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The Alexiad: Book XI

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The First Crusade (1097-1104)


I AND now Bohemund and all the Counts joined Godfrey at the place from which they were to cross to Cibotus [*=Civetot], I and there awaited the arrival of Isangeles. But, as they were a countless multitude, they could not stay in one place because of the scarcity of provisions, although they expected the Emperor to come with Isangeles in order that they might undertake the march to Nicaea in company with him. Consequently they split into two parties, the one travelling to Nicaea through Bithynia and Nicomedia, and the other crossing the sea to Cibotus, and arriving at the same place. After approaching Nicaea by these routes they apportioned its towers and the intervening curtains among themselves, as they intended to carry on the assault on the walls by regular succession so that mutual competition should cause the siege to be conducted very vigorously. The portion that fell to Isangeles they left untouched whilst they waited for his coming. At the same time the Emperor occupied Pelecanus because of his plans about Nima which I have already explained. The barbarians inside Nicaea had already frequently implored the Sultan to come to their aid. But, as he still delayed and the siege had by now been carried on for many days from dawn till sunset, and they saw that their affairs were in a very bad way, they decided after discussion that it would be better to surrender to the Emperor than be taken by the Franks. To this intent they approached Butumites who had often promised them in various letters that they would be liberally rewarded by the Emperor if they delivered up Nicaea to him. He now assured them more definitely of the Emperor's kind intentions and shewed them the written promises if they handed over the city, and was gladly welcomed by the Turks who despaired of resisting those immense hordes any longer and considered it better to hand Civetot. [270] over the city of their own free will to the Emperor and receive money and honour than to fall a sacrifice to the sword. Butumites had not been in Nicaea three days before Isangeles arrived and started to make an attempt on the walls with the siege-engines he had prepared. In the meantime a rumour reached them telling of the Sultan's approach. Directly the Turks heard it they regained courage and promptly expelled Butumites. And the Sultan detached and sent on a part of his army to spy out Isangeles' way of approach and bade them not refuse battle, if they met any Franks. Isangeles' soldiers saw them from a distance and joined battle with them. Directly the other Counts and Bohemund got ear of the barbarians' attack, they selected two hundred soldiers from each Count's army and thus dispatched an army of imposing size to aid Isangeles' men; they succeeded in routing the Turks and pursued them till the evening. However the Sultan was not at all dispirited by this but armed himself at break of day and with his whole army occupied the plain outside Nicaea. When the Franks became aware of the Sultan's presence, they armed themselves fully and rushed upon the Turks like lions. And then a severe and terrible battle began. Throughout the whole day the fate of the balance swayed equally for both sides, but when the sun set the Turks were routed and night decided the battle. Many fell on either side and yet a greater number were wounded. After gaining this brilliant victory the Franks fixed many of the Turks' heads on their spears and marched back carrying these like standards, in order that the barbarians should see from a distance what had happened, and lose heart through being defeated at the start, and therefore refrain from a strenuous battle.

These things then the Latins did and devised. But the Sultan, after seeing their countless multitude and having gained experience of their invincible boldness from the battle itself, sent a message to the Turks inside Nicaea, saying "Act for the future in whatever way you think best." Forhe had known for some time that they would prefer to surrender the city to the Emperor than be captured by the Franks. Isangeles continuing the work he had begun, had a large circular wooden tower built, which he covered on either side with hides and with plaited wickerwork round the middle of it, and made very strong all round and then moved it up to the side of the tower called Gonates. This tower obtained its name long ago when the famous Manuel (father of the [271] previous Emperor Isaac Cornnenus and his brother John, my paternal grandfather) was appointed General-in-Chief of the whole Eastern army by the reigning Emperor Basil in order to compose his differences with Sclerus, either by engaging him in battle, or by using persuasion and inducing him to make peace. But as Sclerus loved war and always delighted in bloodshed he chose war rather than peace; severe encounters took place daily, partly because Sclerus did not wish for peace, but also because he was striving hard to take Nicaea with the help of siege-engines. He effected a breach in the walls and, as the greater part of the foot of the tower had been cut away, it began to settle down and look as if it had fallen on to its knees, and from this circumstance it obtained its name. Such then is the history of this tower Gonates. When Isangeles had built this tower I have mentioned, very scientifically (it was called a 'tortoise' by experienced mechanics), he introduced armed men inside it to batter the walls and others who knew how to loosen the tower at its foundations with iron instruments. His idea was that while the one set fought with the defenders on the walls, the other set below would have leisure to undermine the tower. These men substituted logs for the stones they dug out, and, when they had worked their way through to the inner side of the wall and saw the light coming through from it, they set fire to the logs. These were burnt to ashes and caused Gonates to lean forward still more so that it did not lose its name. The remaining part of the walls they encompassed with battering-rams and 'tortoises' ; the deep trench outside the walls they filled with loose earth in no time, until it was brought up to the level of the plains on either side; and they prosecuted the siege with all their might.

