War with the Normans part 16

But when he heard the news sent by Bryennius and realized the craftiness and the victory won by guile he was naturally, indeed, furious with the Emperor, but in no wise cast down, so brave was he. A few selected Franks in full armour who were with him, then mounted a small hill opposite Larissa. Directly our heavy troops caught sight of them they demanded very eagerly to be allowed to attack them, but Alexius restrained them from this enterprise.

Nevertheless quite a number from the different divisions and of various types did join together and mounted the hill and attacked the Franks, who immediately rushed at them and killed about five hundred. Then the Emperor guessing at the spot where Bohemund was likely to pass, dispatched brave soldiers with the Turks and Migidenus as chief commander, but as they drew near, Bohemund set upon them and beat them and pursued them to the river.

VII As dawn broke on the following day Bohemund crossed the river we have mentioned

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War with the Normans part 15

After thus disposing his own forces, he again followed his usual mode of procedure and thinking the Emperor was where he saw the imperial ensigns in the middle of the line, he dashed down upon this deception like a whirlwind. After a short resistance his opponents turned their backs and he rushed after them in mad pursuit as in our previous descriptions. Meanwhile the Emperor saw his own troops fleeing far, and Bohemund in mad pursuit of them, and when he judged that Bohemund was at a safe distance from the Roman camp, he jumped on his horse, bade his followers do the same, and fell upon Bohemund’s encampment.

Once inside it he slew a number of the Latins he found there and carried off all the booty; then he took another glance at the pursuers and pursued. And observing that his own men were really pretending flight and Bohemund chasing after them and behind him Bryennius, he called George Pyrrhus, a famous archer, and having detached other brave men, and a goodly nu

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War with the Normans part 14

And this was to entrust all the divisions to his relatives; as chief commanders he appointed Melissenus Nicephorus and Curticius Basileios, also called ‘Little John’; this man was an outstanding figure renowned for his bravery and military skill, a native of Adrianople. But not only the divisions did he entrust to them but also all the royal standards. Moreover he enjoined them to draw up the army on the same plan as he had drawn it up in the foregoing battles, and advised them first to try the vanguard of the Latin army by a skirmishing attack, then to raise their battle-cry and make a general attack.

But directly the troops were fully engaged they were to turn their backs to the Latins and flee precipitately as if making for Lycostomium. Whilst the Emperor was giving these orders, suddenly all the horses in the army were heard to neigh. Astonishment seized them all; however, the Emperor and the more intelligent of his audience at once interpreted it as a good

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War with the Normans part 13

Therefore please make haste if you wish to help us and if you could possibly drive away our assailants, then thanks be to God. But, if not, I, at least, have done my duty; and shortly (for how is it possible to struggle against nature and its imperious demands?) we must bow our heads to necessity and we intend to surrender the fort to the enemy who are pressing us hard and literally throttling us. But if this calamity should eventually come to pass, then may I be accursed! But I now take the liberty of speaking openly to your Majesty.

If you do not hasten with all speed to extricate us from this danger, as we are unable to support the overwhelming burden of warfare, as well as famine, any longer; if you, our Sovereign, do not hasten to bring help when you have the power to do so, then, I say, you will certainly not escape the imputation of betrayal.” From this the Emperor realized that in one way or another he must overcome the foe; and he was oppressed by anxieties

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War with the Normans part 12

The Great Domestic on hearing this, occupied Moglena, seized and immediately put to death the’ Saracen’ and reduced the fort to complete ruin. Bohemund, meanwhile, left Castoria and came to Larissa where he hoped to winter. When the Emperor reached the capital, as already mentioned, he at once set to work-being, as he was, a strenuous worker and never allotting himself any rest-and asked the sultan for troops as well as for some generals with long experience.

The latter consequently sent him 7,000 men with highly experienced leaders, among whom was Camyres who surpassed all in long experience. While the Emperor was arranging and preparing these matters, Bohemund selected a certain portion of his own army, all Franks in full armour, sent them out and they took Pelagonia, Tricala and Castoria off-hand. Then Bohemund himself with his whole army entered Tricala and dispatching a detachment of brave men took Tzibiscus at first assault.

