Sunday, January 23, 2011

John Zonaras: Alexander Severus to Diocletian 222-284

Here I am republishing a work that I originally put online elsewhere detailing the period of the Barracks Emperors from the death of the emperor Elagabalus until the accession of the emperor Diocletian. I originally chose to work on this period and translate texts associated with the time of the Barracks Emperors because our primary sources for the period are so poor and fragmentary at times that we often have to look to later historians for the information that we might have culled from primary sources. The following extract comes from the long world history of the Byzantine historian John Zonaras who wrote in the twelfth century A.D. Zonaras writing at that time in history had access to more primary sources than we do now, so his history is of great use to us as it provides us with some of the information we have lost from other sources.

While his sources sometimes remain a mystery because Zonaras does not usually mention from whom he obtained the information, we can with some certainty say that he gained much of his information from historians that are known to us such as Dio Cassius, Herodian, Eusebius, and others, but also from others who are not as well known to us such as Dexippus and other fragmentary historians.

As far as I know, no one has really published or translated this section of Zonaras' history, so I hope that this is a useful contribution to students of the Barracks Emperor period which will supplement our Latin and Greek sources for the period. For those interested in reading more, the original Greek text with a Latin translation is available through Google Books, which is where I found the text translated below. You can find it here

With the false Antoninus slain, Alexander, the son of Mamaea, his nephew as the ancients called the cousins, succeeded to the throne. Immediately, he proclaimed his mother Mamaea Augusta, who then took over the administration of affairs and gathered about her son wise men to teach him ethics, as well as selecting the Senate’s best men to act as her counselors with whom she shared in all of the administration of the state. In addition, Domitius Ulpianus was entrusted with command of the Praetorian Guard and the administration of public affairs and he set right many of Sardanapalus’s deeds. He killed Flavian and Chrestus to succeed them, though not much later he was slain by the bodyguards when they attacked him in the night. Ulpianus was also still alive a short time before when a conflict broke out between the people and the Praetorian Guard where they fought each other for three days. The soldiers were defeated and set fire to the houses, so the people fearing for the city unwillingly reconciled themselves with them. Many other such rebellions happened that were stopped.

Alexander’s mother was a slave to money and gathered it up from all over. She also got her son a wife, who she did not permit to be proclaimed Augusta and after a short time separated from her son and sent off in exile to Libya, even though he loved her. He was not able to speak up to his mother, she ruled him.

In the meantime, the Persian Artaxerxes, who was [descended] from ignoble and disreputable men, converted the Parthian kingdom into a Persian one and made himself their king. It is said from him the family of Chosroes is descended. For after the death of Alexander of Macedon, his successors the Macedonians had ruled over the greater part of the Persians and the Parthians as well as other peoples, and then started fighting amongst themselves and so destroyed themselves. And so as they were weakened, Arsacides the first Parthian ruler revolted against them and took rule over the Parthians leaving it to his own descendants of whom the last was Artabanus. The said Artaxerxes defeated him in man three battles finally capturing and killing him. Then he marched on Armenia and was defeated by the Armenians and the Medians who attacked him with the sons of Artabanus. Recovering from the previous defeat, he then laid siege to Mesopotamia and Syria with a greater force threatening to recover all that had belonged to the Persians his ancestors. Then Artaxerxes overran Cappadocia with his Persians and laid siege to Nisibis. In the meantime, Alexander sent ambassadors to him asking for peace. However, the barbarian did not receive the embassy and instead sent four hundred of his greatest men clothing them with expensive robes, seating them upon the finest horses, and adorning them with superb arms to Alexander aiming to astonish him and the Romans. When they had arrived and come before Alexander, they said, “The Great King Artaxerxes commands the Romans leave Syria and all Asia adjacent to Europe and permit the Persians to rule until the sea.” Alexander arrested them, confiscated their arms and robes, took from them their horses, and spread them out over many villages and forced them to farm because he did not think it pious to kill them. He himself then gathered together his own troops and divided them into three parts and attacked the Persians. A great scourge broke out in the Persian camp and many Romans died not so much by the hand of the enemy but from the march home through the mountains of Armenia. It was freezing cold for the feet of the travelers, while some men were so unfortunate as to have their hands blacken and go frostbitten from the cold. For this misfortune the Romans held Alexander accountable. Accordingly, either from discouragement or a conjunction of the humors he fell very ill. When he had recovered, he made war on the Germans and did them grievous harm with javelin-men and archers. He also sent them ambassadors to reach an accord for sums of money. On this account, the soldiers were not too happy and rebelled. One Maximinus, a Thracian by birth, who had a child been a shepherd and later become a soldier, they took hold of and though he was unwilling named emperor. Taking command of his proclaimers, he then departed straightaway for where Alexander was staying. Informed of this, he called upon the soldiers around him to defend him and they responded. And when Maximinus was upon them, Alexander gathered together his army and ordered them to attack Maximinus’s men. However, they reviled his mother and abused her for her miserliness as well as mocking him as a coward, and then withdrew leaving him behind. Seeing himself deprived of any aid, he returned to his tent and got with his mother and wept. Maximinus then sent a decurion to them and so killed him, his mother, the people about them and took in hand the empire.

Mamaea, Alexander’s mother was repute for her virtue and reverent life. While she was staying in Antioch with her son on hearing about Origen she summoned him from Alexandria and made a profession of faith to him becoming very pious as Eusebius says and other writers. On this account, not only did he halt the persecution of Christians then, but also conferred honors on many Christians.

At that time, when Urban was bishop of Rome, Ippolutes, a most pious and wise man, flourished and became bishop of the portus in Rome and wrote many works discussing especially the Holy Bible. Asclepiades was at that time as well appointed over Antioch and directed the church of the faithful there, as well as Sardianus over Jerusalem.

With Alexander dead in the aforementioned way after a reign of ten years, Maximinus succeeded to the throne. Immediately, he instituted a persecution against Christians and ordered that the primates of the churches be slain as teachers and heralds of the mystery of Christ. He is said to have been driven by hatred of Alexander, who honored Christians. For he was filled with hatred for that emperor when appointed to the rank of commander by him, he marched off against the Persians and was disgracefully defeated so incurring imperial wrath. A second cause of the persecution was that there was many in Alexander’s household who recognized Christ Our God. At this time as well, Ambrosius, a learned man, who urged Origen on to write an explanation of the Holy Bible and amply supplied his expenses as well as supplying with seven shorthand writers who took turns writing down the work in order as well as no small number of scribes trained in calligraphy, who is said to have received the crown of martyrdom along with Protoctetus a presbyter.

Maximinus on learning this set out for Italy hurling many threats at the Senate. He, on learning that Maximus was advancing on him, while Albinus was staying behind to guard Rome, turned aside towards Aquileia with his Moors anxious to take possession of it beforehand. Aquileia is now said to be Venice. However, he was repelled from there since its defenders proved the better of him. Repelled from there he attacked Maximus’s forces and was defeated. He then retreated back to his own tent, while his soldiers and his bodyguard have risen up came before his tent with his own son as he had ordered them to. They then immediately came upon both of them and killed them. Maximinus was sixty five-years-old, of which he had reigned for six. The corpses were then beheaded and the heads received by the people of Aquileia first and then sent to Rome. The people of Rome fixed Maximinus’s head on a pole near the market so it should be visible to everybody.

Then Maximus returned to Rome where he was met by Albinus and the people and the Senate welcomed him with acclamations and applause. Both of them ruled together and ruled well. Yet the soldiers were not content because not they, but the Senate and the people had chosen their emperors. Then since the emperors had their differences with one another, this became the reason for their destruction. Since the soldiers had learned of their differences they came upon them and lead them both in chains through all the city not only abusing them like drunkards and mocking them, but also torturing them. Then informed that the Germans wanted to carry them off and save them, they killed lest this happen. Maximus was seventy four years-old, while Albinus was sixty. They reigned some thirty two days, with the others, not three whole months.

After them, they write that one Pompeianus took the throne and then very swiftly was deposed from it enjoying only a dream of authority before two months passed and he was deprived of it and slain. In others for some reason he is not found, but passed over in silence, while they have another one. After him, they go on instead to tell of Puplius Balbinus, they write out as having had only a taste of sole rule ruling for three months before he was killed, just when Gordian arrived from Libya , where as I have already said he was proclaimed emperor. On coming to Rome, Gordian fell ill, first because he was extremely old, having reached the age of seventy-nine, and secondly because he had been worn out by the long time he had spent in the boat, and died from this illness having been there only twenty two days. He was succeeded on the throne by his son called Gordian like his father.

Some tell that this was thus how things fell out, while others says that at the proclamation of the elder Gordian, some soldiers in Libya revolted, and after fighting a battle Gordian’s men were defeated and not only a great number of them were slain but also his own son. Suffering because of this, he hung himself and ended his life.

Others claim that his son the younger Gordian, after the elder Gordian died from disease, succeeded to the throne and also that he marched off against the Persians and met with them in battle and was pushing his horse on and urging his men on to battle, when his horse slipped and fell with him on it, his thigh being broken and him having to be carried back to Rome where he died from his injury after ruling six years.

Urban the archbishop of Rome was archbishop for eight years dieing during the reign of Maximinus being succeeded by Pontianus. The primate of the church of Antioch was Zebinus after Philetus. Under Gordian the younger the chief of the faithful in Rome, Pontianus, ended his life and was succeeded by Anteros who had devoted himself to the service of God for six years. Anteros was head of the church for the very shortest of times before passing on to the next life. After him, Flavian by divine selection became archbishop as Eusebius tells. It is said that when the faithful were gathered together to select who to elect to primacy Flavian was present having just come from the country and though there had been no mention of him for the primacy of the church, but others instead was busied with whether they would be preferred. In the middle of it, a dove flew in and landed on Flavian's head. Because of this, everyone assembled there had one voice in saying almost in agreement, "He is worthy," and elevated to the archbishop's throne having no qualms about it. At that time at as well, the primate of the church of the faithful at Antioch, Zebinus, died and was succeeded by Babylas. In addition, Origen was then staying at Caesaria in Palestine acquiring himself many students from all over including the great Gregory the Miracle-Worker and his brother Athenodorus. At that time as well Africanus [the African writer Julius Africanus] flourished.

After the younger Gordian died, yet another Gordian succeeded to the throne being in birth, as the saying goes, related to the departed Gordiani. He campaigned and made war on the Persians when Shapur the son of Artaxerxes was ruling that nation and defeated his opponents recovering Nisibis and Karas for the Romans, which had been seized by the Persians during Maximinus’s reign. Then as he was going towards Ctesiphon , he was slain by the treachery of Phillip, the prefect of his bodyguard. When Gordian first came to throne he made his father-in-law, called Timesocles, prefect of it. As long as he was there, his authority as emperor was fine and things went alright, but when Timescles died, he made Phillip its commander. He then wanting to make the soldiers revolt lessened their food supplies as though it had been commanded by the emperor. They say that he restricted the flow in of grain into the camp so as to lay low the soldiers with their want and so stir them to revolt. And so the soldiers revolted against the emperor rising up holding him responsible for their starvation and killed him after a reign of six years. Phillip then immediately seized his opportunity to take power. When the Senate was informed of the slaughter of Gordian, it decided to appoint another emperor. Immediately it proclaimed Marcus a philosopher emperor. However, he, before he could really do much, died suddenly in the palace. With his death Severus Hostilianus succeeded to the throne. However, he had barely taken up power before he payed his dues. For he fell ill and slit his wrist and died.

On returning to Rome, Phillip took hold of the Roman Empire. On the way home, he made his son Phillip his co-ruler. In addition, he made peace with Shapur the King of the Persians thereby ending the war with the Persians by conceding to them Mesopotamia and Armenia. Because he found the Romans displeased by the concession of these places to them, a short while later he set aside his accords and seized the places. Shapur was, as it is told, so massive such as no man had yet appeared.

On returning home, Phillip was well-disposed towards Christians, according to some he even converted to the Christian faith, so much so he even join in praying in churches with Christians and gladly confessed his sins. For the primate of the church refused to give him communion unless he confessed his sins and recounted his repentance, which he is said to have obeyed. Some say moreover that he was the father of martyr Eugenia, but here they make a mistake. For he is said to have become a prefect, but of Egypt and not the bodyguard, and for his faith in Christ he turned down the office and was arrested and martyred for it.