II The Emperor, who had repeatedly and accurately thought out the matter, realized that it would be impossible for the Latins to take Nicaea, even if they had forces without number, so in the meanwhile he had various sorts of siege-engines built, and most of them not according to the usual designs of the mechanics but on other lines he had thought out himself - a thing which amazed people -and these he sent to the Counts. As already stated, the Emperor had crossed the straits with the soldiers he had at hand, and was staying not far from Pelecanus near Mesampela, where a chapel had been built in former years to the memory of the great martyr George. The Emperor would really have liked to march [271]with the Latins against the impious Turks, but when he pondered over this idea and recognized that no comparison could be made between the countless hosts of the Frankish army and his own Roman army, and as from long experience he knew the Latins' fickleness, he desisted from the enterprise. Not only for this reason, but also because he realized the unstable and faithless nature of these men who were easily swayed in opposite directions like the Euripus, and were often ready because of their covetousness to sell their wives and children for a penny-piece; for these reasons the Emperor held back from the enterprise at that time. He felt that though he could not join the Franks, he ought to give them as much help as if he were with them. As he knew the great strength of the fortifications of Nicxa, he understood that the Latins could not possibly take it; then he heard that the Sultan was conveying sufficient troops and all the necessaries of life into the town quite easily by means of the adjacent lake, and so schemed to get possession of the lake. He had light boats built, such as that water would be able to carry, and then had them piled on wagons and carried to the lake on the side that looks Cius-wards. In them he placed heavy armed soldiers with Manuel Buturnites as commander and gave them more standards then necessary to make them appear many times more than they were, as well as trumpets and kettle drums. Such then were the measures the Emperor took about the lake. Then he summoned Taticius and the man called Tzitas from the continent and with two thousand brave peltasts sent them to Nicaea. His orders to them were that directly they disembarked they were to occupy the fort of St. George and pack the load of arrows they carried on mules; dismount from their horses at some distance from the walls of Nicaea, march forward slowly and fix their palisades opposite the tower Gonates, and then by agreement with the Franks attack the walls in close formation. Therefore when Taticius arrived with his army he sent word to the Franks as the Emperor had commanded ; and after they had all put on full armour they attacked the walls with much shouting and noise. And while Taticius' men discharged showers of darts, the Franks in one place pierced the walls, and in another hurled stones from catapults incessantly. From the side of the lake too the barbarians were terrified by the imperial standards and trumpets and at the same time they were convoked by Butun-dtes to hear the Emperor's promises, consequently they became so distracted that they did not [273] even dare to look over from the battlements; and as by this time they had despaired of the Sultan's coming, they considered it wisest to surrender the city to the Emperor and to parley with Butumites about this. After making a suitable speech to them, he shewed them the document sealed with gold which the Emperor had entrusted to him; they listened to the reading of this document by which the Emperor promised not only immunity, but also rich awards of money and honours, to the Sultan's sister and wife (who was said to be Tzachas' daughter) and without exception to all the barbarians in Nicaea; consequently they felt encouraged by the Emperor's promises and granted Butumites admission. He immediately sent a letter to Taticius saying, "We already have the prey in our hands; and you must now get ready to assault the walls. Persuade the Franks to prepare for this too but do not give them any further encouragement than to make an attack on the walls from all sides and tell them to encircle the walls and start the siege at sunrise." This was really advice to make the Franks believe that the city had been taken by Buturnites in war and to keep secret the drama of treachery the Emperor had arranged. For the Emperor did not want the Franks to know anything of what Buturnites had done. On the following day the war-cry was raised on both sides of the city and on the land-side the Franks started the assault with great vigour, and on the other Buturnites mounted to the battlements, fixed the imperial sceptres and standards along the walls and with bugles and trumpets acclaimed the Emperor. And in this way the whole Roman army entered Nicaea. Now Buturnites having in mind the number of the Franks, feared on account of their fickleness and impetuosity, that they might enter and take possession of the citadel; for he observed that the Turkish satraps inside were powerful enough in comparison with the small force he had himself, to imprison and slaughter them all, if they wished to, and accordingly he at once took charge of the keys of the gate. For only one had been used as entrance and exit for some time, the others were all closed through fear of the Franks outside. Now when he had the keys of this gate in his own possession, he decided that he ought to diminish the number of satraps by craft in order that he could easily overpower them and prevent their devising any treachery against him. So he summoned them and advised them to journey to the Emperor if they wished to receive large sums of money from his hands and be rewarded with [274] high titles and granted annual pensions. He persuaded the Turks, and then opened the gate at night and sent away a few from time to time over the lake to Rhodomerus and the semi-barbarian Monastras, who were staying near the fort named after St. George. He ordered these two to send on the Turks to the Emperor directly they disembarked and not to detain them even for a short time so that they might not join with the Turks who were sent on later in plotting some mischief against them. Now this was literally a kind of prophecy and an irrefutable proof of that man's great experience. For as long as the Turks who arrived were sent on to the Emperor quickly, they (Monastras and Rhodomerus) were quite safe and no danger threatened them, but when they had relaxed their diligence, then danger was prepared for them at the hands of the barbarians whom they had detained. For as these were now many in number they schemed to do one or other of two things, either to attack them by night and kill them, or to take them captive to t e Sultan. As the majority voted for the latter, they attacked them at night, took them captive according to plan and left that place. And when they had reached the hill Azalas (this place is . . . stades distant from the walls of Nicaea) there, report says, they dismounted from their horses and let them rest. Now Monastras, being a semi-barbarian knew the Turkish language, and Rhodomerus who had once been captured by the Turks and dwelt some time among them, was likewise not ignorant of their language. So they repeatedly started speaking plausibly to them and saying, "Why are you mixing the cup of death for us, when you yourselves will not gain the slightest advantage thereby? All your other friends have been granted bountiful gifts by the Emperor and have been assigned yearly pensions, and you are depriving yourselves of all these advantages. Do not, we pray you, treat yourselves thus and run headlong into visible peril, when it lies within your power to live free from peril and return to your own country pluming yourselves on your riches and perhaps even becoming owners of lands. Very likely too we shall fall into some Roman ambuscade hereabouts," and they pointed to the streams and marshy places around, " and then you will be killed and lose your lives to no purpose. For undoubtedly a great many are lying in wait for you, not only Gauls and barbarians but also an immense number of Romans. Therefore if you will follow our advice, let us turn our horses and journey all together to the Emperor. And we swear to [275] you by God that the Emperor will grant you ten thousand gifts and afterwards, whenever you please, you will be at liberty to leave, like free men."

The Turks agreed to their proposition, and after giving and receiving pledges, they hastened along the road to the Emperor. When they reached Pelecanus and the Emperor saw them, he received them all with a cheerful countenance, though inwardly deeply indignant with Rhodomerus and Monastras, but for the moment he sent them away to rest. In the course of the following day all the Turks who expressed readiness to remain in his service, were granted innumerable benefits; and even those who asked to return to their homes received no inconsiderable presents and were allowed to follow their own will. Later on he censured Rhodomerus and Monastras severely for their thoughtlessness; but, when he noticed that they did not dare to look him in the face for shame, he changed his tone and tried to conciliate them again. So much then about Rhodomerus and Monastras.

Butumites was appointed Duke of Nima by the Emperor, and the Franks asked him for permission to enter the city and visit and worship in its churches. However he, knowing their character, as I have said before, did not allow them all to come in a body, but opened the gates and only allowed ten Franks to enter at a time.

III The Emperor was still staying at Pelecanus and as he wished that those Counts who had not yet sworn fealty to him, should also take this oath, he commanded Butumites by letter to advise all the Counts together not to start on their way to Antioch before they took leave of the Emperor, for if they did so, it might be that they would receive still furthergifts. Directly he heard the words 'money' and 'gifts,' Bohemund first of all gave his assent to Butumites' advice and urged all the others to go with him to the Emperor, so insatiably greedy of money was he. When they reached Pelecanus, the Emperor received them with great ceremony, and treated them with much consideration; later he called them and said, " You remember the oath you all took to me, and if you are not going to be transgressors of it, advise those who you know have not yet sworn fealty to me, to take the same oath." And the Counts at once sent for those who had not yet sworn fealty; and they all came together and consummated the oath. But Bohemund's nephew, Tancred, a youth of independent spirit, maintained that he owed fidelity to Bohemund alone, and that he would keep it to his death, [276] His own friends standing by and even the Emperor's kinsmen kept importuning him, and then he said, feigning indifference, as it were, and with a glance at the tent in the front of which the Emperor was sitting (it was larger than any had ever seen before), " If you will give me this tent full of money and as much more as you have given to the Counts, then I too will take the oath." Now because of the respect he bore to the Emperor, Palaeologus could not stand Tancred's conceited speech, and turned him away with contempt. Whereat Tancred, who was very hasty, rushed at him and the Emperor observing it rose from his throne and stood between them. Bohemund too held him back with the words, " It is not fitting for you to behave in such an impudent way to the Emperor's kinsman." Then Tancred, ashamed of having acted like a drunken man towards Palaeologus and also influenced to a certain degree by Bohemund's and the others' counsel, took the oath. When they had all taken leave of the Emperor, he assigned them Taticius, who was then Great Primicerius, and the troops under his command, partly to assist them on every occasion and to avert danger and partly to take over the towns from them if God allowed them to take any. So the Franks once again crossed the straits the next day, and all took the road leading to Antioch. Ile Emperor guessed that not all the men would necessarily depart with the Counts and accordingly signified to Butumites to hire all the Franks, who remained behind when their army left, for the garrison of Nicaea.

And Taticius with his army and all the Counts and the innumerable Frankish hosts under their command, reached Leucae in two days. The vanguard was apportioned to Bohemund at his own request whilst the rest drawn up in line followed him at a slow pace. As he proceeded fairly quickly the Turks in the plains of Dorylaeum thought, when they saw him, that the whole army of the Franks had come and despising its size at once commenced a battle with him. Then that swollen-headed Latin, who had dared to sit on the imperial throne, was forgetful of the Emperor's advice, and fought in the front of Bohemund's army and in his stupidity ran ahead of the others. About forty of his men were killed in consequence, and he himself, seriously wounded, turned his back to the foe and made his way back to the middle of the army, thus proclaiming in deed, though he would not in words, the wisdom of the Emperor's advice. As Bohemund saw that the Turks were fighting very bravely, he sent to fetch the [277] Frankish troops. They came up with all speed, and after that a serious and terrible battle took place. And the Roman and Frankish armies carried off the victory. As they travelled onwards, drawn up in troops, the Sultan Tanisman and Asan, who alone commanded eighty thousand armed men, met them near Hebraica. A fierce contest ensued as there were such numbers of troops, and neither side would yield to the other; when Bohemund who commanded the right wing saw with what courage the Turks were fighting their opponents he withdrew from the rest of the army and made a headlong descent upon Clitziasthlan, the Sultan himself, 'like a lion rejoicing in his strength,' as the poet says. This so terrified the Turks that it made them turn their backs. Remembering the Emperor's advice, they did not pursue them far, but reached the Turks' lines and, after resting there a little, overtook them again near Augustopolis, and attacked and routed them utterly. After that the barbarian power collapsed; the survivors dispersed, one here, one there, leaving their wives and children behind them, as for the future they did not dare meet the Latins face to face, but tried to find safety for themselves in flight.

