scythians than there are hairs on my head,” and this was not bragging, for who ever pushed modesty to such an extreme as he did? But sometimes conversation and the nature of events forced him to speak out about his doings within the circle of his family and intimates, though it was only as the result of much urging on our part; but no one in the world ever heard the Emperor boast of his prowess in public.- As a strong wind was blowing, and the Patzinaks were attacking him he could no longer hold the standard upright.

Then a Scythian wielding a long spear in both hands struck him in the buttocks, and though he did not break the skin, he inflicted exquisite pain which lasted for many years. Overcome by these difficulties he furled the standard and hid it in a germander bush so that nobody should see it; and then he rode through the night and came safely to Goloë (and from this the townsmen used to say, “From Dristra to Goloe is a fine feat even for an unwounded man, Comnenus “). During the day he went on to Beroë and stayed there as he wished to ransom the captives.

Read More about Rinconete and Cortadillo part 13

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