The emperor Phillip also waged war against the Scythians and the returned to Rome. In addition, one Marinus, a commander of a squadron in Mysia, was raised up by his soldiers to become emperor. For this reason, Phillip was confounded and discussed the rebellion with the Senate. While the others stood by in silence, Decius said to him that he should not be greatly concerned as Marinus would be killed by his own soldiers since he was unworthy of the throne. A short while later, his utterance came to pass. Phillip was consequently amazed with Decius and charge him to set out for Mysia and punish those responsible for the rebellion. Decius begged him not to send him saying that it was not in his own interests or the sender's to dispatch him. Yet Phillip was not to be put off. And so, Decius unwillingly departed and straightaway his soldiers proclaimed him emperor. He tried to reject it, but his soldiers drew their swords and forced him to accept it. He then wrote to Phillip telling him not to cause trouble because if he could get to Rome he would set aside the insignia of imperial rule. However, Phillip did not believe him and marched off against him joining battle with Decius's men being among the first to fall in the combat. Along with him, his son Phillip was slain. With them dead, everyone submitted to Decius. He had reigned some five years, while others say six by a couple of months. He came from Bostri where during his reign he built a city bearing his name naming it Phillipopolis.

Decius then with all of the troops in submittance to him, as it was said, returned to Rome and was invested with the imperial office. He was attentive to respect for his authority and the management of [public] affairs, so some say, appointing Valerian to manage them. Immediately, they commenced a battle of gods [or 'with God] instituting a vehement persecution of Christians. There are some who say that due to his hatred for Phillip, Decius attacked the Christians since he had held them in awe and so he was wrathful towards the faithful. At this time, Flavian, the chief of the church in Rome met the end of a martyr, while Babylas the chief of the church of the faithful in Antioch as well as Alexander bishop of Jerusalem, who did not suffer the ultimate fate for the Christian faith on the first day, but on the day after, as it has already been said, and died confined to a prison. In addition, Cyprianus the Great, bishop of Carthage, suffered the ultimate fate for Christian faith. With the said archpriests dead, Cornelius became bishop of Rome in place of Flavian, while Flavian in place of Babylas in Antich, Dionysius in Alexandria, Mazabanes in Jerusalem in place of Alexander. Many others suffered martyrdom at that time.

Then as well Origen came before the tyrannical bench as one of the faithful, but did not meet with martyrdom, I believe, because God did not think him worthy of this on account of the wretched man's distortion of the teachings of the true faith. And so he was reprieved from them after torture. He had, as it was already said, become very learned becoming arrogant and pretentious on account of this not following the dogma of the fathers before him but becoming the introducer of his own new dogma uttering blasphemy on the Holy Trinity and the divine incarnation from the painful treasure-house of his heart and became the head of this heresy. He taught that God's only born son was different in glory and substance than the father and placed the Holy Spirit beneath the honor of the father and that of the son saying that the Son was not able to his Father, nor the Spirit the Son as though neither the Spirit the angels nor the angels humans. These were Origen's blasphemies pertaining to the holy and one-substanced Triad. As for his blasphemies pertaining to the incarnation of the Son of God, he impiously maintained that Christ was not put into the flesh through the Holy Virgin. For he fancied that the only born son of God was united with the Mind before the creation of the world, which he formed anew from selections and unsettled turmoil [dust?], and along with this that he was incarnated at the furthest and took to the flesh to the flesh without a reckonable and perceivable spirit. He taught as well that the Lord set aside the flesh again and left for his kingdom. As for the spirits, he maintained that there would be punishment for a time, but not forever, only to purify the person of their sins so that once purified both all men and spirits returns to the Union. Concerning this Union, it requires talk at length to expose its nonsense, so it was passed over here along with his other blasphemies.

Such is what they say about Origen, who they used to call Adamantius. Then Nauatus became head of the Roman Church as the head of the heretics who called themselves the Cathars denying entry to those who had submitted during the persecution and sacrificed to the idols even if they had turned away from them and confessed or permit those who had fallen seeking a cure for their error from the depths of their heart. Under him, a synod was convened in Rome with Cornelius as its head. During it, it was decided that they must accept those who had fallen away during the time of the persecution who wished to return healing them with the drugs of conversion. When Nautus did not yield to the synod's decrees, those holy fathers of the Church were alienated from him and denounced him as a hater of his brothers.

Eusebius mentions the following story from the letter of Dionysius, the bishop of Alexandria. He says Dionysius put this to writing, "There was one Sarapion, a faithful old man amongst us living blamelessly, who fell during the trial. He asked many a time, but no one would go near him, since he had sacrificed. Then he became ill and for three successive days he continued speechless and senseless, but on the fourth recovering somewhat, he called his daughter's son saying to him, 'Hurry, fetch me a priest', and then again fell mute. The boy ran to get a priest, but the priest was not able to come to him and he was sick, but as I had issued an injunction that those who were about to die if they needed it and had previously been begging to be released should receive remission and that they might depart in good hope, he gave the boy a small part of the Eucharist instructing him to soak it and let the drops fall into the old man's mouth. The boy returned carrying it. As he drew near before entering, rousing himself again Sarapion said, 'Have you come, my child? As the priest was not able to come, do quickly what was commanded and release me.' The boy soaked it and dropped it into the mouth of his elder, who a short while after he had swallowed it gave up the ghost. Is it not evident that he was preserved and his life continued until he was absolved and his sin having been blotted out, that he could be acknowledged for the many good deeds he had done?" Such what Dionysius relates.

Decius thus disposed towards the faithful did not last two whole years on the throne of the Romans before he was slain most shamefully. As barbarians were plundering the Bosporus, Decius went and fought killing many of them. As they were in hard pressed, they promised to leave behind all the plunder if they were permitted to depart, but Decius did not give into them and instead charged Gallus, one of the senators, to not permit them to make their crossing . Yet Gallus secretly, plotting against Decius, came to an agreement with them for them to form their lines next to a deep nearby marsh. When the barbarians thus arranged gave flight, Decius pursued and fell into the marsh along with his son and a number of Romans, where they were all lost, such that not even their bodies could be found, which were covered up by the mud of the marsh.

Thus Gallus took power, who some of the writers say was called Volusian, while others have written that Volusian was his son who ruled with him. So Gallus took over the dominion of the Romans and made peace with the barbarians on the conditions that the Romans would pay a yearly tribute and in return they would not ravage Roman possessions. Having made peace in this way, he returned to Rome and proclaimed his son, Volusian, Caesar. He also became severe towards Christians no less than Decius before him instituting a persecution of them in which he killed many of them. Under him, the Persians took action again and seized Armenia, since it king, Tiridates, had fled and his sons were loyal to loyal to the Persians. In addition, Scythians nearly beyond numbering invaded Italy and overran Macedonia, Thessaly, and Greece as well. It was said that a contingent of them passed by the Bosporus, marched beyond the Maeotian Lake and came upon the Black Sea ravaging many lands. Many other nations attacked the Roman Empire at that time. However, plague at that time also broke out starting from Ethiopia and encroached on all the land to the east and west emptying many cities of their inhabitants lasting for nearly fifteen years. Furthermore, when the Scythians, to whom an annual tribute specified by agreements with the Romans, came to take it, they said it was less than what had been promised to them and departed holding out threats. Aemilianus, a Libyan man, commander of the army in Mysia, was then sent along with his soldiers to give the Scythians all that they were due, rather to attack the barbarians. They came upon the Scythians unaware and apart from a few killed all of them and took the greater part of their plunder from them and overran their lands. For this reason, Aemilianus was puffed up with his success and persuaded the soldiers under him to proclaim him emperor of the Romans. He then immediately gathered together his forces and set out in haste to seize Italy. When knowledge of this reached Gallus he fitted out another force and aligned himself against Aemilianus. Both armies clashed and Gallus's men were defeated, so they attacked their emperor and killed him along with his son, after a reign of two years and eight months, and declared themselves for Aemilianus and chose him for rule.

Aemilianus was in this way proclaimed emperor and sent [messengers] to the Senate announcing that he was going to deliver Thrace from the barbarians, march off against the Persians, and doing everything and fight as their general leaving to the Senate rule. However, before he could do any of this, Valerian rose up against him, who as commander of the forces beyond the Alps on learning of Aemilianus, usurped the throne for himself. He hastened then [from there] and lead his forces on Rome. Aemilianus's men, deciding that they were not equal of Valerian's army, since they did not want to kill and be killed by Romans and fight their own people, and especially because they did not reckon Aemilianus worthy of the throne, inglorious and vile, believing that Valerian was more appropriate for power and certainly more fit to take over matters, they killed Aemilianus who had lead not more than four months aged forty years-old. They declared themselves to Valerian and delivered up to him the Roman Empire without a fight.

After Flavian had been martyred in Decius's reign, as it was said, Cornelius succeeded to the archbishopric of Rome and after an illustrious three years he ended his life and Lucius ascended the archbishopric throne, who after not quite eight years died in the bishopric of Rome. Then Stephan succeeded to the bishopric, who issued an order not to baptize Christians lapsing into heresy, but purify them with a prayer through the application of the hands. His letter about this is recorded by Cyprianus the holy martyr. When Stephan died two years later, Xystus succeeded to the archbishopric of Rome. Then also the heresy of Savellius was moved to Ptolomais in Pentapolis.

Such was that about the archbishops of Rome. Valerian then with his son Galienus took over the Roman Empire and persecuted Christians more violently. Many of them in diverse countries became martyrs suffering in many ways for their faith in Christ. In his reign, foreign nations rose in revolt and the Romans fared badly. For the Scyths crossed the Ister and again enslaved the land of Thrace besieging the illustrious city of Thessalonica, though they did not conquer it. Everyone was inspired with fear of them, such that the Athenians rebuilt their own city wall in ruins since the days of Sulla, while the Peloponnesians walled off the Isthmus from sea to sea. In addition, the Persians, when Shapur was king, overran Syria, ravaged Cappadocia, and besieged Edessa. Valerian hesitated to fight his enemies. However, on learning that soldiers in Edessa had sallied forth from the city and attacked the barbarians slaying many of them and taking a great number of spoils, he took heart and left with the army loyal to him and fought the Persians. They encircled the Romans all in their squares and the greater part fell, some fled, and Valerian along with the men about him was taken captive by his enemies and bore off to Shapur, who on taking hold of the emperor, supposed himself to rule over all. Cruel he was before, afterwards he became much worse.

Thus is how they have told the story of how Valerian was captured by the Persians. They are willing to say that Valerian submitted to the Persians because as he was fleeing to Edessa, starvation broke out among his soldiers, who because of this rebelled and sought to kill the emperor. Fearing the rebellion of his soldiers, he fled to the Shapur, so that he would not be killed by his own men, and surrendered himself up to his enemy as well as the Roman troops under him. However, the soldiers were not lost, but learning of this treachery fled, only a few being slain. Whether the emperor was taken in war by the Persians or he willingly handed himself over to them, he was treated dishonorably by Shapur.

The Persians then fearlessly attacked and seized the cities of Antioch by the Orontes, the most illustrious of the cities Tarsus, and Caesarea in Cappadocia. And as for the multitude of captives lead off, they did not give them food unless they were about to die, nor did they permit them their fill of water, but only once a day their captors drove them to water like sheep. Caesarea, which was well populated said to have 400,000 inhabitants and had not previously been conquered, nobly had its inhabitants resist them led by Demosthenes, a brave and wise man, before a doctor was taken captive, who unable to bear the tortures inflicted on him revealed a place from which the Persians entered and killed everyone. Their commander Demosthenes surrounded by many Persians ordered to take him alive, got on his horse with his sword out charged into the midst of the enemy. He cut down many of them before got out of the city and was able to flee.

Thus was how things came about with the Persians, as they scattered about the Roman land in the east and pillaged fearlessly. The Romans who took flight, as it was said, declared themselves to their commander one Callistus, who on seeing the Persians scatter about and attacking the lands thoughtlessly not supposing anyone would stand against them, he attacked a mob of them killing a great number of barbarians and conquered Shapur's brave young men along with much riches, who much pained for them returned home leading along Valerian, who died in Persia, a prisoner abused and mocked.

Not only did Callistus do fine work against the Persians then, but also a Palmyrene man called Odenathus, who allied with the Romans killed many Persians who he attacked as they were returning home near the land along the Euphrates. Galienus in exchange for this act of generalship made him commander of the east.

Amongst the fallen spoils of the Persian army are said to have been found women dressed and armed as men as well as some still living who were taken captive by the Romans. As he was coming home, Shapur came across a deep ditch, which his beasts of burden were unable to cross, so he ordered the captives to be slain and thrown and thrown down in the ditch so that its depth might be filled with their corpses and his beasts of burden able to cross. Thus is told how he crossed the ditch.

When all of this happened to Valerian, the Roman church was lead by Xystus, while Demetrianus succeeded Flavian to that of Antioch, Hymnaeus to that Jerusalem when Mazavanus died, while Dionysius was elevated to that of Alexandria.

After Valerian, his son Galienus, his son, took over the Roman Empire, who his father when he went off against the Persians let stay behind in the west and oppose the men who were dug into Italy and ravaging Thrace. Near Mediolanum [Milan] he met up with about 300,000 Alamans and defeated with myriads of them. Then he came upon and seized Aerulois [Aerulius?], a Scythian by birth and a Goth. He also made war on the Franks.