IV What happened next? The Latins in company with the Roman army reached Antioch by the so-called Oxys Dromos and paid no attention to the country on either side but drew their lines close to the walls, deposited their baggage and proceeded to besiege this city during three revolutions of the moon. The Turks alarmed at the straits which had overtaken them, sent word to the Sultan of Chorosan begging him to send sufficient troops to their assistance, in order to succour the Antiochians themselves, and also to drive off the Latins who were besieging them from outside.

Now there happened to be an Armenian on the tower above guarding the portion of the wall assigned to Bohemund. As he often bent over from above Bohemund plied him with honeyed words, tempted him with many promises and thus persuaded him to betray the city to him. The Armenian said to him, " Whenever you like and as soon as you give me a signal from outside, I will at once hand over this tower to you. Only be quite ready yourself and have all the people with you ready too and equipped with ladders. And not only you yourself must be ready but the whole army must be under arms so that directly the Turks see you after you have come up and hear your war-cry, they will be terrified and turn in flight. And this arrangement [278] Bohemund kept secret. While these matters were in contemplation, a messenger came saying that an immense crowd of Hagarenes sent from Chorosan against them was close at hand, under the conduct of the man called Curpagan.[*=Kerbogha] When he heard this, as he did not wish to cede Antioch to Taticius according to the oath he had previously sworn to the Emperor, but rather longed for it for himself, Bohemund planned a wicked plan which would force Taticius to remove himself from the city against his will. Accordingly he went to him and said, "I want to reveal a secret to you, as I am concerned for your safety. A report which has reached the ears of the Counts has much disturbed their minds-it is, that the Emperor has persuaded the Sultan to send these men from Chorosan against us. As the Counts firmly believe this they are plotting against your life. And now, I have done my duty by warning you beforehand of the danger that threatens you. And the rest is your concern, to take measures for your own safety, and that of the troops under you." Then considering the severe famine (for an ox-head was being sold for three gold staters) and also because he despaired of taking Antioch, Taticius departed, embarked on the Roman fleet which was in the harbour of Sudi, and made for Cyprus. After his departure Bohemund, who still kept the Armenian's promise secret, and was buoyed up by the great hope of gaining possession of Antioch for himself, said to the Counts, "You see how long we have already persevered in this siege, and yet have accomplished nothing useful up to the present, and now we are within an ace of perishing by starvation unless we can devise something better for our salvation." On their enquiring what that could be, he replied, " God does not always give victory to the leaders by means of the sword, nor are such things always accomplished by fighting. But what toil has not procured, words have often effected, and the greatest trophies have been erected by friendly and propitiatory intercourse. Let us therefore not spend our time here uselessly, but endeavour to accomplish something sensible and courageous for our own safety before Curpagan arrives. Let each one of us studiously try to win over the barbarian who guards our respective section. And if you like, let there be set as prize for the one who first succeeds in this work, the sovereignty of this city until such time as the man who is to take it over from us arrives from the Emperor. Even in this way perhaps we may not be able to accomplish [279] anything worthwhile." All these things that artful and ambitious Bohemund did, not so much for the sake of the Latins, and the common weal, as for his own advancement, and by this planning and speaking and deceiving he did not fail to gain his object as my history will shew further on. AlltheCounts agreed to his proposition and set to work. And at dawn of day Bohemund at once made for the tower, and the Armenian according to agreement opened the gate to him; he immediately rushed up with his followers more quickly than can be told and was seen by the people within and without standing on the battlements of the tower and ordering the trumpeters to sound the call to battle.

And then indeed a strange sight was to be seen, the Turks, panic-stricken fled without delay through the opposite gate, and the only ones of them who stayed behind were a few brave men who defended the Cula [*= The citadel]; and the Franks from outside ascended the ladders on the heels of Bohemund, and straightway took possession of the city of Antioch. Tancred with a small body of men pursued the fugitives, many of whom were killed and many wounded. When Curpagan arrived with his countless thousands for the succour of the city of Antioch and found it already taken, he planted his palisades, made a trench, deposited the baggage in it and decided to blockade the city. But before he could start on this work, the Franks rushed out and attacked him. A fierce battle then took place between them in which the Turks gained the victory. Now the Latins were shut up in the city and were hard pressed on both sides, on the one by the garrison of the Cula (for the barbarians were still in possession of this) and on the other, by the Turks encamped outside. That artful man Bohemund who hoped to win the sovereignty of Antioch for himself once again spoke to the Counts, pretending to give them advice, saying, "We ought not all to fight simultaneously both against the enemy outside and the one inside, but rather split up into two portions in proportion to the number of the enemy fighting us on one side or the other, and then carry on the war in that way. And if you all approve, let my duty be to fight with the defenders of the Acropolis; and your business will be to fight vigorously against the foes outside." They all assented to Bohemund's suggestion. He at once set to work to cut off the Acropolis from the rest of Antioch by building a transverse wall opposite, which would be a very strong defence in case of a long war. [280] And then he constituted himself the watchful guardian of this wall fighting very bravely on every possible occasion with the garrison within. And the other Counts bestowed the greatest attention to their respective sections, guarding the city continuously and keeping the parapets and battlements of the walls under observation, firstly to prevent the barbarians ascending by ladders at night and capturing the city, and secondly to prevent any of the men inside going up to the wall and from there talking about treachery to the barbarians and betraying the city.

V That is how matters stood at Antioch up till then. But the Emperor, who was very anxious to go to the assistance of the Franks, was in spite of his longing deterred from so doing by the state of devastation and utter ruination of the maritime towns and districts. For Tzachas held Smyrna as if it were his own and a man, called Tangripermes, held the town of Ephesus situated on the coast in which a church was built long ago to the apostle and theologian John. Similarly other satraps held other towns, treated the Christian inhabitants as slaves and spread desolation around. Moreover, they held Chios, Rhodes and some other islands as well and built pirate-vessels in them. Consequently he deemed it wiser first to attend to maritime matters and Tzachas, and to leave strong garrisons on the mainland and a large enough fleet to restrain the Turks' sallies and repel them, and then afterwards with the rest of the army take the road to Antioch and fight with the barbarians on his way to the best of his ability. Accordingly he sent for John Ducas his brother-in-law and handed over to him troops recruited from various countries and a fleet large enough for besieging the maritime towns. He also entrusted to him Tzachas' daughter, who had lately been taken captive at Nicaea with others, and ordered him to proclaim the capture of Nicaea everywhere, and, if it were not believed, to shew Tzachas' daughter to the Turkish satraps and barbarians in the sea-coast towns, so that the men, who held the towns we have just mentioned, on seeing her and being assured of the capture of Nicaea would in despair give up the cities without striking a blow. After supplying John fully with all necessaries he sent him forth.