After this he approa

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War with the Normans part 11

In so doing he asked Goules (he was my father’s servant) and the others with him, “How far shall we flee? ” With these words he turned his horse, drew his sword and hit the foremost of his pursuers in the face. When the Franks saw this and recognized that he was quite reckless of his own safety, and as they knew from experience that men reduced to such a state of mind are invincible, they were stricken with fear and ceased their pursuit. And so freed from his pursuers he escaped danger.

Even in flight he did not entirely lose heart but managed to reassemble some of the fugitives and others he jeered at, though the majority naturally affected not to notice it. Having in this wise escaped from peril he re-entered the capital for the purpose of mustering new armies and again taking the field against Bohemund.

V After Robert’s departure for Lombardy Bohemund, obedient to his father’s behests, carried on the war against the Emperor, and c

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War with the Normans part 10

For he prepared iron caltrops, and on the eve of the day on which he expected a battle, he had them spread over the intermediate part of the plain, where he guessed the Frankish cavalry would make their fiercest onslaught, thus aiming to break the first irresistible attack of the Latins by piercing the feet of their horses. And he ordered the Roman spearsmen who held the front line, to ride forward at a measured pace in order not to be lamed by the caltrops, and to part to either side and then turn ; the light-armed troops were to send a heavy shower of darts on the Franks from a distance, and the left and right wings were to fall upon them in a vehement charge.

These indeed were my father’s plans but they did not escape Bohemund. For this is what happened: whatever plans my father made against him in the evening, the Frank knew by the morning. So he skilfully modified his plans in accordance with what he had been told, and engaged in battle but did not, as was his c

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War with the Normans part 9

When the hour of battle approached and the sun had already risen in its brilliance above the horizon, the Emperor drew up his regiments in order of battle and himself took the command of the centre. As soon as the engagement began, Bohemund shewed that he was not unprepared for the Emperor’s scheme, but, as if he had foreknowledge of it, he adapted himself to this happening, for he divided his own troops into two divisions, avoided the waggons and attacked the Roman ranks on either flank. Then lines were confounded with lines and men fought men, face to face.

After many had fallen on either side in the fierce fight, Bohemund certainly carried off the victory. The Emperor for his part stood like an unshaken tower with darts thrown at him from before and behind, for at one minute he would ride against the advancing Franks, engage in close fights with a few, giving and receiving blows and killing, and at another minute he would be shouting to, and rallying, the fugitive

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War with the Normans part 8

IV Shortly afterwards Bohemund came to him, bearing witness on his face of the defeat he bad sustained. We will now relate how f ate had dealt him this blow. The young man, mindful of his father’s counsels and being moreover naturally fond of war and of confronting dangers, steadily pursued the war with the Emperor. Taking his own soldiers with him and accompanied by all the picked men of the Romans and by the chiefs of the districts and towns which had been subdued by Robert (for these threw themselves heart and soul into Bohemund’s cause once they had given up the Emperor’s case as hopeless), he marched through Bagenetia to Joanina.

Here he first drew trenches in the vineyards outside the town and disposed all his troops in convenient positions, and then set up his own tent inside the town. He made a survey of the walls and recognising that the citadel was in a dangerous condition, he not only hastened to restore it as far as was possible, but he even b

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War with the Normans part 7

For he is not one of the common herd, but has been nurtured from childhood on wars and battles, he has travelled over the whole of the East and the West, and how many rebels he hunted down and brought back captive to the preceding emperors, you can learn yourself from many informants.

Therefore if you lose heart at all and do not march against him with firm resolve you will lose all that I personally have won by great effort, and you yourself will undoubtedly reap the fruits of your own laziness. And now I am leaving immediately to drive the King of Alamania out of our country and thus firmly establish my son Roger in the dominion I gave him.” After thus bidding his son farewell, Robert embarked on board a monoreme and reached the opposite coast of Lombardy, and from there hurried on to Salernum, which had formerly been appointed the residence for those who attained ducal rank.