Auriolus was from the land of Getica later called Dacia descended from an insignificant family, having been a shepherd before, though Fortune wanted to set him on high, so he went on campaigns and became very experienced [such that] he was made in charge of the imperial cavalry. Since he was very good at this, he earned his master’s favor. When the soldiers in Mysia revolted and proclaimed Ingenuus emperor and Galienus went to resist him near Sirmium with the others bringing along Maurousii [Moors?], who were said to have been descended from the Medians, Auriolus bravely acted as commander of the cavalry fighting with his horsemen and killing many of Ingenuus’s supporters, while turning the rest to flight, such that Ingenuus himself decided to flee and was killed while he was fleeing by his bodyguards.

Again Postumus rose up against Galienus. Since the emperor had a child by the same name clever and fair of face who was his successor to the throne, he left him in the city of Agrippina to help the Gauls who were being ravaged by the Scyths. He entrusted him to one man called Albanus because of his son’s youth. Postumus was left in the fortress on the Rhine River to stop the barbarians living beyond it from crossing onto Roman land, though secretly some of them did cross the river and carry off a lot of plunder, so he attacked them on their way home slaying many of them and seizing all of their plunder, which he immediately distributed to his soldiers. On learning of this, Albanus sent [someone] to request and carry back to him and younger Galienus the plunder. Postumus then called his soldiers together to appropriate from them their shares of the plunder contriving to get them to revolt. This happened and so he attacked the city of Agrippina with them. The people of the city handed over the emperor’s [note: basileus] son and Albanus, whom he both killed.

When Galienus found this out, he departed against Postumus and after fighting with him he was defeated, and then seized the upper hand as Postumus turned to flight. He then sent Auriolus to pursue him. But he, although he was able to take hold of him, did not want to pursue him that far, but said on returning that he had not been able to take hold of him. Postumus thus having fled banded together his army again. And again Galienus marched on him and in a city in Gaul he locked in the besieged the usurper. During the siege the emperor was wounded with an arrow in the midriff and fell sick because of it, so he dissolved the siege.

In addition, further conflict came on Galienus from Macrinus, who with his two sons Macrianus and Quintus tried to seize power. And he, because his legs were maimed, could not cloth himself with the imperial raiment, so he stretched it around his sons. The people of Asia warmly received him, who after shortly spending time with the Persians got ready and marched off against Galienus putting Ballistas in charge of resisting the Persians, who he appointed commander of the cavalry and left behind with his son Quintus. Then the emperor sent Auriolus against his son and emperor with some other soldiers. Battling with them they surrounded them and killed some of them sparing them since they were their own people and hoping that they would declare themselves for the emperor. However, they did not give in. By some chance happening everyone declared to the emperor. As they were coming near the usurpers they held their standards up straight, but one of the standard bearers as they were going out got his feet caught in it and fell while his standard fell down when he fell. The remaining men who were carrying the standards, on seeing the fallen standard and not knowing how it had fallen, assumed that its bearer had lain it down to desert to the emperor. Immediately, they laid them all down, dashed them to the ground, and praised the emperor, while only the Paeonians remained of Macrinus's men. Then since they wanted to get rid of them, Macrinus and his son, who had not paid them what they were due, they killed them and thus submitted to the emperor. Having done this the Paeonians surrendered themselves.

As for Quintus, Macrinus's younger son, who was in the east with Ballistas, he had nearly subjugated all of it. Because of this, Galienus sent Odenathus, ruler of the Palmyreni. When news of the defeat of the Macrini in Paeonia was announced to Quintus and Ballistas, many of the cities under them deserted them. Then they went to Emesa. When Odenathus got there, he fought them and defeated them slaying Ballistas himself, while the people of the city killed Quintus. The emperor rewarded Odenathus for this brave deed by appointed him commander of all the east.

As for Odenathus, who was great, faithful to the Romans, and had acted finely in many ways against diverse nations and against the Persians, he was slain by his own nephew, the son of his brother. This man, when he was hunting with his uncle his uncle, when a wild beast leapt out he killed it with arrows before [Odenathus could do anything about it]. So Odenathus became indignant at and threatened his nephew. He would not cease, but both two times and then three times he did this. Odenathus became angry and took away his horse, since this is reckoned a great insult by barbarians. Accordingly the youth was furious and threatened his uncle, who because of this clapped him in irons. Then the elder of Odenathus’s sons asked him to release him from the bonds. And so he was freed and banqueted with Odenathus coming upon him with a sword killed him and his own son, by whom he had been freed. He himself was slain when some people attacked him.

Again another rebellion took place against Galienus, which Auriolus raised, archon of all the horses who was very powerful. He took the city of Mediolanum [Milan] and got ready to fight the emperor. He came forth with a great force and opposed the upstart slaying many of his supporters. At this time as well Auriolus was founded and shut up inside Mediolanum while being besieged by the emperor. When Galienus made raids [ἐπεκδρομὰς] against some of his enemy, the empress once fell into danger, since she had accompanied him there. While the emperor went on the raids with the greater part of the soldiers, a few of them were left behind near the palisade. The enemy on seeing this, came upon the emperor’s tent intending to seize the empress. One of the soldiers left behind was seated in front of the tent with his sandal of his foot stitching it. When he saw the approach of the enemy, he seized a shield and a dagger and angrily charged them. He dealt one a blow and a second one and drove off the others who took fright at his charge. Thus the greater part of the soldiers fled and the emperor’s wife was saved.

While the emperor was still besieging Mediolanum, Aurelian with some horsemen came to him with whom the great men [of the empire] had plotted to kill him, though they were holding off on it until Mediolanum had been taken. On learning that their scheme had been found out, they hastened their treacherous plot. They then sent some men announcing that the enemy was coming upon Galienus, who at once set out against them, since time was nigh though few of them joined in the attack with him. While he was marching off, he met with horsemen who did not keep far away from him, go away, or do anything else which is customarily done towards the emperor, so he asked the men present, “What do they want?” They replied, “To remove you from office.” He immediately reined his horse and turned to flight. He would have escaped the plotters by the swiftness of his horse, had not he gone in to a stream of water. His horse was afraid to pass over it and so his pursuers caught up with him and one threw his spear at him. Hit by it, he fell from his horse and after a little while died by bleeding to death, having reigned fifteen years including those with his father. He was lavish minded and wished to please everyone; there was no one who had anything to find fault with him for. He took no vengeance on his enemies or on upstarts.

Thus is how they tell that Galienus was slain, while some others say he was slaughtered by the governor Heracleianus. When Auriolus was commander of the Celts and rose up against him coming on Italy with his forces, Galienus went off against him. One night, Heracleianus came before him while he was sleeping in his tent sharing in the plot with Claudius a very good general announcing to him that Auriolus was already on him with a mighty force. He was befuddled by this sudden announcement and got up from his bed and half-naked asked for his arms. Heracleianus dealt him a fatal blow and killed him.

In those times, Xystus was in charge of the Roman Church dying after eleven years and being succeeded by Dionysius. Paul the Samosatian then took over the Church, who wrote treaties humbly about Christ that his nature was that of a normal man and not of God. The heads of the remaining churches sat together in synod against this during which Gregory the Miracle-Worker and his brother Athenodorus accused him of erring about Christ and condemned him. As he could not be persuaded to give up his position in the Church, Aurelian who was then ruling was delivered a petition concerning him by the Orthodox and so issued an order that the Church belonged to those who the bishops in Rome and Italy should appoint. For this reason, Paul was driven from the Church in dishonor and in his place was installed Domnus.

After Galienus's murder, Claudius was proclaimed Caesar. Auriolus then set down his arms and submitted to him, though he tried to usurp the throne again only to be slain by the soldiers. Claudius was a good man abounding in justness, so he forbid everyone to seek unlawful things from the emperor. For emperors before had been accustomed to be able to give unlawful things, so that due to this the laws still standing got their start from the state. There was a woman, whose village he had received as an imperial gift before he became emperor, who came before him and said, "Claudius the commander of the cavalry wronged me." He replied, "What Claudius took from you whilst a private citizen with no concern for the laws, he will now make amends as emperor."

In Rome, the Senate on learning of the murder of Galienus put to death his brother and his son. While Postumus was still usurping and the barbarians having crossed by the Maeotian Lake to Asia and Europe were ravaging them, a session of the Senate was held to decide on whom war must be undertaken during which Claudius said, “War with the usurper is for my good, but war with the barbarians is for that of the state and so that one for the state must be preferred.”

The barbarians overran many countries and laid siege to Thessalonica, which of old is said to have been called Emathia and later named Thessalonica after the daughter of Phillip, Casandrus's wife Thessalonica. However, they were repelled from this city so they marched on Athens capturing the city. They then gathered together all the books in the city planning to burn them. Yet one of their wise men stopped them from doing so, saying that through them the Greeks who had been unschooled in the essays of war had become in this way skilled. Cleodemus, an Athenian man, then was able to escape and gathered together an army and came upon then by boat from the sea killing many of them such that the remaining men took flight from there. Claudius then set out against them scattered about many countries and defeated them some times in sea battles and sometimes by land battles. The winters also took a toll on them and famine ensued devastating them. While staying in Sirmium, Claudius fell ill and called together the most erudite body of his troops discussing with them who the next emperor should be and saying that Aurelian was worthy of imperial rule. There are those who say that he immediately proclaimed him emperor. Others say that the Senate in Rome on learning of the death of Claudius elevated his brother Quintilian to imperial rule through its love for Claudius, while the body of soldiers proclaimed Aurelian. Quintilian, a plain man on whom administration had been thrust, on learning of the proclamation of Aurelian killed himself slitting the vein of his own hand and letting the blood flow from there having had but a dream of imperial rule for seventeen days. However, writers do not agree with each other as to the duration of Claudius's reign. Some tell that he reigned for one year, while others say two, among whom are Eusebius.

The son of the emperor Claudius's daughter was Constantius the Pale, the father of Constantine the Great.

And so Aurelian succeeded to the Roman Empire and asked those in power how he should rule. One of them said to him that, “If you want to rule well, you must protect yourself with gold and steel making use of steel against those who vex you and rewarding those who serve you with gold.” He first, it is said, rebuked this counsel, though not much later he made a trial of steel.

This emperor although he at first conducted himself moderately towards Christians, later as time went by under his sole rule changed and he himself planned to start a persecution of the faithful having already written the edicts. However, divine justice stopped him from going through with his malevolence against the Christians by ending his life.

However, before telling of his end we must first talk about his deeds during his reign. He was a superb general who won many wars. He defeated the Palmyrians by making war and subduing their queen Zenobia who had held Egypt and even captured Probus, the commander there at that time. Some say she was brought to Rome and married to one of their most eminent men, while others say she died en route grieved at her change of fortune though one of her daughters Aurelian took as his wife, while the rest were married to eminent Romans.

He also recovered for the Roman Empire the Gauls after they had been possessed by usurpers for many years and installed commanders in them before returning to Rome which he entered triumphantly upon a chariot drawn by four elephants. He also fought with the Gauls then rebelling. When he was on campaign on against the Scyths, he was slain coming to Thracian Heracleia. For there was a man called Eros who acted as a conveyor of external responses and, as some tell, a spy for the emperor reporting to him what was being said about him, who, when Aurelian got mad at him began plotting against him. In imitation of Aurelian's letters, he composed a letter containing the names of some powerful men and ordering them to be put to death, which he showed to them and so convinced them to murder the emperor. For they were afraid for their lives and so came upon Aurelian and murdered him after six years of rule short only a couple of months.

He was succeeded by Tacitus, an elderly man recorded to have been seventy-five years old when he was chosen for sole rule. The body of soldiers assembled proclaimed him and then departed since it was still then in Campania. There after making his choice, he came to Rome in a private citizen's clothing and was adorned with the imperial garb with the approval of the Senate and the people. The Scyths then crossed the Maeotian Lake and the Phasis River into the Pontus and Cappadocia marching until Galatia and Cilicia. There Tacitus and the governor Florianus fought them and killed many, while the rest effected their salvation through flight. In the meantime, Maximinus his kinsmen who he had entrusted with command of Syria had ruled badly and so was slain by his soldiers. His murders then fearing that the emperor would not grant them amnesty pursued and killed him too, such that he not yet reached the seventh month of his reign or, according to others, not two whole years.

With him dead, two men were proclaimed emperor: Probus in the East by his soldiers and Florianus in Rome by the Senate. They both ruled with Probus in Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine and Florianus from Cilicia until Italy and the Western Provinces. However, he did not last three months on the throne before he ended his life and reign slain by soldiers sent by Probus. With his death, it is said, Probus took full authority. He is told to have been very famous and won many victories over many nations even gathering together, pouring abuse on, and killing the soldiers who killed Aurelian and Tacitus.