And now I will proceed to set forth how many trophies he erected over Tzachas and how he drove him out of Smyrna. This Duke, my maternal uncle, took leave of the Emperor, then quitted the capital and crossed to Abydus; there he [281] summoned a man called Caspax and entrusted him with the command of the fleet and the whole conduct of the naval expedition. He promised him that if he fought well then, when they succeeded in taking Smyrna, he would appoint him Governor of Smyrna itself and of all the towns on its borders. So he sent him away by sea, as ruler of the fleet, and he remained on land in command of the troops. Soon the inhabitants of Smyrna saw both Caspax approaching with the fleet and Ducas over land, and then Ducas pitching his camp at a short distance from the walls, and Caspax anchoring in the harbour. Since they had already heard of the fall of Nica!a, they had not the slightest wish to resist Ducas, but preferred to confer about making peace. On condition that John Ducas was willing to swear that he would allow them all to depart to their own homes without suffering any harm, they promised to surrender Smyrna to him without shedding blood and without striking a blow. Ducas thereupon agreed to Tzachas' proposal, and promised to carry out everything to the letter. After having driven them out thus peaceably he invested Caspax with absolute authority over Smyrna. The following incident occurred by chance. As Caspax was coming away from John Ducas, a Smyrniote came up to him, accusing a Saracen of having stolen five hundred gold staters from him. Caspax ordered them to be brought up for trial, but the Syrian who was being hauled along thought he was being led to execution and in despair of his own safety drew his knife and plunged it into Caspax' bowels; and turned round and also wounded Caspax' brother in the thigh. Hereupon a terrible commotion arose, the Saracen escaped, and all the men of the fleet, and the crews as well, rushed into the city pell-mell and killed everybody mercilessly. It was a pitiful sight, ten thousand killed in a moment of time. John Ducas was extremely grieved at Caspax' death and for some time took the whole adrninistration of the fortress upon himself. In this capacity he went round and inspected the walls and ascertained the opinions of the inhabitants from men who knew; and as he felt that a brave man was needed, he appointed Hyaleas, whom he thought best of all, Duke of Smyrna. This man was a devotee of the War-God. Ducas left the whole navy to protect Smyrna, and then marched with his troops to the town of Ephesus which was held by the satraps, Tangripermes and Maraces. When these barbarians saw him advancing towards them, they got under arms, and arranged their [282] troops in order of battle on the plains outside the city. And the Duke without any delay and with his army skilfully disposed attacked them. The battle that then began lasted the greater part of the day; both sides fought well and the issue of the battle hung in the balance till at last the Turks turned their backs and were utterly routed. On this occasion many were killed and still larger numbers were captured, not only of the common soldiers, but of the satraps themselves, so that the total of the captives amounted to two thousand. When informed of this the Emperor ordered them to be dispersed among the islands. The Turks who escaped, crossed the river Maeander and went to Polybotum and were contemptuous of Ducas, thinking him of no account whatever. But this was not so. For leaving Petzeas as Duke of Ephesus, he himself took the whole army and at once started after them according to the Emperor's behest, not in disorderly confusion, but in good order and in the manner that it befits an experienced general to march on the foe. Now the Turks, as already said, travelled to Polybotum by way of the Maeander and the towns along its banks. But the Duke did not follow in their steps, but journeying by the shorter road, took Sardis and Philadelphia off-hand and entrusted these to the guardianship of Michael Cecaumenos. When he reached Laodicea, all the inhabitants immediately came out to him, consequently he treated them kindly as they had joined him of their own accord, and allowed them to stay safely in their homes without even appointing a governor. From there he passed through Coma and reached Lampe and in this town he left Camytzes Eustathius governor. On arriving at Polybotum he fell in with a large crowd of Turks and falling upon them at once whilst they were depositing their baggage, he conquered them completely after a short encounter, and killed many, the amount of booty he took was in proportion to their numbers.

VI Before Ducas had returned, whilst he was still fighting with the Turks, the Emperor prepared to go to the assistance of the Franks in Antioch, and reached Philomelium with all his forces after killing many barbarians on the way and destroying several towns hitherto held by them. Here he was found by men from Antioch, Gehelmus Grantemanes, Stephen, Count of France and Peter, son of Aliphas; these had been let down by ropes from the walls of Antioch, made their way through Tarsus and reported to him the terrible straits into which the Franks were driven and upon oath [283] they told him of their utter fall. This news made the Emperor still more anxious to hasten to their assistance although everybody sought to restrain him from this enterprise. And then a report was spread abroad everywhere that an incredible host of barbarians was on its way to overtake him. (For the Sultan of Chorosan, hearing of the Emperor's departure to go to the assistance of the Franks, had collected innumerable men from Chorosan and the further provinces, equipped them all thoroughly and putting them under the command of his own son, Ishmael by name, had sent them forth with instructions to overtake the Emperor quickly before he reached Antioch.) And thus the Emperor's expedition, which he undertook for the sake of the Franks, and with the desire of wiping out the Turks who were fighting furiously with them, and above all their leader Curpagan - this expedition was stopped both by the report which the Franks had brought and by the news of Ishmael's advance against him. For he calculated what would probably happen in the future, namely, that it was an impossibility to save a city which had only just been taken by the Franks and while still in a state of disorder was immediately besieged from outside by the Hagarenes; and the Franks in despair of all help, were planning to leave only empty walls to the enemy and to save their own lives by flight. For the nation of the Franks in general is self-willed and independent and never employs military discipline or science, but when it is a question of war and fighting, anger barks in their hearts and they are not to be restrained; and this applies not only to the soldiers but to the leaders themselves for they dash into the middle of the enemies' ranks with irresistible force, especially if their opponents yield a little. But if the enemy with strategic skill often sets ambuscades for them and pursues them methodically, then all this courage evaporates. In short, the ranks cannot be resisted in their first attack, but afterwards they are exceedingly easy to master both because of the weight of their arms and from their passionate and irrational character. For these reasons, as his forces were insufficient against such numbers, and he could not change the Franks' decision, nor by better advice convert them to their advantage, he considered he had better not proceed any further, lest by hastening to the assistance of Antioch he might cause the destruction of Constantinople. He was afraid, too, in case the countless Turkish tribes overtook him, that the inhabitants of the regions of [284] Philomelium would fall victims to the barbarians' swords, so he arranged to have the approach of the Hagarenes announced throughout the country. The announcement was immediately made and the order given that each man and woman should leave their homes before the Turks arrived, and thus save their persons and as much property as each could carry. They all elected at once to accompany the Emperor, not only the men but the women too.... This was the arrangement the Emperor made about the prisoners. Next he detached a part of the army, broke it up further into several sections and dispatched them against the Hagarenes, with orders that, if they met any Turks making advance movements, they were to engage them and fight fiercely, and thus retard their attack on the Emperor. He himself, with the whole crowd of baxbarian prisoners and of the Christians who had joined him, returned to the capital. When the arch-satrap Ishmael heard of the Emperor's doings, namely, that he had left Constantinople and effected great slaughter, laid many small towns he passed through in ruins, collected a large quantity of spoil and captives, and was now returning to the capital and had left him nothing to do, Ishmael was at a loss for he despaired of capturing his prey. Consequently he turned in another direction and resolved to besiege Palpert which had been taken shortly before by the illustrious Theodore Gabras, and on reaching the river flowing past the town, he encamped his whole army there. When informed of this, Gabras thought of attacking him at night. But the result of Gabras' enterprise and his origin and character shall be reserved for a fitting moment in my history; for the present we must keep to our subject.