Meanwhile the King of Alamania

He stayed there until he had collecte

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War with the Normans part 6

But he persisted and made them written promises of gifts and honours, but even so they did not return. Whilst the Emperor was engaged in these preparations for an advance against Robert, a messenger came to tell Robert that the King of Alamania had all but arrived in Lombardy. Then Robert was in a dilemma and deliberated what would be the best thing to do.

After much reflection, as he had left Roger to be ruler over his Kingdom when he crossed to Illyria, but had not yet assigned any territory to his younger son, Bohemund, he assembled all the Counts and picked men among the soldiers, and summoning also his son, Bohemund, nicknamed Saniscus, he made a public harangue and said, ” You know, Counts, that when I settled to cross to Illyria I appointed my beloved first-begotten son Roger, ruler of my country.

King of Alamania

For I could not have started from there and undertaken a task of great magnitude if I had left my own country without a leader

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War with the Normans part 5

By the advice of malicious persons of whom there were a number in the Government then, he grew still bolder towards the Emperors and egged on by his friends he even resorted to insults and untimely blasphemies. The Emperor besought him to change his opinion about the images and also to desist from the enmity towards him, he also promised to restore even finer vessels to the churches and to do all that was necessary to repair the loss. The Emperor himself was already acquitted of blame by the more liberal-minded of the senate whom the partisans of the Chalcedonian called “flatterers.” As a result of this behaviour, Leo was condemned to deposition from office.

As he did not knuckle under and did not keep quiet at all, but again disturbed the Church meeting, coming with a considerable crowd of followers, for he was absolutely irreconcilable and incorrigible, he was condemned by a unanimous vote after the lapse of some years and a sentenced exile was pronounced aga

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War with the Normans part 4

Thereupon he began reciting the Canons about ” superfluous Church vessels ” and after saying a good deal about them, he concluded with the words, ” I am compelled to compel those whom I do not wish to compel.” And by putting forward various bold arguments he seemed likely to win over the majority. But Metaxas opposed him, advanced some very specious counter-arguments and even jeered at Isaac himself. But in spite of him, Isaac’s proposal was carried. This decision became the subject of a very grave scandal to the Emperors (for I do not hesitate to call Isaac ” emperor ” even though he did not wear the purple), which lasted not only for the moment but for a considerable time.

The head of the church of Chalcedon at this time was a certain Leo, not one of the especially wise or intellectual, but of very virtuous life, though his manners were rough and disagreeable. This man tore off the silver and gold ornaments on the doors of the ch

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War with the Normans part 3

As he did not wish to do anything unworthy of, or inconsistent with, his own military knowledge and bravery, he focussed his attention on these two points – the first was to collect allies from all sides, who would easily be allured by the promise of heavy largess, and the second, to request his mother and brother to procure money somehow from somewhere, and send it to him.

II These two could not discover any other means of procuring money, so to begin with they collected whatever silver and gold articles they possessed and sent them to the imperial mint ; but first of all the Empress, my mother, deposited the sum that remained to her of her parents’ patrimony, hoping thereby to instigate others to do the same ; for she was extremely anxious for the Emperor, seeing the straits into which his affairs had fallen. Secondly, they took from the persons who were well-affected towards the imperial family, and had voluntarily offered to advance money, as much gold and

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War with the Normans part 2

Both these men were clever at foreseeing everything, and in grasping the essentials’ and there was no strategic trick unknown to them; they were conversant with every kind of siege, ambuscade and regular battles in the open field, swift and brave in actual fighting, and of all the leaders in the world they were the adversaries most alike in intellect and courage.

The Emperor Alexius had, however, a slight advantage over Robert in that while younger he was no whit inferior to the other who was already in his prime, and used to boast that he could almost make the earth quake and throw a whole army into a panic by one single shout!

But these details can be left for a different kind of writing, and are sure to be mentioned by encomiasts. The Emperor Alexius allowed himself a short rest in Achrida, and after regaining his physical strength, went to Diabolis. Here he sought as far as possible to reinvigorate the survivors from their sufferings in the battle, and

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