When Saturninus the Moor, who was very dear to him, rose up in revolt he punished the man who informed him of it putting no faith in the report though Saturninus was slain by his soldiers. Another man also began plotting rebellion in Britain who the emperor had bestowed the office on, Victorinus the Moor, who was dear to him and blamed him for it. On learning of this, Probus blamed Victorinus for it. He was asked by him to be sent, so he left as though truly fleeing the emperor and was received warmly by the usurper. He killed him during the night and returned to Probus. Probus was loved by everyone for his gentleness, kindness, and generousness with gifts.

When the Germans attacked cities subject to the Romans, he met them in a war which lasted for a great period of time in duration with famine breaking out in his camp. A violent thunderstorm is said to have come upon his camp and caused it to rain lots of grain if one is to believe such things. With the army's trust restored in him in this way, he was able to escape the peril and rout his opponents.

Another rebellion also broke out against him. For Carus the commander of the region of Europe had troops under him desirous of proclaiming him emperor, so he notified Probus of this begging to be recalled. However, he did not want to remove him from the command. And so the soldiers under Carus forced him to accept the office of Roman emperor and set off with him at once for Italy. Probus on learning of this sent an army under a commander to resist him. Yet the soldiers dispatched on approaching Carus put their own commander in chains and handed him along with themselves over to Carus. Probus was then slain by his own bodyguard when they learned of the soldiers defection to Probus. The period of Probus's reign was not six whole years.

When Carus came to power, he crowned his sons Carinus and Numerianus with the imperial diadem. Then he set out at once on campaign against the Persians along with his son Numerianus and seized Ctesiphon and Seleucia. The Roman army was nearly imperiled during the course of it. For it set up camp in a valley, which the Persians on seeing moved along the river flowing beside it and came to the valley by a passage. Carus, fortunately, attacked the Persians and routed them returning to Rome leading a great number of captives and a good deal of plunder. Then when the nation of the Sarmati rose up, he fought and subdued that nation. He was by birth a Galatian and brave and shrewd in wars. The story of his end is not agreed upon by historians. Some say he was campaigning against the Huns and was slain there, while others say that while he was encamped by the Tigris River where his army had set up camp, his tent was hit by a thunderbolt and they tell that he died in it.

When he had died in either this way or that way, his son Numerianus was left behind as the only emperor in the camp. He immediately marched off against the Persians and battle broke out in which the Persians gained the upper hand and the Romans were turned to flight. Some tell that he was taken captive in the flight and had his skin pulled off his whole body and thus died, while some historians write that he fell ill with ophthalmia on his way back from Persia and was slain by his own father-in-law, eparch of the camp, who was greedily eying imperial rule though he did not get it. The army chose instead Diocletian as emperor since he was there and had proven his courage by many deeds in the Persian war.

Meanwhile, Carus's other son Carinus, who was staying in Rome, proved himself antagonistic to the Romans becoming brutal, cruel, and begrudging and so was slain when Diocletian reached Rome. The period of their rule was not a full three years.

In those days, Manes thrice-be-cursed came from Persia to our region of the world and spread his own disease here. On this account the Manicheans have not died out until now. He named himself the Intercessor and the Holy Sprit being clearly the spirit of knavery, even calling himself Christ. He was anointed by the demons to act in their service even assembling his own twelve disciples who was privy to and heralds of his nonsense which he came up with out of many godless doctrines of already extinguished heresies.

Dionysius was shepherd of the faithful in Rome for nine years before he accomplished his purpose and died with Felix ascending the priestly throne of Rome. He died after a period of fifteen years and was succeeded by Eutychianus on the episcopate of Rome. He had not been bishop for ten months before he died and was succeeded in the service of shepherd by Gaius. He after heading the Church for near fifteen years was succeeded by Marcellinus. Throughout these times there were persecutions. For the Church of Antioch, Timaeus became bishop after Domnus, then Timaeus was succeeded by Cyril, while Cyril was succeeded by Tyrannus, under whom the siege of the Church reached its climax and the tyranny became unbearable. For the Church of Jerusalem, Zabdas became its head after Hymenaeus, after whose death Hermon succeeded to the throne. In Alexandria, Maximus acted in the service of the Divine for eighteen years after Dionysius before with his debt paid Theonas became bishop. Peter succeeded him and met with martyrdom having his head chopped off.

Such were the successions of the chief priests. And so Diocletian took the throne, who was Dalmatian by birth of undistinguished parentage and some say an emancipated slave of the senator Anulinus becoming dux of Mysia from the rank of simple soldier. Still others say he became cometus of the domestics, some reckoning domestics as cavalrymen. Talking with the soldiers, he affirmed he had not been privy to the murder of Numerian and while saying this turned toward Aprus praefectus of the army and said, “Here is his murderer”, who they immediately put to the sword violently. On reaching Rome, he laid claim to and came into the management of the affairs of the empire.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Notes and Bibliography to Michael Attaleiates

These notes accompany my translation from the history of Michael Attaleiates on the reign of Romanos Diogenes, which is available here.


  1. The actual text of document by which she swore not to make a second marriage still survives. For this document, see N. Oikonomides, “Le serment de l’imperatrice Eudocie: un episode de l’histoire dynastique de Byzance” , Revue des Etudes Byzantines 21 (1963) 105-108

  2. John Xiphilinus was patriarch from 1064-1075.

  3. Melitene was on the border of Byzantine Mesopotamia part of its own theme.

  4. A reference to Michael VI the Old (1056-1057)

  5. Attaliates’ actual phrase is that they whipped them manless.

  6. PS pgs. 121-2: On this account, the vestarch Romanus, son of Constantine Diogenes was brought in to rule. The way in which he was brought in, I shall tell here. When Diogenes was appointed dux of Sardica, being a patrician, he asked the emperor Constantine Ducas to give him the honor of vestarch. The emperor though replied to him, "Show me deeds then ask payments", and sent him away empty-handed not giving in to his request. And so Diogenes left and came to Sardica coming upon the Pechenegs plundering the land and caused a great rout of them capturing many of them alive and sending the heads of the slain off to the emperor who gave him the honor of vestarch writing to him, "This is not my gift, Diogenes, but rather that of your own valor and bravery.” While he was staying there, he started to plot against the emperor, but he ceased in the plot fearing it come to light. Yet because the emperor died and the empire was being ravaged, he started conspiring with one of his most faithful men on it to join with the neighboring nations in it, who had been amicably disposed towards him since the time he had ruled over the lands by them giving them ample example of his nobleness.

  7. PS pg. 122 adds the following after ‘suffering’: for the body of Christian’s suffering ravaged almost daily by the Agarenes| after the rest is as follows in the translation.

  8. διογενές ‘Zeus sprung’ is meant to be simply as clever praise based on his surname

  9. Compare Attaliates’ description with that of Psellus in the following oration, the first of five to the emperor Romanus Diogenes:

    18. To the emperor Diogenes when he was emperor

    Now is a day of salvation, freedom from evils, now strength and might of New Rome, now an unshakeable tower of rule, a wall unagitable, a column unshaken, a foundation erected by the lands of the Lord. Now the Lord has looked into his heritage and stooped down from heaven and saw it, so he has sent from on high his angel to save us from present evils, future terrors, a mass of clouds [of men], and the leasing of arrows.

    Where now is the pride of the Persians? Where is the insolence of the Medians? Where is the Scythians' fearful attack? Where is boastful scorn of the of the Turks and irresistible attack of the barbarian?

    Now as though upon a scale everything is counterpoised and the scales turned. Now everything is anew, that of the enemy has changed and ours has changed as well. Now we behold a emperor, neither by call, nor scheme false, great as a giant, long of arm, mighty of strength, awesome unarmed, mighty and irresistible armed, in form worthy of rule, and in heart rivaling the prophet David.

    In you, divine emperor, a mass of everything is run together, awesomeness, brightness, and wonder; by birth unrivalled in nobility, in motherland the most beautiful of cities, in which there are noble natures, undefeatable strength, and unbearable might against barbarians. Such is the nature of your body that the barbarian can not bear it, while such is the nature of your spirit that we are gladdened at seeing it, irresistible base against enemies, which shines forth to us calmly and tamely. Diogenes [Zeus sprung] above, divine of form beneath; august in show, bright in thought, well-established in mind, noble in argument, sharp minded, swift-tongued, a rhetor as well as a soldier. Oh what an unexpected wonder to see the divides of words and arms, arrows and meters, verbs and charges, wisdom and panoply all gathered together paradoxically in your soul. You make war with a long arm, while you freely and tersely consort with your tongue, so that your are like a river as well as an aqueduct. The mind pours forth with thoughts, while the tongue overflows gently with the fineness of the words. You, emperor, speak as a rhetorician amongst the army, while you bring an attack on the word and sally forth with them on the matter. And when it is time to loose the arrows, you then stretch the bow tight, put the javelin in your arm, and mightily throw down the spear on the men arrayed against you. And where there is need of speaking, you gives speeches radiantly not adapting the cleverness of Demosthenes, but kindling the glories of Nestor of Pylius. When there is need of standing together with shields in rows and columns, you extend the phalanx, you wind it around, you turn the soldiers about, you change the arrangement, and astound the barbarian with martial rebuke.

    But now the speech is getting me to the empress, who I could not only enconomize, but also marvel at. Oh she ponders on so much good, minded to so much better. You defended our cities, you tore down the wall of the barbarians, you decorated the empire of Rome, you elevated yourself on high, your defended imperial rule for your sons, and with one thought and one deed brought all of this to the better. I almost want to dance with zeal and joy.

    Now a synod of lights, now heaven and earth are made merry, and all is glorified to the heights, and the hour truly that for panegyric. Since comparison is needed in a speech, I shall say something paradoxical, though it is very true. You, oh emperor, possess the tokens of victory against everyone only less than the empress, the despotess. While you, oh empress, appear without comparison amongst all women, I should not say all men as well, bearing second place, though content of this, to the emperor. Oh he is victorious over all men and she is victorious over all women, victorious over each other and defeated by one another. Oh, you are a an idol of males and you are the pride of females.

  10. Z pgs. 683-4:

    When these tidings reached the empress, they provided her with consternation. Many people were saying that an emperor was needed, so the empress afraid lest the common people make someone emperor and thus depose her and her children, decided to bring someone into to rule so that she might keep power for herself and her children and keep it from being taken away from them. They say it was not licentiousness, nor being overcome by Diogenes' handsomeness to suit herself, but the fact he was an energetic man, experienced in war, and incomparable in strength that made her elevate him to the imperial rule so that the advance of the barbarians be measurably checked with him resisting them.

    He was a man descended from a brilliant family and from men famous for their bravery. His father was the son-in-law of the child of the emperor Romanos Argyros' brother, who when he was accused of treason, committed suicide throwing himself down from a precipice

  11. PS pg. 123-4: Because the empress was afraid of the Senate, the Patriarch, the people who signed her oath, and those who witnessed it, she did not dare to marry anyone important and proclaim him emperor, so she decided to think beyond a woman and overcome by the patriarch by knavery and trickery and thus accomplish her desire and force back the attacking nations. Therefore she made one of the men in the gynaecium her ally in this. The man promised to by any means necessary accomplish her desire, razor sharp, the plan was this. The Patriarch had a brother named Bardas who was very lustful and inclined towards pleasures having no other merits in life. So the eunuch went to the patriarch and told him secretly about this, and that if he wanted it he had only to agree to overlook her terrible handwritten oath and the empress would marry his own brother and he would be immediately proclaimed emperor. Like the tuna [greedy man] he was the Patriarch took the bate and was soon each for the union deciding to inform the Senate about it. One by one, he called each of them to him constructing the necessity of the matter ridiculing the oath as unlawful and made for the jealousy of one man and not for the public interest, which, if the empress marry a noble and courageous men, it would be, since Romans might sprout afresh and expected already to be ready to be emasculated and extinguished. He brought them all around to it by persuading some with punishment an some with propitiations with bags of money and ripe atonements though he did not even abstain from fear of what might happen, And so, Diogenes was lead into palace all-in-arms and married to the empress. He was proclaimed emperor on the first of January of the sixth indiction in 6576 (1068) secretly meeting the empress’s sons. Immediately, the Varangian guard started to cause a stir because they held of proclaiming him contrary to public decree. Her son Michael appeared before them with his brothers announcing that they were in agreement with what had taken place and immediately started proclaiming him emperor in loud and piercing voices.