Now the Latins being terribly pressed by famine and the blockade, went to Peter, the man who had been conquered at Helenopolis, their Bishop, as has been already explained, and asked him for counsel. He said to them, "You promised to keep yourselves pure until you reached Jerusalem, and this promise, I think, you have broken, and for this reason God has not been helping you now, as He did formerly. Therefore you must now turn to the Lord and bewail your sins in sackcloth and ashes, and shew your repentance by many tears and vigils spent in prayer. I myself too will spend my time in propitiating the Deity towards you." They obeyed the bishop's instructions. And after a few days the bishop inspired by a divine voice assembled the chief Counts and urged them to dig on the right side of the altar, and there [285] they would find the Holy Nail.[*= This should be, Lance.]' They did as he bade and as they did not find it, they returned all discouraged and announced that they had failed in their quest. He accordingly prayed still more earnestly and bade them conduct their search for the object more carefully. They again did his bidding and when they had found what they sought, carried it headlong to Peter, overcome with joy and awe. And then they entrusted that holy and venerable Nail to Isangeles to carry in battle as he was the holiest of them all. The following day, they sallied out upon the Turks from a secret door. On this occasion the man called Flanders begged the others to grant him just one request, namely, to allow him with three friends only to ride out first against the Turks. This request was granted him, and, when the armies stood drawn up in squadrons on either side and were preparing for the shock of battle, he dismounted and after prostrating himself on the ground three times he prayed to God and invoked His help. Then they all shouted. "God with us! " and at full gallop he rode straight at Curpagan himself who was standing on a hillock. Speedily they struck with their spears the Turks they encountered, and threw them to the ground. The Turks were so terrified by this, that, even before the battle had commenced, they turned to flight as God was evidently aiding the Christians. Most of the Turks in their flight were in their distraction caught in the eddies of the river and drowned, so that those who came after used the bodies of the drowned in place of a bridge. After pursuing the fugitives for a considerable distance they returned to the Turkish lines where they found the barbarian baggage and all the booty they carried with them, this latter they wanted to remove at once, but it was so much that they scarcely managed to convey it all to Antioch in thirty days. They stayed on the spot for a little time to rest after the hardships of the war, and at the same time they took thought for Antioch and looked for a man to guard it. This man was Bohemund who had asked for this position even before the city was captured. So they conceded him full powers over Antioch and themselves set out on the road to Jerusalem. And on their way they took several of the maritime fortresses, but those, which were very strong and would have necessitated a lengthy siege, they passed by for the present as they were anxious to reach Jerusalem. They encircled its walls and made frequent attacks on them and besieged the [286] town and within one lunar month they took it and killed many of the Saracenic and Jewish inhabitants. When they had brought all into subjection and no one resisted them, they invested Godfrey with supreme authority by unanimous consent, and called him 'king.'

VII The tidings of the Franks' expedition was brought to Amerinmes, Prince of Babylon, and he heard how they had taken Jerusalem and also occupied Antioch, and several other towns in its vicinity, so he collected a great multitude of Armenians, Arabs, Saracens and Hagarenes and dispatched them to oppose the Franks. Godfrey announced this to the Franks who accordingly prepared to meet them, and marched down to Jaffa and there awaited their coming; from there they went to Ramel [*= Rama] where the great martyr George suffered, met the army of Amerinmes advancing towards them and at once joined battle with them. And the Franks soon overcame them. But on the following day when the vanguard of the enemy caught them up from behind, the Latins were beaten and ran for their lives to Ramel. Count Balduinus alone was absent from the battle as he had fled, not from cowardice, but to take measures for his own safety and to prepare an army to fight the Babylonians. The Babylonians followed them and encompassed the town of Ramel and took it after a short siege. Many of the Latins fell there, but the greater number were sent as prisoners to Babylon. After that the whole Babylonian army turned round and hurried to besiege Jaffa. For such is the barbarian custom.

Meanwhile Balduinus, whom I mentioned above, visited all the small towns which the Franks had taken, and by collecting from them a considerable number of foot- and horsesoldiers, he organized a decent army and marched with it against the Babylonians and defeated them completely. When the Emperor heard of the Latins' discomfiture at Ramel he was very grieved at the Counts being taken prisoners as he had known them in the bloom of physical strength and of such nobility of descent as the heroes of old, and could not bear to think of their being prisoners in a foreign country. So he sent for a man called Bardales, gave him a large sum of money for their redemption and sent him to Babylon with letters about the Counts for Amerinmes. After reading the Emperor's letter, Amerimnes willingly set all the Counts except Godfrey free without any ransom. For Godfrey had already been released for a ransom by his [287] own brother Balduinus. When the Counts reached the Capital the Emperor received them honourably, gave them much money and after they were sufficiently rested, sent them home full of gratitude. But Godfrey after being again elected king of Jerusalem sent his brother Balduinus to Edessa. Then the Emperor ordered Isangeles to hand over Laodicea to Andronicus Tzintziluces and the forts of Maraceus and Balaneus to the soldiers of Eumathius, at that time Duke of Cyprus; and go on further and do his best to get possession of the other forts by fighting. And this he did in obedience to the Emperor's letter. After having handed over the forts to the men mentioned above he went to Antaradus, and made himself master of it without fighting. Directly this came to the ears of Atapacas of Damascus he gathered a large supply of troops and marched to meet him. As Isangeles had not sufficient forces to face such a number, he conceived a plan which was more clever than courageous. For he said boldly to the inhabitants, " As this fortress is very large, I will hide myself in some comer; and when Atapacas arrives, you must not tell him the truth, but assure him that I fled because I was frightened."

So when Atapacas arrived and asked about Isangeles, he believed the story that he had run away, and being weary from his journey pitched his camp close to the walls. As the inhabitants showed him every kindness, the Turks f elt safe and, not suspecting any hostile action, they turned their horses loose into the plain. One day at noon when the sun cast its rays vertically, Isangeles, strongly armed, and his men with him (these were about four hundred) suddenly threw open the gates and dashed right into the middle of their camp. Those of the Turks who were accustomed to fighting bravely did not spare their lives but stood up to him, and submitted to a battle; the rest tried to secure their own safety by flight. Owing to the width of the plain and its not being broken by any marsh or hill or ravine, the Latins were able to overpower them all. Thus all fell victims to the sword, only a few were captured. After overcoming the Turks by this stratagem, he marched to Tripolis. Immediately on arrival he went up and seized the summit of the hill (which is a branch of Lebanon) opposite Tripolis, in order to have his fortified camp there and also to divert the water which flowed down the slopes of this hill to Tripolis. He then wrote a report to the Emperor of what he had accomplished, and begged him to have a well-fortified stronghold [288] built there before more troops arrived from Chorosan and overwhelmed him. The Emperor entrusted the Duke of Cyprus with the erection of such a fort and ordered him to dispatch the fleet quickly with all the requisites and also the masons to build this fort on the spot Isangeles signified to them. This was done while Isangeles. was encamped outside Tripolis and never ceased straining every nerve to take it. On the other hand, when Bohemund was informed of Tzintziluces' entry into Laodicea, the enmity which he had so long fostered against the Emperor, burst out openly, and he sent his nephew Tancred with a considerable army to besiege Laodicea. A rumour of this had hardly come to Isangeles' hearing before, without the slightest delay, he rushed to Laodicea and opened negotiations with Tancred, and by various arguments tried to persuade him to desist from besieging the town. But when after a long colloquy he found he could not move him, and only seemed to be c singing to a deaf man,' he departed and went back again to Tripolis. And the other did not relax the siege in the slightest; consequently when Tzintziluces saw Tancred's determination, and he and his were being reduced to straits. he asked for help from there (or from Cyprus). But the authorities in Cyprus were dilatory, and, as he was now very hard beset both by the siege and the pressure of famine, he elected to surrender the town.

VIII During the course of these events Godfrey died and, as it was necessary to elect another King to take his place, the Latins in Jerusalem at once sent to Tripolis for Isangeles, intending to make him King of Jerusalem. But he kept on postponing his departure for Jerusalem. Consequently when the Latins in Jerusalem heard he had gone to the metropolis and was lingering there, they sent for Balduinus, who was then at Edessa, and appointed him King of Jerusalem. The Emperor received Isangeles with great pleasure and when he heard that Balduinus had accepted the sovereignty of Jerusalem, he kept him with him.