  12. basileus autocrator

  13. This incident is well attested to by Michael Psellos in his own history in the following words:

    6. In the meantime there had been whispered rumours, and the court got to know of the affair. The future emperor had already been chosen by her, and according to the arrangements they had made, this was the very day on which the prospective bridegroom was expected to arrive in the city. On the morrow the ceremony of coronation was to be performed. That evening the empress sent for me. When we were alone, she spoke to me with tears in her eyes. 'You must be aware,' she said, 'of our loss in prestige and of the declining fortunes of our Empire, with wars constantly springing up and barbarian hordes ravaging the whole of the east. How can our country possibly escape disaster?' I knew nothing of the things that had been going on, nor that the future emperor was already standing at the palace doors, so I replied that it was no easy matter to decide. 'It requires careful consideration,' I said. 'Better propose today and listen tomorrow, as the proverb says.' With a little laugh she went on, 'But deliberation is superfluous now. The matter has been considered already and the decision is made. Romanus, the son of Diogenes, has been invited to rule as emperor, in preference to all others.'

    7. These words filled me with instant consternation. I could not conceive what would become of me. 'Well then,' I said, 'tomorrow I too will give my advice on the matter.' -- 'Not tomorrow,' she replied 'but now. Give me your support.' I returned to the attack, with just one question: 'But your son, the emperor, who will presumably one day govern the Empire alone -- does he know what has happened too?' -- 'He is not entirely in the dark, although he does not yet know all the details,' she said. 'However, I am glad you mention my son. Let us go up to him together, and explain how things stand. He is sleeping above in one of the imperial apartments.'

    8. So we went up to him. How she felt about it I do not know, but I was most agitated. A sudden fit of trembling shook me through and through. She sat down on her son's bed, called him 'her emperor', 'her best of sons'. 'Rise up,' she said, 'and receive your step-father. Although he takes the place of your father, he will be a subject, not a ruler. I, your mother, have bound him in writing to observe this arrangement.' Well, the young man got up from his bed at once, and although he looked at me suspiciously I have no idea what he was thinking. Together with his mother he left the room in which he had been sleeping, and immediately came face to face with the new emperor. Without the slightest trace of emotion, his visage quite expressionless, he embraced Romanus, becoming at once his colleague on the throne and his friend.

    9. Thereupon the Caesar was also summoned. Never were his diplomatic qualities seen to better advantage. First he made some tactful inquiries about his nephew the emperor, then added a few words of commendation in praise of Romanus. This was followed by congratulations for all the imperial party. One could almost hear him singing the wedding song and see him taking his fill from the nuptial drinking-bowl. And that is how the government of the Empire passed into the hands of the next sovereign, Romanus.

    Excerpted from E.R.A. Sewter's translation of Michael Psellos's Chronographia accessed online at

  14. PS pg. 124: The empress ruled along with her sons for seven months and a little bit more.

  15. PS pg. 124 adds: who proved a obstacle for him from the beginning until the end and poorly dealt with Roman affairs leaving them in their current state.

  16. PS pg 125: after the passage of two months

  17. The word here is νεοπαγὴς, which is being used metaphorically. In Galen, the word used with cheese can mean 'newly curdled cheese', while with blood it can mean 'newly congealed.'

  18. This next oration of Michael Psellus seems to have been delivered right before Romanus Diogenes left on his first campaign.

    19. To same man in the form of an encomium

    Where ever are you going, most radiant sun, great light of truth? How also patiently you bear leaving behind the moon of the world, under which you are shown and which you shine brighter than? Was it love for us and desire to keep the Queen of Cities free of all vassalage and attack from barbarians that persuaded you to disdain you body, spirit, and dearest ones? O vivacious soul, o flaming heart, o noble sentiment, the luxury and enjoyment of imperial rule did not enchant you; nor did the decorum of rule and the remaining adornments of it as well as the beauty of the diadem overcome you. But as though God had raised you upon the throne, so we might revel and enjoy ourselves, while you look after us with many labors and plague yourself with many anxious thoughts as well as adorning your head with the diadem and the point of your spear against your enemies. O brave deed, o high state of mind, you did not stay here for the change of season, but in the middle of winter, when the sun is hidden beneath the clouds, when it is the most dim in the sky, as though hard steel capable of sustaining all [sorts of] blows and broken apart by nothing, not the terrible winter, not a great storm, and not the terrible cold, you set out from the Queen of Cities and advanced against the kingdom [τυραννίδος] of the enemy.

    Such a course for an emperor to take at the beginning shows for us thus a good, thus a noble, thus a gentle, thus full of audacity emperor. Also that everything about you is beyond noble: birth, manner, life, the adornment of the body, the greatness of spirit, desire for God, the awesome love for us, the noble mind, the generous hand, free rightness, and spring of favors. O how sweet it is for us they we should have the good fortune to have you as emperor. O the pain of our opponent when we see you as though our sun advance on another world.

    May you overpower completely the enemy and opponent in combat, may you crown your head with radiant routs. May you adorn yourself with noble deeds against the barbarians and may you render for your spear many victories. May the sun not burn during the day and the moon at night, but a column of light guide you, and the sea part for you, the rivers give way, and the angels sent forth light over all the land. May we behold you return with routs to us adorned with noble laurels, o imperial wonder, sight most worthy of the state, and most noble light of our moon.

  19. PS pg. 125 adds to composition of army: from Macedonian, Bulgarians, Cappadocians, Uz, and other nations, as well as the Franks and Varrangians

  20. PS pg. 125: There was a paradox sight: the famous champions of the Romans, who had enslaved the east and west standing all together numbering only a few men born into poverty and lacking in complete armament, in place of blades and other weapons, as the Bible says, carrying hunting spears and scythes bereft of war mounts and other war items...

  21. district between Libanus and Anti-libanus

  22. PS pg. 126 changes statement: he left the road for the theme of Lycandus during the summer planning to...

  23. PS pg. 127 adds: and Argaos for the mountains he marched through

  24. PS pg. 128: Apsinalios

  25. PS pg. 128 adds: The ancients had a maxim for this: it is better for a lion to rule deer than a deer to rule lions.| I think here the writer did what I did the first time reading through the text and took the ἐκεῖνοι to mean Romanus‘s own soldiers, but there he might for fall from right and truthful understanding. I am not even sure as to the meaning of this phrase.

  26. PS pg. 129: Libellisius

  27. PS pg. 129 adds: or Berroea

  28. PS pg. 129: Turks

  29. PS pg. 130: It was worthy of astonishment that this disaster and defeat of the Romans should causes not one of the remaining soldiers and officers to rise to avenge themselves, but instead all of them remain sitting down as though encamped on allied land desiring to keep to themselves stirred to no zeal or desire to fight.

  30. PS pg. 131: Pharasmanes

  31. PS pg. 132: Terchola

  32. Z pg. 692: Angered that he was not able to do anything about it, he put his army in order so that they could pass the winter with any deficiencies and returned to the Queen of Cities feeling boastful that he had done much not only for others, but also for the empress. She on the contrary perceiving her expectations defeated was displeased and had her heart swollen up unable to bear the afflictions.

  33. This next oration of Psellus does not have any clear place so I place it here after his first victory:

    20. A declamation to the emperor Romanus Diogenes before the citizens in the cletorium.

    Now first I behold an soldier emperor, now first a see a general and emperor. Your head flashes with a golden crown, while no less in your right hand there is an awesome spear. With a gentle eye you regard us citizens, while with a piercing stare you strike fear into the barbarians. Your voice is sweet towards us, while it is a piercing cry to your opponents. Your face is joyous to us, while to your opponents it is an awesome, martial rebuke.

    O emperor, soldier, and general, and any other resplendent noun. O holder of all merit, whether of the city, or of the commander. O universal benefit to soldiers and citizens, great advantage to the Queen of Cities, which was lowered to its knees, but now against hope is recovering and greatly concerned for you, lord and emperor, crowning you with your victories, proclaiming your routs, and speaking about them to not only you. O torch-bearing light, you shine down on me with boundless light. O radiant sun, returning from the east, you have come to the center of the day covering all the earth with your sparkling light.

    Where were once and again you, the blush of imperial rule were away from me? You saw me an old woman, but now you have made me a young woman again and returned to the old beauty and strength of youth. Besides this, I kiss you on the eyes which have gone many time without sleep for me, caress your hands which you have covered many times with the slaughter of barbarians, and cling to your chest prominent with the scars of wounds which you received thrown at you. I bring to you them people I have given me names and fed, the citizens, who I put before and bring them forward before you as suppliants and dear ones. Embrace them for me kindly, be generous to them abundantly. They loves you and praise you , since you return to them many more times that.

    This, most divine emperor, the city declaims to you. Let you rise up and change its standing changed for the worse to the better. Put away the beautiful and become beautiful with your struggles. It was a fading light, but its most divine lover and beloved, the man who showed the might of the Romans mightier than the barbarians, the man previously having the fact of imperial rule, not having the name as well, emperor of emperors, commander of commanders is truly the most marvelous fact and name of this great and most famous of cities.

  34. PS pg. 134 adds: the Bulgarian, brother of the emperor's wife, who he married while he was still a private citizen

  35. ἐπισκέψει is something of a mystery to me. It appears in numerous monastic documents, but I cannot quite get the sense for what it is exactly. It would seem almost to refer to a suburb since there is the walled city (κάστρον) and also the ἐπισκέψις At least perhaps it means the area around the walled part of the city. Melangeia means in modern terms ‘Black Lands’, so-named for the dark color of the soil.

  36. PS pg. 135 adds: namely the Uz

  37. PS pg. 136 adds: from the Brachami family

  38. PS pg. 137: Munzarum

  39. PS pg. 137: Celtzena| probably a scribal error.

  40. PS pg. 137: The soldiers left behind with Philaretus, filled by abject fear of their opponents and seized by it, started to march behind the emperor leaving the places they had been entrusted to guard until they got to Anthiae. There the enemy suddenly appeared from behind took to flight without even a battle and came to the emperor in Celtzena by foot.

  41. PS pg. 139 is more direct: When the emperor was informed of this he only seemed to be pleased hiding his envy.

  42. PS pgs. 140-2 inserts the following paragraph: Previously, the attack and destruction of the nations subject to the Romans seemed to manifest divine anger against heretics such as the Armenians living in Iberia and Mesopotamia until Lycandus, Melitene, and the adjacent lands, as well as those worshiping after the Judaic mode of Nestorius and the heresy of the bishopless, since the lands of this heresy are numerous. However, when the orthodox suffered this misfortune, everybody worshipping after the mode of the Romans was stuck dumb and forced to examine what had happened and especially what happened to Amorium and to reckon and believe that only was their faith not correct, but also that their lifestyle did not compare to their faith. Because of this both the man erring in his faith and that imperfect in his life were receiving their punishment, while the doer and teacher was praised and blessed. When he heard this, the emperor had been eager to start off and help his own land, but he was prevented from doing so by his counselors and ignorance of the number of his opponents. They were Nicephorus Palaeologus, the most honored and counsel of philosopher Constantine Psellus, and above all the Caesar the brother of the previous emperor, who wanted him dead after this because oppressive to them and very beholden. They hated him for being a noble and courageous man and for dealing with the sons of Ducas as successors to the throne. Yet so they openly began to form a conspiracy against him.

  43. For a more detailed account of this episode, see the following except of Nicephorus Bryennius pgs 10-12

    Encouraged by these words, the sultan sent a force of nearly twenty thousand men against the Romans making its commander the son of his brother Asan [Hasan], called Kophos, urging him to go in all haste to the land of Media and take possession of it if it would not submit to him. From there, the Turks initiated the war against the Romans, which they have continued to carry out until the present day. However, here let us return to the original track of my narrative. Manuel, as it was said, the curopalates, was appointed commander of the eastern legions by Diogenes and was staying near the lead of Chaldia guarding it against the raids of the Turks. When Turkish plans were announced to him for an army of Turks under the command of Chrysosculus, who was descended from the sultan, to seize and pillage the village-towns of the Armeniac theme, he took his forces and advanced against the Turks scattering them and routing them easily when he met them going on a foraging expedition. He got very close to the Turkish camp while pursuing them and fell into a sudden ambush resisting valiantly, while he was still able to, before the Roman phalanx was turned to flight and scattered him included being surrounded by the Turks and captured along with his two brother-in-laws Melissenus and Taronites. A few Romans also fell. Lead before Chrysosculus, he thought himself to have done nothing worthy of his race having taken flight. On this account when he decided to rebel against the sultan having won victory over him and desiring power over the Persians, Manuel decided he ought to make a trial of him. Coming before him all alone and having examined his position, he decided that this man was very afraid that he did not have a force worthy of the sultan, so he spoke to him with soft words softening his harsh resolution pushing him with energetic words towards a second essay. He said that since he was lacking in sufficient force it was impossible for him to resist the master of Persia, he would never succeed in his plans unless he desert to the emperor of the Romans and make him his ally in his venture. He took his counsel and made his guide swiftly coming to the capital prevailed over and conquered by the arms and cleverness of these words. This deed brought the curopalates great glory and was very praiseworthy. The emperor received them both warmly and honored them with many gifts.

    When spring was starting, he marched off against the Turks accompanied by Chrysosculus. When he reached Bithynia, the curopalates caught an ear-infection and died causing great grief to the emperor.

  44. PS pg. 142: the day of Orthodoxy

  45. For this rhetorical work see none other Michael Psellus's twenty-first and last public oration for Romanos Diogenes translated below:

    21. A Syntacterius Oration to the emperor.

    Let a syntacterius oration here be spoken about your most kind soul both as such for leaving and thus marvelous. It is thus a commingling of prayers and tears by us to you, our most excellent lord and emperor.

    May you return from the east to the east again and again like lightning as the sun in its unending cycle does, a rich light shining down on your subjects and scorching the barbarians. Besides this, may you extinguish Babylonian fire, rein in the impulses of lions, and draw fire down from the sky against the hostile phalanx. May you split the sea asunder, drive back the river, and make war on Amalek.

    A cloud may cast a shadow over your head stripping you of your burn, but a pillar of light goes before your shield guiding you. May the Lord smooth away any high and rough mountain, fill the ravines for you, and make the curves straight. May you don up your head with wreaths of victory and may you return to us with with myriads of victories gloried with many routs. May the angels fight alongside you and God act as your fellow general and cover the new Pharaoh with the sea for you.

    Further, may you reconcile the chasms and cut down the wall of the palisade, making a hostile enemy into a friendly one by your might, most imperial and victorious.

    I speak with one voice for the voices of many when I say this to you last: may you not stay long from us who wish to see you, but may you return in haste more bright with victories and more radiant, o most excellent of all emperors incomparable in clandestine beauty and greatness of nature.

  46. PS pg. 142: ...but at Helenopolis, which the locals call more rurally Eleeinopolis, which did not seem a good omen.

  47. Yet the stupidity of men, so to say poor habits, lack in faith in obvious proof, and the unintelligible did not put trust in one of them, but the obvious was ignored and no sense was given to what was come hurled from above.

  48. PS pg. 143: Tzombus

  49. PS pg. 143: the attack

  50. When he perceived it, the emperor mounted his horse and called his soldiers together astounding his foreign men and again subordinating them, ordering this only as punishment: that they put in the furthest away parts for his own security.

  51. Here it would seem there was a Byzantine word for the agent who took control of the city that Attaliates considered too barbaric to be used in his narrative because he replaced it with a participle meaning 'he who takes over.' I would suspect that it is Latin in origin

  52. The practice of Bible divination, sors evangelica, is a long Byzantine tradition. We find Heraclius doing the same thing at challenging junctions in his war with the Persians. The priest would open the Bible and turn to the random page to a random verse that would then be interpreted for what it boded for the future.

  53. The full quotation which the priest turned to was John 15.20-16.3

  54. PS pg. 145 adds to divination: god sent

  55. PS pg. 146: And so the enemy surrounded him and took him captive leading him off to the sultan in chains. On coming before his sight, he did not stand a slave nor as a captive taken to the sultan. Nor did the sultan treat him like a slave or a captive, but had him constantly in his presence asking about the emperor showing him his own might and filling him with terror and fear. The man praised all of this and counseled him taking liberty that the Roman emperor's force standing against him was at a disadvantage.

  56. PS pg. 147: When morning came, a contingent of Uzes, having a commander Tamin thus called a Scythian appointed by Tornicus Cotertzes, deserted to the enemy.

  57. PS pg 147: He was ignorant that Tarchaniotes persuaded as well Ruselius, who was minded to come aid the emperor, learning of the arrival of sultan and his approach on the emperor had set out with his men and fled ignobly through Mesopotamia to Roman territory, the cowardly man not even sending a message to his master or doing any befitting.

  58. PS pg. 147-8: Yet he assented and gave them a cross so that by this sign they could return to him unharmed bearing carrying tidings which they might learn from the sultan. For what he sent, induced by the hopelessness of the situation was that the sultan would leave the place and make camp further away from his encampment, while the emperor would set up camp at that place where the Turks had had their encampment and would come to terms with him. He was offering victory to the enemy high-mindedly just as those in the know had agreed, the most victorious symbol, the cross being sent to him.

  59. Z pg. 700: In the midst of this, ambassadors came from the sultan to discuss peace. The emperor did not altogether warmly receive them he gave them messages and permitted them to return to their lord and say that, "If you want to discuss peace, leave behind the place in which you are encamped move camp to somewhere far away so I can set up camp with the Roman army where the barbarian encampment now is." With this said boastfully to the ambassadors, he commanded them to go back shortly. They reported the emperor's words to the sultan and he with the men about him were [still] desirous of peace agreement. As the emperor was arrogant, he was persuaded by some of the men about him who said that the sultan was afraid that he did not have sufficient enough an army and was therefore seeking peace so that battle should be avoided and he could bring in another force, so neither waiting for the return of the ambassadors nor thinking of anything else he ordered the war trumpets to be sounded.

  60. PS pg. 149 adds: Andronicus, the son of the Caesar

  61. PS pg. 150 testifies sultan named Axan
  62. PS pg. 150-1: When he was assured by the ambassadors and Basiliacus that the man thrown before his feet was him giving off a pitiful lament, he straightaway as though a mad man sprung up from his throne and put it right. He put his foot on the man before his foot as customary and rose up him embracing him saying to him, "Do not fear, o emperor, but be of good cheer, since you will suffer no bodily harm and shall be honored worthy of the excellence of your majesty. Foolish is he who does not reverence the unexpected fortunes he is given."

  63. Z pg. 703: He said, "Do not grieve, emperor, for such it is to be human. I will conduct myself towards you not a as a captive, but as an emperor."

  64. The long lasting memory of Mantzikiert even lived on as a major down turn in Byzantium's decline in the following excerpt from Bessarion's encomium to Trebizond:

    Bessarion: Encomium to Trebizond pgs. 182-3:
    From Egypt, the Saracens, from Persia again, the Turks came as well as lands below, the former putting Palestine, Syria, and Pamphylia beneath them, while the latter put everything in between up until Bithynia under them and enslaved them including even taking the Roman emperor Romanus surnamed Diogenes captive, while the Romans held Europe and everything towards the dawning sun in word, while the Scythians, Huns, and the Pecheneg race and I know not who else attacked it on all sides and plundered all of the Mysians.

  65. Z pg. 703: He then came to Theodosiopolis clothed barbarically (the sultan had provided him his own vestments)...| Zonaras confuses the Greek word στολή 'vestment/army', which actually based on context refers to the Turkish army with him. Even Greek writers of the age make mistakes!

  66. Z pg. 704: When news of his capture reached the capital, people were split amongst themselves by it. Some were in favor of giving the empress power again, others giving the whole thing to the elder of his sons, and still others working out joint rule between the empress and her sons.

  67. PS pg. 152: One of the first to rise up to his proclamation was the counsel of philosophers Psellus just as he boasts in his books. It is said that the empress was of this persuasion not to receive Diogenes in return

  68. These two lacunae are in the text as published by Bekker.

  69. Attaliates in his account understandably forgets that Andronicus received Diogenes like a gentleman feting his return with a lavish banquet, as Psellus tells us (Chapter 49). Attaliates understandably 'forgets' this event since the irony of it would have been more than most men could handle. The man who had betrayed him at Mantzikiert, now received him generously.

  70. Bibliotheca graeca Medii Aevi by Constantine Sathas. Tomos V. 1876, pgs. 392-4

    145. To Andronicus Ducas while on campaign against Romanus Diogenes

    I am not amazed that you have conquered and taken hold of the enemy by your superiority, most noble and martial man, my dearest friend, because of as such your honor, strategic sagacity, and your cunning in war. I praise you for your marches, advances, stratagems [here word also carries negative connotation of thievery and fraud], devices, thoughtful invention, and embellished change of scale. I amazed with you for your struggles, presence in the battle, phalanx, the appearances before the routs, the division on both in columns…and of the opponent, either crosswise or on each sides, one of them in columns, the other in the cycles that men cunning in this name them. For it does not thus happen either with great fear or from the first vestibule, resplendent with victory and victories you may be received again by us, but from martial plans, from tactical movements, from lines and divisions, and noble fights and such things as the head of a general is crowned by.

    At that moment, we all stood midway in the air divided in our opinions on both sides and very joyous for any news from where you were. The greater part of us and more divine voices were pleased, thrice-beloved and most magnificent man, to hear from your messengers of your rout by name and victory. It has thus been written in the above books, or rather from above you have received these noble deeds as gifts.

    You, although the head of the serpent is not yet broken, have announced this good news. It has already been lost on us, since the full length of the serpent has not yet been taken care of, while the arch-evil head has not yet been broken, though may the beast may be struck down by your lightning bolt and this, not deep below nor unseen, but high up and manifest as you come upon the den, strip down the remaining parts, and inflict a terrible poison throughout it for the righteous.

    You, with a hand of gold, arms of steel, and a chest of bronze, when you have completed it, please send news. For I am already devising words of praise for you for when there is final victory and I shall place an uncontaminated laurel gathered from Attic meadows upon your head.

    However, there is still the basilisk upon my mind! Of whom do I speak? The most wily Chataturius, who please do not let escape and slip through your hands. Let the beast be captured at once by your hands, since he is not a part of length of the serpent, but at the same level with the head of the serpent.

    After all of this, shall I pour [kisses] around your neck, shall I caress your right hand stained with righteous blood seeing with my own eyes the fair sight, and shall I proclaim you in the middle of the City climbing upon the highest surface so that my voice may be heard throughout the world, if it is possible, to make it heard the furthest away?

    What is there for me to make famous of you, most sagacious of all men? For not, if you prescribe it shall it be of a contrary nature, since the memory should not be from set purpose, not from commandment, but bubbling up from below gushing forth in noble substance. I will make you famous even in Hades if indeed that is where spirits are left to remembrance.

    You need craft no message about yourself, since this happening suffices for you in the place of any, even this one of mine, although it shall shortly be said, that you have caused the death of the empire of the Romans.

  71. Romanus Diogenes had two sons by the Augusta Eudocia, Nicephorus and Leo, who Anna Comnena attests to, without whom this reference might be lost on us.

  72. I think this speech might need some explanation with all of Attaliates’ rhetoric and unending sentences in a paraphrase and explanation. As he says in the paragraph following this speech is meant to be like something you would find in Sophocles, a dramatic speech delivered at that very moment to Michael Parapinaces, clothed both in pagan and Christian language:

    O emperor, what do you think should be done with this man. Has he wronged anyone by sacrificing himself for the Roman Empire when he could have sat around in the palace and been lazy? He has been recognized and well treated by his enemy who recognize their victory comes from God. How can you order his eyes put out when he no longer poses any threat to you having renounced the empire, renounced public life, and become a monk? He poses no threat, yet you are insatiable in your lust for power and so you order this respecting nothing not even kin. Woe be upon you, o emperor, and may fortune curse you for ambition.

  73. PS pg. 154 adds after Colonia the name Theophilus

  74. Z pg. 706 adds the following explanation: His eyes were very cruelly put out and because no care was given his head swelled up and the wounds caused it to become infested with worms, while the air about him was rank with the foul smell of rot.

  75. καὶ πρὸ τῆς τελευτῆς ὀδωδώς

  76. PS pg. 154-5: It is said these things were done without the knowledge of the emperor Michael, who later confirmed them, the Caesar conceiving them and arranging them secretly.

  77. Here I think is the appropriate place to add a short excerpt from the Timarion, the Byzantine equivalent of Dante's Inferno, written in the eleventh to twelfth century in which Romanus Diogenes figures. The narrator has recently died and like any good Greek gone to Hades not Hell where he is escorted about and meets a man who he asks about a tent he keeps hearing moans from:

    As I had told him all about things in life, I asked him who was the man living in that tent and who the elder was beside it and the reasons for bellowing.

    The vulgar man said:

    The man living in the tent whose who innermost laments you have heard is the famous Diogenes from Cappadocia. Chiefly what I know about his life is that he was brought in to rule, that he marched against the eastern Scythians, and that he was taken captive. Then he was freed and tried to return to Byzantium and was not permitted to continue ruling, but was taken hold of by war and oath and treacherously, as you see, blinded being brought to these things by a trick of mischievous terror [or 'cunning man'].


  • Attaliates, Michael. ed. Immanuel Bekker. Historia. Corpus Scriptorium Historiae Byzantinae. Bonn, 1853.

  • Bessarion. ed S, Lambros. Εγκώμιον εις Τραπεζούντα. Νέος Ελληνομνήμων 13. 1918.

  • Bryennius, Nichephorus. ed. Augustus Meinecke, Corpus Scriptorium Historiae Byzantinae. Bonn. 1836.