At this time a Norman army arrived whose leaders were two brothers called Flanders. The Emperor repeatedly advised them to travel by the same road as the armies that had gone on before, and to reach Jerusalem by the coast and thus join the rest of the Latin army. But he found that they would not listen as they did not wish to join the Franks, but wanted to ti avel by another route more to the east and march stright to Chorosan in the hope of taking it. The [289] Emperor knew that this plan was quite inexpedient and as he did not wish such a large crowd to perish (for they were fifty thousand horse and a hundred thousand foot) he tried the next best thing,' as the saying is, when he found they would not listen to him. He sent for Isangeles and Tzitas and asked them to accompany the Normans, to advise them to their advantage and to restrain them as far as possible in their mad enterprises. After crossing the straits of Cibotus they hastened on to Armenia and on reaching Ancyra took it by assault ; next they went over the Halys and reached a small town. This was inhabited by Romans and consequently the citizens feared nothing; the priests clad in their sacred vestments, and carrying the gospel and crosses went out to meet their fellow-Christians. But the Normans in an inhuman and merciless fashion slaughtered not only the priests but the rest of the Christians also, and then quite heedlessly continued their journey, moving in the direction of Amaseia. But the Turks, long practised in war, seized all the villages and food supplies, and burnt them, and when they caught up with the Normans they attacked them at once. It was on Monday the Turks got the better of them. The Latins fixed their camp on the spot where they were, and deposited their baggage, and the next day both armies met in battle again. The Turks next encamped in a circle round the Latins, and did not allow them to move out either for foraging or even to lead the beasts of burden or horses to water. The Franks now saw destruction staring them in the face, and with utter disregard of their lives, armed themselves strongly the following day (this was Wednesday) and engaged the enemy in battle. The Turks had them in their power, and therefore no longer fought with spears or arrows, but drew their swords and made the battle a hand-to-hand fight and soon routed the Normans, who retreated to their camp, and sought a counsellor. But the excellent Emperor to whom they would not listen when he gave them sensible advice, was not at hand, so they appealed to Isangeles and Tzitas for advice, and at the same time enquired whether there was any place under the Emperor's jurisdiction near by to which they could repair. They actually left their baggage, tents and all the infantry where they were, and rode off as speedily as they could on their horses to the seacoast of the Armenian theme and Paurae. Then the Turks made a sudden descent upon the camp and carried off everything and afterwards pursued and overtook the infantry and [290] annihilated them completely, except for a few whom they captured and carried back to Chorosan as specimens. Such were the exploits of the Turks against the Normans; and Isangeles and Tzitas with the few surviving knights reached the capital. The Emperor received them, and gave them plenty of money, and after they were rested asked them whither they wanted to go; and they chose Jerusalem. Accordingly he lavished more presents upon them and sent them by sea, leaving everything to their discretion. But Isangeles on leaving the capital desired to return to his own army and therefore went back to Tripolis, which he longed to subdue. Afterwards he fell a victim to a mortal disease and, when breathing his last, sent for his nephew Gelielmus [*=William] and bequeathed to him as a species of inheritance all the towns he had conquered and appointed him leader and master of all his troops. When the news of his death was brought to the Emperor, he immediately wrote to the Duke of Cyprus, and ordered him to send Nicetas Chalintzes with plenty of money to Gelielmus in order to propitiate him and influence him to swear on oath that he would maintain unbroken fidelity to the Emperor just as his deceased uncle Isangeles had preserved his to the end.

IX Soon the Emperor learnt of the seizure of Laodicea by Tancred, and therefore sent a letter to Bohemund which ran as follows: "You know the oaths and promises which not only you but all the Counts took to the Roman Empire. Now you were the first to break them, by retaining possession of Antioch, and then taking more fortresses and even Laodicea itself. Therefore withdraw from Antioch and all the other cities and do what is just and right, and do not provoke more wars and troubles for yourself." Now Bohemund after reading the Emperor's letter could not reply by a falsehood, as he usually did, for the facts openly declared the truth, so outwardly he assented to it, but put the blame for all the wrong he had done upon the Emperor and wrote to him thus, "It is not I, but you, who are the cause of all this. For you promised you would follow us with a large army, but you never thought of making good your promise by deeds. When we reached Antioch we fought for three months under great difficulty both against the enemy and against famine, which was more severe than had ever been experienced before, with the result that most of us ate of the very foods which are forbidden by law. We endured for a long time and while [291] we were in this danger even Taticius, your Majesty's most loyal servant, whom you had appointed to help us, went away and left us to our danger. Yet we captured Antioch unexpectedly and utterly routed the troops which had come from Chorosan to succour Antioch. In what way would it be just for us to deprive ourselves willingly of what we gained by our own sweat and toil? " When the envoys returned from him the Emperor recognized from the reading of his letter that he was still the same Bohemund and in no wise changed for the better, and therefore decided that he must protect the boundaries of the Roman Empire, and as far as possible, check his impetuous advance. Accordingly he sent Butumites into Cilicia with numerous forces and the pick of the military roll, all very warlike men and devotees of Ares, amongst them too Bardas and the chief cup-bearer Michael, both in the flower of youth with beards newly-grown. These two the Emperor had taken to himself from childhood and trained thoroughly in military science; he now gave them to Butumites as being more loyal than the rest besides another thousand men of noble birth, Franks and Romans, mixed, who were to accompany him and obey him in everything and also acquaint him himself by secret letters of the hourly happenings. His desire was to subdue the whole province of Cilicia and thus more easily carry out his designs upon Antioch. Butumites started with all his forces and reached the city of Attalus; there he noticed that Bardas and the chief cup-bearer, Michael, would not comply with his wishes and to prevent the whole army perhaps mutinying, and all his labour being in vain, and his being obliged to return from Cilicia without accomplishing anything, he at once wrote to the Emperor full details about these men, and asked to be relieved of their company. The Emperor vividly aware of the harm that is wont to result from such beginnings, turned them and the others he suspected into another direction by writing to them to go to Cyprus with all speed and join Constantine Euphorbenus, who held the position of Duke of Cyprus at the time, and obey him in everything. On receiving the letters they gladly embarked for Cyprus. But after they had been a short time with the Duke of Cyprus, they began their usual impudence with him, in consequence of which he looked upon them askance. But the young men mindful of the Emperor's affection for them wrote to the Emperor and ran down Euphorbenus, and asked to be recalled to Constantinople. After perusing their letters the Emperor, [292] who had sent several of the richer men (of whom he was suspicious) with these two to Cyprus, was afraid lest these might from annoyance join the two in rebellion, and straight-way enjoined Cantacuzenus to go and bring them back with him. Directly Cantacuzenus arrived in Cyrenea he sent for them and took them back. This is what happened to those two, I mean Bardas and the chief cup-bearer Michael.

Butumites meanwhile with Monastras and the picked officers who remained with him, reached Cilicia and found that the Armenians had already concluded a truce with Tancred. So he passed them by and seized Marasin and all the neighbouring villages and forts; then he left the semibarbarian Monastras (who has often been mentioned in this history) as governor with sufficient troops to protect the whole country, and himself returned to the capital.

X When the Franks moved out of Jerusalem to take the cities of Syria, they promised the Bishop of Pisa [*=The Archbishop of Pisa, Daimbert] large rewards, if he would assist them in their proposed object. He agreed to their request and stirred up two others who dwelt on the coast to do the same; and then without any delay equipped biremes and triremes and 'dromones' and other fast-sailing ships amounting to nine hundred and sailed forth to meet them. He detached a number of the ships and sent them to pillage Corfu, Leucas, Cephalenia and Zacynthus. On hearing this the Emperor ordered ships to be furnished by all the countries under the Roman sway. He had a number built in the capital itself and would at intervals go round in a monoreme and instruct the shipwrights how to make them As he knew that the Pisans were skilled in sea warfare and dreaded a battle with them, on the prow of each ship he had a head fixed of a lion or other land-animal, made in brass or iron with the mouth open and then gilded over, so that their mere aspect was terrifying. And the fire which was to be directed against the enemy through tubes he made to pass through the mouths of the beasts, so that it seemed as if the lions and the other similar monsters were vomiting the fire. In this manner then these ships were prepared; he next sent for Taticius, newly returned from Antioch, and gave him these ships and named him their supreme head. But the whole fleet he put under the command of Landulph and raised him to the dignity of Great Duke, as he was the most experienced in naval warfare. They left the capital in the course of the month of April and sailed to [293] Samos with the Roman fleet. There they disembarked and hauled the ships up on land in order to make them stronger and more durable by tarring them over. But when they heard that the Pisan fleet had sailed past, they heaved up their anchors and hurried after them towards Cos; and reached that island in the evening while the Pisans had reached it in the morning. As they did not meet the Pisans they sailed to Cnidus which lies on the Eastern Continent. On arriving there, although they missed their prey, yet they found a few Pisans who had been left behind and enquired of them whither the Pisan fleet had gone, and they answered ' to Rhodes.' So they immediately loosed their cables and soon overtook them between Patara and Rhodes. When the Pisans caught sight of them they speedily arranged their fleet in battle-order and whetted their minds, as well as their swords, for the fray. As the Roman fleet was drawing near, a certain Peloponnesian count, Perichytes by name, and a very expert navigator, had his ship of a single bank of oars rowed very quickly against the Pisans directly he saw them; and he passed right through the midst of them like fire, and then returned to the Roman fleet. The Roman fleet however did not venture upon a regular sea-battle with the Pisans, but made a series of swift, irregular attacks upon them. Landulph himself, first of all, drew close to the Pisan ships and threw fire at them, but aimed badly and thus accomplished nothing but wasting his fire. Then the man called Count Eleemon very boldly attacked the largest vessel at the stern, but got entangled in its rudders, and as he could not free himself easily he would have been taken, had he not with great presence of mind had recourse to his machine and poured fire upon the enemy very successfully. Then he quickly turned his ship round and set fire on the spot to three more of the largest barbarian ships. At the same moment a squall of wind suddenly struck the sea and churned it up and dashed the ships together and almost threatened to sink them (for the waves roared, the yardarms creaked and the sails were split). The barbarians now became thoroughly alarmed, firstly because of the fire directed upon them (for they were not accustomed to that kind of machine, nor to a fire, which naturally flames upwards, but in this case was directed in whatever direction the sender desired, often downwards or laterally) and secondly they were much upset by the storm, and consequently they fled. That is what the barbarians did. The Roman fleet for its part ran to a little island, [294] locally called Seutlus, and when day dawned sailed away from there and entered the harbour of Rhodes. There they disembarked and led out all the prisoners they had succeeded in taking, amongst them Bohemund's nephew, and tried to frighten them by saying they would either sell them as slaves or kill them. As they noticed the prisoners were quite unmoved by these threats and thought nothing of slavery, they slaughtered them all on the spot. The survivors of the Pisan fleet turned their attention to pillaging whatever islands they touched and especially Cyprus; Philocales Eumathius happened to be there and advanced against them. At this the sailors were so distraught by fear that they did not even give a thought to the men who had gone away from the ships for foraging, but left the greater number on the island, hurriedly loosed their cables and sailed away to Laodicea to Bohemund. When the sailors who had been left on the island to collect plunder returned and did not see their own fleet, they threw themselves into the sea in desperation, and were drowned.

The commanders of the Roman fleet including Landulph himself met in Cyprus and decided to make overtures for peace. As all agreed to this, Butumites was sent to Bohemund. The latter saw him and detained him quite fifteen days, then famine oppressed Laodicea, and as Bohemund was still Bohemund and not changed at all, and had not learnt to speak words of peace, he sent for Butumites and said, " You did not come here for the sake of peace or of friendship, but in order to set fire to my ships. Be gone now; and you have reason to be thankful that you get away from here unharmed." So he sailed away and found the men who had sent him in the harbour of Cyprus. From his report they recognized more fully Bohemund's wicked disposition, and the impossibility of peace being made between him and the Emperor, so they left Cyprus and with all sails set they sailed over the watery ways to the capital. But opposite Syce a great tempest and violent sea arose and the ships were dashed on shore and half-broken, all except those Taticius commanded. Such were the events connected with the Pisan fleet. Bohemund with his extreme natural astuteness was afraid that the Emperor might proceed to seize Curicum, keep the Roman fleet in its haxbour and thus protect Cyprus and at the same time prevent his allies from Lombardy coming to him along the eastern coast. Because of these considerations he decided to rebuild the town himself and occupy the harbour. For [295] Curicum had formerly been a very strongly fortified town, but allowed in later times to fall into ruin.

The Emperor had already thought of this and anticipated Bohemund's plan by sending the eunuch Eustathius (whom he promoted from the rank of Canicleius [*=The keeper of the red ink used for imperial signature] to Great Drungaire of the fleet) with orders to occupy Curicum with all speed. Further he was to rebuild it quickly, and the fort Seleucia as well, which was six stades distant, then leave an adequate garrison in each and appoint Strategius Strabus Duke over them, a man of small body, but of long and varied military experience. He was moreover to have a large fleet at anchor in the harbour and order them to keep a careful lookout for the men coming from Lombardy to Bohemund's aid, and also to help to guard Cyprus. So this Drungaire of the fleet I have mentioned went forth, and anticipating Bohemund's intentions, repaired the town and restored it to its former condition. He also rebuilt Seleucia and made it surer by digging trenches all round, and left a good number of troops in each town under the Duke Strategius. Finally he went down to the harbour and left a considerable fleet in it according to the Emperor's instructions and then travelled back to the capital, where he received great commendation from the Emperor and lavish rewards.

XI Such then were the doings at Curicum. After the lapse of a year Alexius was informed that the Genoese Fleet was also preparing to enter into alliance with the Franks and foresaw that they would be likely to cause great injury to the Roman Empire. Hence he dispatched Cantacuzenus by land with a considerable force, and Landulph by sea with the fleet which had been hurriedly prepared and ordered him to get to the most southern parts of the coasts as quickly as possible in order to open battle with the Genoese who had to pass there. After these two had departed on the routes indicated, a severe and intolerable storm caught them, by which many of the ships were badly battered. They hauled them up on the dry land again and carefully applied a coating of wet pitch. Then when Cantacuzenus was informed that the Genoese fleet was close at hand sailing southward, he proposed to Landulph to take the eighteen ships (the only ones he then had at sea as the others were drawn up on land) and sail to the promontory of Malea; there to wait, according to the Emperor's advice, and when the Genoese fleet passed, to engage them in battle at once if he had the courage [296] to fight with them ; but if not, then to secure safety for himself and ships and their crews by landing at Corone. He sailed away and when he saw the large Genoese fleet he abandoned the idea of fighting with them and hastened to Corone. But Cantacuzenus gathered the whole Roman fleet, as was right, and called up all the men who were there with him and then sailed in pursuit of the Genoese as fast as he could. He did not catch them and therefore went to Laodicea as he wished to prosecute the war with Bohemund with all his might and main. And indeed he began his task at once by taking possession of the harbour, and then by day and night he carried on the siege of the town.