  • Psellus, Michael. ed. Constantine Sathas. Bibliotheca graeca Medii Aevi. Tomos V. 1876.

  • Psellus, Michael. Fourteen Byzantine Rulers, trans. E.R.A. Sewter, rev. ed., (New York: Penguin, 1966).

  • Pseudo, Scylitzes. ed. E.T. Tsolakes. Ἡ συνέχεια τῆς χρονογραφίας τοῦ Ἰωάννου Σκυλίτση Ἑταιρεία Μακεδονικῶν Σπουδῶν. Ἵδρυμα Μελετῶν Χερσονήσου τοῦ Αἵμου 105. Thessalonica, 1968.

  • Timarion. R. Romano, Pseudo-Luciano, Timarione. Byzantina et neo-hellenica neapolitana 2. Naples: Università di Napoli. Cattedra di filologia bizantina, 1974.

  • Zonaras, John. ed. L. Dindorf. Ioannis Zonarae epitome historiarum, vol. 3. Leipzig: Teubner, 1870.

Extract from the History of Michael Attaleiates: The Reign of Romanos Diogenes

Translators Note:A few words need only delay us here pertaining to the form and structure of this translation. I am republishing a translation I originally made of the work of Michael Attaleiates several years ago. I have tried to correct as many errors as I can in the original translation, but it seems it is not always possible to get everything. The translation is based on Bonn's edition (the full citation is listed in the bibliography at the end) from the nineteenth century to avoid any copyright issues. I welcome any comments, corrections, or improvements to the translation that you the reader may have.

I have not had the time to create as detailed or copious of notes as it would take to adequately expand and improve this translation, but in the notes I have tried to reference and translate as many original documents as possible. In addition, I have made extensive use of Pseudo-Scylitzes (abbreviated PS in the notes), a writer who copied the work of Attaleiates almost word for word adding in his own commentary at times as well as differentiations in names and place names which are useful to account for perhaps what they might have been originally in Attaleiates' work before it was handed over to the copyists. I have also made use of the Byzantine chronicler John Zonaras (Z), writing under Manuel I (1143-1180), for the insight he adds some of the time and explanation.

The road of history marches ever on, so I hope that this work may remove the pebbles and smooth away the road for eager feet, which might enjoy that same course that my eager feet ran.

[This large extract starts at the death of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Doukas in 1067. Doukas after a rather unsuccessful reign was succeeded by his wife Eudokia who was left to deal with the aftermath of his reign and the general apathy and disorganization of the army that ran rampant at a time when the Byzantine Empire was faced by the menace of ever approaching Turkish armies.]

And so his spouse Eudocia and their sons succeeded to the throne. Previously the Augusta had been made to swear to a gathering of ecclesiasts and senators not to make a second marriage (1). The head of the synod and patriarch at this time was John surnamed Xiphilinus, who came from Trebizond, a wise man, who was well-educated and had made himself conspicuous in the affairs of the city acting wisely with honor such that he would fondly dwell in the palace and bear first rank alongside the emperor bringing the ecclesiastical state to heights of prosperity and its prime. Previously he had elected the monastic life about Mount Olympus and had lived there a long time shining forth resplendent with virtue and fear of God. Consequently, when the patriarch died and thorough investigation was made, no one save him was reckoned worthy of this office. Despite rejecting it, he was compelled to take up the honor and proclaimed the Light of the Church and Ecumenical Patriarch (2).

After the emperor died, the Huns again overran the east and came close to Mesopotamia attacking the Roman legions encamped near Melitene (3), who having not received their pay were dejected and irascible because of the fact and could not be prevailed upon to join the Roman soldiers in Mesopotamia because they did not wish to cross the Euphrates River. When the barbarians came upon them, they made their stand along the river scattering about its outlets. The barbarians with their long-range bowmen easily devastated them from afar, though they remained indifferent until they were forced to plunge into the river and join battle with them. Positioned over them on the riverbanks they fired down upon the Romans and wreaked havoc upon them compelling them to flee. In the flight that followed, many Romans fell in battle, others were taken captive, and the survivors sought refuge in the city of Melitene. The barbarians disdaining them as already being destroyed and conquered then passed as far as Caesarea, despoiling, destroying, and setting fire to everything in their way. They descended upon the holy shrine of the famous Saint Basil and ravaged everything seizing the holy relics even breaking open the saint’s coffin with nothing stopping them from committing outrages upon his remains (Before it was watched over and guarded by strong buildings which were for a long time in need of demolition). The doors that guarded the opening, which were wrought at great expense with an abundance of gold, pearls, and precious stones, they carried off. Piling up the loot they set out from there after having slaughtering many people in the capital of Caesarea and defiling the church. On their way home, they passed through the narrows ways leading to Cilicia, where no one perceived of their coming, and appeared to the Cilician’s great astonishment doing terrible things and murdering those who fell in their path. They stayed in that land a while and destroyed it sating their lust for plunder. They were also joined there by one of their distinguished countrymen who had previously deserted them, called Amertikes, who was hostile to Romans since they had broken their word to him. Previously he had come to the emperor who was called the “Old (4)” and been warmly welcomed and received by him into the palace. However, he was accused by the emperor Constantine Ducas as plotting to put him to the death and was condemned to exile. When he was returned from exile, he was sent off to fight on the Romans' behalf against the Huns, though because of his lack of provisions he deserted to the ruler of Aleppo. Whether the barbarian was happy to be sent against his own people or was against it and did not wish to obtain the promised provisions, I will let my readers decide. The Huns then on reaching Aleppo were joined by him and the neighboring Arabs and made Antioch in Syria and the cities and villages around it into no-man’s lands (5). The depopulation by the barbarians’ raids was accompanied by massacres, conflagrations, enslavement, and plundering. Since a force had to be sent against them, an army was gathered and it leaders were chosen, but here again parsimony rendered it ineffective and robbed it of success. The emperors, since they did not want to give their men-at-arms their full pay, they condemned themselves to faring badly in battles hoping to make their men risk their lives for the smallest bit of their pay. Instead, they failed completely. For the soldiers, although they had received their pay, did not march off against the enemy reckoning that a part of it was long over due. Raising an inarticulate voice, they scattered about to their homes. And again, the barbarians overran the Roman Empire with impunity. Then those near the emperors entrusted the commander of Antioch with a band of youths that they had gathered at little expense. Yet they were unable to do anything noble because they were nearly all without war-experience, poorly mounted, and without weaponless, and after suffering many casualties, they returned disgracefully to their land. They were finally conquered by the duke (the magister Nicephorus Botaniates) who through his own prowess, bravery, and prudence along with the locals and his own bodyguard turned back and defeated their advance. He was then removed from the office and from then on the barbarians were emboldened more and the cities were in hard straits with food running low and all other provisions lacking.

Since it was necessary in those times to have an emperor able to manage the affairs of state and go upon his enemies in war, the most valorous Botaniates was chosen as the sun outshines the stars, but ill will and unjust judgment caused that need to be delayed and one of his kinsmen be chosen instead for reasons perhaps unknown to men save only the will of God.(6) The devastation and destruction of the nations subject to the Romans seemed to manifest divine anger against heretics such as the Armenians living in Iberia and Mesopotamia until Lycandus, Melitene, and the adjacent lands, as well as those worshiping after the Judaic mode of Nestorius and the heresy of the bishop-less (τὴν τῶν ἀκεφάλων θρησκεύοντες αἵρεσιν), since the lands of this heresy are numerous. However, when the orthodox suffered this misfortune, everybody worshipping after the mode of the Romans was stuck dumb.

Yet then, one of the patricians, the vestarch Romanus surnamed Diogenes, rose up in revolt. On seeing how the emperors were to blame for the deficiencies of the soldiers, which had played into the enemies’ hands permitting them to become great due to Roman frivolity, he was loud with lamentations and greatly vexed, so he began to labor to raise a revolt, not out of greed and enjoyment of power, as it was affirmed later, but to avenge the fortunes of the Romans already fallen in battle because affairs were out of joint. At the end of the emperor Ducas’s reign, while he was entrusted with the governorship of Sardica, he started to intrigue to make the Sauromatae his accomplices in his plot and bring it to fruition. They had been impressed with this man when he had campaigned against them as governor of the cities near the Ister. During that expedition, as he was waging war on them, he might have fallen in battle, had not the magister Nicephorus Botaniates saved him by an incontestable charge and his own might (this I heard admitted by the lips of Diogenes himself). When the letters were sent out to accomplish this aim with a oath, one of his co-conspirators, an Armenian by birth, was roused to anger by this act and began plotting against him and persuaded him to send off the men privy to his designs to bring around some commanders and subjects to his design, and then since he knew him bare of aid, he spoke out against him to the local inhabitants as having plotted revolt only to betray them to the Sauromatae. Having stirred them to rage, he then attacked him suddenly and finding him all alone arrested him and lead him off to the capital in chains to stand trial for his deeds. Furthermore, when he was tried by the chief men of the Senate, he was found guilty of treason and condemned to die, he did not refute it, venture any counter arguments, or deny it, but, instead, put himself at blame in a confession. That I was one of the judges present, many people know. This sentence was then commuted to one of exile to an island as everyone present at the trial was stirred by anguish at his youth and/or nobleness. The people who were ignorant of him beforehand soon heard about him from the people who knew of him and became his admirers, so that it became a lot of people’s wish that he escape punishment and that something be done in favor of the Roman Empire. Since her conception of the man not as one of self-ambition, had changed to one of brotherhood and filial piety(7), as we have said before, grieved by the suffering of the orthodox thereby acquiring many well-wishers, the Augusta was overcome by pity as he stood before the imperial throne with tears running down her cheeks. For he was a man excelling not only in those qualities, but also one extremely pleasing to behold with broad shoulders, a truly noble and Zeus sprung soul (8), with flashing eyes and skin that shone not exactly white or black, but somewhere in between...with a crafted form and mixed with blush and a sweetness all round, boasting a form worthy of sovereignty after the comic(9). Since the assembled body of elders felt the same thing as her, sympathy soon followed causing him to be saved and meet with imperial dignities, and once freed, be welcomed by everyone, praised, and hearkened to as the stuff of prayers as each person reckoned his own deliverance as his own. As he was on his way to Cappadocia, where he was born, he received summons and returned to the capital where he was appointed to the rank of magister and general by the empress as she was coming before her sons in the imperial procession, as it is a custom for emperors, on Christmas to the Great Church of the Divine Wisdom.

Because of the great anguish and consternation that had arisen from the foreign nations' extremely cruel raid were so severe (In the southern parts, as far as Antioch and Cilicia, the cities were in extreme danger of falling to the aforesaid raids, while in the north the sultan had come forth with all of his army, an irresistible force, and dug in by the Roman border in the autumn, planning to spend the winter there and, come spring, invade the bordering land, lay waste to Roman land, and subdue it), the Augusta and the senators as well as the patriarch included, started examine things to find a way to avoid such a catastrophe(10). It was agreed that since it was for everyone's good and preferred the public good to his own special and at death's breath injunction that the special contracts concerned with public provision should be overturned. The fact that there was no emperor because of his jealousy was reckoned a universal calamity and disaster for the Roman Empire. So it was that this opinion took hold: the times needed absolutely needed an emperor if the empire was to escape disaster, yet there was still some fight over who was the most worthy both of the times and of this honor with Nicephorus Botaniates off away at Antioch, until Diogenes came into the mind of one of the most eminent senators(10). Or rather, the Augusta had already made up her mind beforehand on him since he was immediately present and unmarried. When he was mentioned, everyone agreed with the empress on his merits and chose him out of fear of appearing out of line(11). And so, on the first of January of the sixth indiction, when the sun always departs from its winter ways and begins to warm and light up the world marking the start of better winter weather, and when the saint day of the great archbishop and priest Saint Basil, who the lands of Cappadocia bear as its most resplendent star of the Church, was being celebrated, he was proclaimed emperor imperator(12) in the morning, after having entered into the Capitol during the night in arms by means of the empress and secretly met the empress’s sons (13).

As things turned out, the masses had not hoped in vain(14). When he succeeded to the throne, he took less care for the affairs of the city but for the good order and constitution of his soldiers because he had step-sons and co-rulers, more like successors, as well as their father's brother, the Caesar John (15). He began at once in these same city regiments to converse with notable experienced soldiers, to long for the contests of war, to make ready agents, and to get ready to halt the enemies advance on all sides. For this reason, he did not stay long in the palace, but after the passage of two lunar cycles (16), the Propontis in the east received him, and the imperial badge of the imperial tent was brought forth from the Queen of Cities for the eastern expedition for everyone to see that zeal for revenge had defeated the daintiness and the pleasures of the Queen of Cities, and that eternal glory and a chance to end their pains had persuaded the emperor to march out. It astonished everyone because they thought that for just arranging the baggage to be made ready and the baggage train, not a period of three months sufficed(16). But he was resolved(17) and set the rest in order and besides the baggage, assembled a body of soldiers from the west and the land of Cappadocia as well as Scythians, and before their departure selected a body of men from those only at the imperial court who were eager for the road(18)(19). Since the person who is writing this followed along with them by choice dealing with the army’s cases in judgments, what follows after will be written completely not from hearsay, but from his own eyes.