However he accomplished nothing, for his countless attacks were as regularly repulsed, and he could neither win over the Franks by persuasive arguments nor gain anything by fighting. Then in three days and nights he built a circular wall of stones without mortar between the sea-shore and the walls of Laodicea, and after that by using this wall as a fortification, he quickly erected a second citadel inside it of such material as came to hand, in order that from this as a base he might carry on the siege more rigorously. He also built two towers on either side of the harbour's mouth and threw an iron chain across from them and by this means erected a bar against the ships which were perhaps expected to come by sea to the succour of the Franks. During this period he took a number of the forts on the coast, the one called Argyrocastron, Marchapin, Gabala and others right up to the confines of Tripolis; these places formerly paid tribute to the Saracens, but in this last year had been regained by the Emperor for the Roman Empire at the cost of much toil and labour. Now the Emperor considered that Laodicea ought to be besieged from the land-side as well; as he had lengthy experience of Bohemund's wiliness and machinations, and was clever at grasping a man's character in a short time, and had accurate knowledge of the man's treacherous and rebellious nature, he sent for Monastras. Him he dispatched overland with the requisite forces, so that while Cantacuzenus besieged Laodicea by sea, he should do the same on land. Before Monastras arrived, Cantacuzenus had taken possession of the harbour and the town; but the citadel, which it is now the usual custom to call Cula, was still held by five hundred foot-soldiers and one hundred horse of the Franks. When he leamt of the seizure of these towns, and was also informed by the Count in command of the citadel of Laodicea, [297] that he was in need of food, Bohemund united all his forces to those of his nephew Tancred and Isangeles, loaded mules with all kinds of provisions, reached Laodicea and introduced them into the Cula very expeditiously. Then in an interview with Cantacuzenus, he asked him, " What object had you in view in the erection of these walls and buildings? " He replied, "You know that you all promised service to the Emperor and agreed in accordance with your oath to hand over to him the cities you took. Then you transgressed your oath, disregarded also the terms of peace and after taking this town and handing it over to us, you changed your mind again and kept possession of it, so that my journey hither to take over the towns you had captured, is bootless." Then Bohemund asked, "Did you come in the expectation of taking these towns from us by money or by the sword? " and the other replied, "The money has been given to our brave followers to make them fight bravely." Then Bohemund said in a rage, "Let me tell you that you will never be able to take even a tiny fort from us without money." After that he incited the troops under him to ride right up to the gates of the town. Cantacuzenus' men kept the wall and discharged arrows thick as a snowstorm against the Franks when they approached the walls, and forced them to retreat a little, so Bohemund immediately recalled them all and entered into the Acropolis. And because he suspected the Count in charge of the town and also the Franks under him he appointed another in his place and sent the former away. At this time he also had the vineyards near the walls uprooted, so that they might not be an obstacle in future to the Latins when on horseback. After making these arrangements he left and returned to Antioch. Cantacuzenus on his side did not neglect carrying on the siege in various ways and by numberless machines and devices and siege-engines he greatly disturbed the Latins in the Acropolis. And now Monastras who was coming overland with the cavalry seized Longinias, Tarsus, Adana, Mamista, in fact, the whole of Cilicia.

XII Bohemund was now getting alarmed by the Emperor's threats and had no means of protecting himself (for he had neither an army on land nor a fleet at sea; and danger menaced him from both sides), so he devised a plan which was exceedingly sordid, and yet exceedingly ingenious. First of all he left the town of Antioch to his nephew Tancred, the son of Marceses, and had a report spread about himself, [298] which said that Bohemund had died, and while still alive he arranged that the world should think of him as dead. And the report spread more quickly than a bird can fly and proclaimed that Bohemund was a corpse! And when he found that the report had taken good hold, a wooden coffin was soon prepared and a bireme, in which the coffin was placed, and also he, the living corpse, sailed away from Sudei, which is the harbour of Antioch, to Rome. Thus Bohemund was carried across the sea as a corpse, for to all appearance he was a corpse to judge by the coffin and the demeanour of his companions (for wherever they stopped the barbarians plucked out their hair and mourned him ostentatiously), and inside he was lying stretched out dead for the time being, but for the rest inhaling and exhaling air through unseen holes. This took place at the sea-ports; but when the boat was out at sea, they gave him food and attention; and then afterwards the same lamentations and trickeries were repeated. And to make the corpse appear stale and odoriferous, they strangled or killed a cock and placed it with the corpse. And when a cock has been dead for four or five days its smell is most disagreeable for those who have a sense of smell. And this smell seemed to those who are deceived by outward appearance to be that of Bohemund's body; and that villain Bohemund enjoyed this fictitious evil all the more; I for myself am astonished that he being alive could bear such a siege of his nostrils, and be carried about with a dead body. And from this I have learnt that the whole barbarian nation is hard to turn back from any undertaking upon which they have started, and there is nothing too burdensome for them to bear when they have once embarked upon difficult tasks of their own choice. For this man, who was not dead except in pretence, did not shrink from living with dead bodies. The device of the barbarian was unique in the world of our time, and was directed towards the downfall of the Roman hegemony. Never before this time did any barbarian or Greek devise such a plan against his enemies nor, do I fancy, will another such ever be seen in our lifetime. When he reached Corfu, it was as if he had reached some mountain ridge and peak of refuge in this Corfu, and was now safe, so he arose from the dead and left the corpse-bearing coffin there and basked in more sunlight and breathed purer air and wandered about the town of Corfu. And the inhabitants seeing him in his foreign and barbaric garb asked his lineage and his fortune, and who he was, whence he came and to [299] whom he was going. However, he treated them all with contempt and asked for the Duke of the town. The Duke happened to be a certain Alexius of the Armenian theme. When Bohemund saw him he looked at him haughtily and with haughty bearing and speaking haughtily in his barbarian language ordered him to give Alexius the Emperor the following message. "This message I send to thee, I, that Bohemund the son of Robert, who has in these past years taught thee and thy Empire how strong I am in courage and perseverance. God knows that, wheresoever I may go and whatever crisis of fortune I experience, I shall never bear patiently the wrongs that have been done me. For ever since I passed through the Roman Empire, and took Antioch and enslaved the whole of Syria by my sword, I have had my fill of bitter treatment from thee and thy army, disappointed in one hope after another and involved in countless misfortunes and barbaric wars. But now let me tell thee that, though I died, I have come to life again, and have slipped through thy hands. For in the guise of a dead man I eluded every eye and hand and mind, and now, alive and moving about and breathing the air, I send thee from this town of Corfu news which will be very distasteful to thy Majesty, and which thou wilt certainly not receive with overmuch joy. To my nephew Tancred I have entrusted the city of Antioch and have left him as a worthy opponent to thy generals. But I myself, who was reported to thee and thine as dead, am going to my own country as a living man to myself and mine and full of dire intentions against thee. For to shatter the Roman Empire under thy sway, I died when alive, and came to life when dead. For as soon as I reach the continent opposite and see the men of Lombardy, and all the Latins and Germans and the Franks, our subjects and most warlike men, I shall fill thy towns and countries with many murders and much bloodshed until I plant my spear on Byzantium itself." To such a pitch of arrogance was the barbarian carried.

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Anna Comnena (Komnene). The Alexiad. Edited and translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. London: Routledge, Kegan, Paul, 1928.

Inquiries into the copyright on this text indicate that US copyright was not renewed, nor was any claim filed under the GATT. Barnes and Noble published the text in the US in 1967 with no claim of copyright, and thus under the laws at the time as a public domain work. Correspondence with Routledge (on file) indicated that they had no records whatsoever about the book, including the date of its first sale in the US (putting one copy on sale would constitute "publication" under GATT).


This etext slightly alters the organization and much of the typography of the printed edition.

Page numbers of the printed edition are indicated in the texts by numbers in brackets, e.g. [57].

Some short notes are placed in the text in brackets [*like this].

Longer notes are marked in the text with two asterisks **, and placed at the end of each chapter

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