First the emperor came to the province of Bithynia and after that Phrygia, the Anatolic theme. There gathered together by decrees that had been sent out earlier were the commanders of the legions and the men who filled each legion. Before one’s eyes were the famous companies standing all together numbering only a few men born into poverty and lacking in complete armament and warhorses (20). For the most part they had been neglected, because no emperor had marched east for many years and they had not received their due pay having been subdued and turned to flight little by little by their opponents due to their wretchedness and ill preparedness for attack, and thus fallen into cowardice and impotency, of no good use. To put it plainly, their standards were dirty as if from smoke with easily countable, wretched attendants beneath them. They were greatly discouraged when reckoning how they would return to the old days of their former martial honor and get it back after so much time, since the men who remained in the legions were few and lacking in arms and mounts, a band of inexperienced youths with the most warlike and war-experienced opponents arraigned against them.

However, the emperor was not surprised by this occurrence. On the contrary, rather his sudden attack and advance on his opponents made them think, as we later learned, that this man had no regard for danger, but was a student of Ares who would revive the Romans and chastise his enemies for their impudence. For this reason, the sultan started to retreat dividing of a great part of it, making his camp in upper Asia, while the northern part was put in the south. The emperor, after enlisting soldiers, collecting the youth of every country and city, giving out honors and gifts to them to reinvigorate them, in a short time filled the ranks of the legions setting up fine officers in charge of each of them and intermixing them with the men come from the west, such that in a short period of time he made a battle-ready army and marched on the Persians with this force as its commander. Since the northern Persian camp had previously given the illusion of attacking, it expected to get the brunt of the emperor's attack, so Diogenes decided therefore to attack the southern forces who were ravaging Coele Syria(21), Cilicia, and Antioch. For this reason, he left the road leading straight to Sebastia and Colonia and advanced on the Lycandus theme (22) intending to spend the summer there and invade the Syrian districts in autumn when the degree of the sun's burning heat would be lessened so that the army did not suffer from unaccustomedness to the heat and become susceptible to disease.

In the meantime, while he was staying there, the Persians (now they will be called Turks) invaded Neocaesarea unexpectedly and overran it starting the march home with many people and objects in their possession leading away a huge train of plunder not at all small. When word of this reached the emperor and his men, it caused them a great upset considering the device of their opponents that they had brought about by deceit. Many people blamed the emperor because, although he was off on an expedition, the enemy had still nonetheless carried out their own designs while he, the emperor, had not been able to do anything to stop it. Therefore, he quickly took up his forces again and marched through impassable and inaccessible ways at full gallop in the reverse. On nearing the capital of Sebastia, he ordered his soldiers get ready to move and all the infantry to depart with his step-son Andronicus who had accompanied him and the emperor appointed as a security, fellow commander to compensate for him, since at any time as he went forth and attacked his enemies he might receive a mortal blow. He then along with all the cavalry drove behind the enemy. On passing through the highest mountains of Tephrice (23), eager to attack his opponent, he moved in an oblique line and thus made to overpower their army, and yet on coming close enough for the enemy to see them, he was not able to make his men charge them with their horses and make amends worthy of remembrance. However, their opponent was seized through by fear since their had not expected it and went pale at mention of the presence of the emperor, and straightaway a massacre of them took place as they turned about and started to flee. Some of them were taken captive, while other, those who did not take their own lives, were put by the sword. However, all the booty from man until animal, the emperor freed and won praise at this marvel. It was fantastic and worthy of note to see that an emperor of the Romans should advance without check without even his own baggage with only his own soldiery for eight days through places unknown and impassible and not fail in the attempt.

When he got back from there to the capital of Sebastea, it was the first of October, and after only resting his army there three days, he set out from there for Syria and advanced on to Germanicea through the defiles of Cucusus and impassable places to the theme called Teluch by the Armenians, having previously detached a not small phalanx of soldiers from the army and sent them along with their commander to Melitene to guard the eastern themes and repel the enemy's forces attacking there, who were commanded by a knave and belligerent man named Ausinalius(24). The emperor therefore along with these soldiers and commanders, handed over all the Franks, warlike men delighting in blood, to this commander in order that he might subdue the foreign enemy with a mighty force. However, this man was not very courageous and so unambitiously made use of his time and assets making things two times worse for the emperor, since he was deprived of this belligerent contingent. Many times the enemy called upon him to fight, but he did not try to leave the city of Melitene even though his soldiers made known their willingness to go at them, and since they knew of his unwillingness, fearfulness, and unwarlikeness, they [the enemy] marched through places unknown and attacked a contingent of the imperial army going off to buy supplies. Had the emperor not quickly taken action at news of this and set out against them, who give way and took flight, then a contingent of soldiers not easily missed might have been lost. Hence, if one might at all ascribe the outcome of such things to commanders resulting for better or worse, he/she would not fall far from a right and true conclusion (25).

However, the emperor was thus saved and saved the camp having been encamped with all his army before the land of Chalep [Aleppo]. Before dismounting from his horse, he sent the Scythians and not a numerous Romans off on a foraging expedition to plunder the enemy’s land, which it succeeded in doing taking no small number of men, women, and food captive. From there, he pushed the army on through the enemy land and spent two days passing through their land, which he spent making foraging expeditions. On the third day, he came to Hierapolis and caught sight of the Arabs encircling them showing up out of nowhere. However, they were not bold enough to come to blows and fight the Romans, except for some skirmishing that took place when some of them ran forth and broke rank. As the Romans advanced all in order in their lines and phalanxes, the Arabs along with their numerous Turkish allies, commanded over by a vigorous man boasting regal descent from Persia, named Amertikes, started following them from afar and as such keeping guard over them or appearing for display. Towards the afternoon, the emperor set up came before the city of Hierapolis erecting a trench and palisade there in the usual manner. The Romans certainly had not finished unloading their luggage into their tents, nor spent very long in them, when those in their service and the Armenian contingent started to attack the city. They found it not very well defended by those within (the Saracens were seized by fear of the imperial advance and elected to flee beyond the Euphrates River) and so they quickly forced their way through the gates within. They took their fill of food and other sustenance within (they found no lack of them there as well as both a bit of wine and lavish items) but missed out on the more valuable part of the booty because the enemy had taken it with them when they took flight.

And so, the outer city was taken without a fight and afforded much ease to the soldiers to stay there, except for three or four of the highest towers into which the Saracens had ascended and were holding the narrow way up obstinately after the custom of their fathers willing to die for their religion and city. However, they were unable to hold out forever, since the Romans outflanked them in many places and attacked them with great boldness, long-range bowmen, and a line of shields all together, and so they made them their prisoners-of-war. As for the acropolis, (it is level and in line with the city walls thickly covered by extremely tall walls and towers reaching into the air it is such impregnable) it was not as easy for the Romans to take, since a number of Saracens within it not easily countable was defending it stoutly. However, the garrison could not hold the height for long, since the emperor encircled it with men-at-arms and machines firing down on them with catapults and showers of arrows also erecting a mound to take the city by siege and so made them come to terms. They sent ambassadors to him asking for pardon and also setting forth their suppliant request of the ransom of their wives, children, and remaining property, making the emperor blush and not failing in what they aimed. And so the Romans became masters of the acropolis through the mediation of an Assyrian man by race, who was born in Antioch and had gotten a very good Roman education as well as an Arabic one through his well-endowed intelligent nature. He entered skillfully into the acropolis and took possession of the gates with Russian men-at-war (Peter was the name of the man and Libellius (26) his surname, who had been honored as magister) thus ending the siege, even though they had seized cities not so, but some small, some large, by war and violence.

The imperial camp went through further martial contests. The reason being that the emir of Aleppo (27) after gathering a mighty force with a contingent of Huns (28) intended to come to blows and give combat to the emperor. The emperor, within the captured city of Hierapolis and still dealing with the acropolis, left behind only a remnant to continue the siege and arranged his forces into two lines of soldiers between the walled city and the encampment to divide his opponent as though by a wall. Why this was, was that some Saracens had appeared in the distance riding their horses along the plain. Near the city of Hierapolis, there are plains that are easy to ride a horse upon extending over a great distance and with the exception of some hills, there is nothing jutting up to a great height or extending into the air. The place is scorching hot as the sun comes down there more warmly at lunchtime. There are meadows towards the western part of the city with warm water, which is carried in through aqueducts to counter the scorching heat. Then, little by little, the enemy came face to face with the two lines of soldiers standing there (the emir of Aleppo named Machmoutios [Mahmud] was still away) and started skirmishing them forcing some of the Romans to rush towards them doing it two or three times clashing with them and then retreating back the other way. In another clash, they put to flight the men rushing at them and did not retreat like they had in previous attacks, but drove forward without check until the phalanx of soldiers joined battle with them and was turned to flight killing many and forcing the rest to take flight leaving behind the legion of the Schools on the right, which on seeing the defeat of the others, cared neither to help, nor do anything like a soldier would do, but stood there fixed upon the spot, as though they were intending to join their opponents by a secret sedition. When the enemy returned, they found only this legion standing there ignobly and swiftly defeated it slaying many of them and shutting the rest of them up in the encampment depriving them of their standards such that some of the Saracens descended from their horses, slit many of the soldiers’ throats, and sent them off to Aleppo as a token of their victory (29). Then moreover even I myself did not despair of my own salvation regarding the cowardice, spinelessness, and baseness of the Romans, since after the disaster and defeat of the Romans, not one soldier and officer were roused to avenge the defeat, but all of them remained seated keeping to himself as though encamped in allied land not stirred to fight at all.

The emperor on learning of this within the city, returned out of it greatly vexed towards the palisade with his Cappadocian followers, recognizing on their stupidity as well as that of the Romans. That night, everybody did not have high expectations, since all of the Armenian infantry, which had been ordered to pass the night near the trench before the palisade was feeling rebellious and might refused to obey his orders. That night was a bitter and hard night for the Romans. Day had not yet come when the enemy surrounded the palisade with all of their army. For the ruler of Aleppo, on learning of his army’s victory, had left with all of his own force to take the emperor along with all his allied army without a blow. For this reason, they did not cease to ride around us with their horses and strike fear into us wildly with their barbaric howls. The emperor within his tent decided to end the conflict and so rode out on his horse around three o’clock suddenly (It was the twenty first of November of indiction 7) without crying out or the trumpets of war announcing his advance. The standards were raised and as the army was exiting in their ranks, a section of the enemy army started at them, when they saw the Romans marching out and gathering together. The conflict as well the outcome of the future urged their spirits on. Yet the men who were in the front lines of the conflict behind their shields raised the war cry and the Romans prevailed taking captive many of the enemy. As for the rest of the Roman army, it was spurred on to the attack them, who then took flight unexpectedly. The men pursuing the fleeing slew many men and took captive no small number of them. The pursuit went on for a long while until the Romans had made for themselves a great victory and matter for boasting. Although the Arab's horse could gallop swiftly for a while, they were not up to such a large distance, the Romans could have pulled strength and good fortune out of their exhaustion, but then they reined in their horses and returned at imperial command rendering for themselves a dull victory, satisfied only with their opponent’s rout.

Thus, I saw that the Romans then neither seize the opportunity they could have had, nor set ambushes, nor rightly take any decisive action in a bitter war, nor distinguish the forces of their opponents, who instead they left all as one category: the mighty, the greedy, and the commanders or rulers over a place. What was to fear from pursuing the ruler of Aleppo without check after the rout while the emperor along with the rest of the army stayed behind guarding the rear and permitting them to follow them from the encampment and come upon Aleppo and instill those within the city with fear and force their city to come to terms, since the greater part of their soldiers had been cut down in flight? As we learned later, the people of Aleppo were eager for their city to surrender to the emperor under acceptable terms, even through all their youth wanted to fight, if the pursuing soldiers advanced. The soldiers were advancing in infantry order in hopes of pressing their just recent advantage over the Saracens to rid themselves of attack on the Roman palisade. Now by the indecision of the commanders of the army and the might of those Romans, the emperors and the commanders of the army got themselves greatly the worse, having sent their victories to ignoble ends and permitted the enemy to reach greater glory, since those in command at the time of the victories were not want to continue the pursuit of the enemy who made the lands of the Romans into their tributary and their grazing land so satisfying for their wants through our deficiencies.

Such was how these things came about. On returning to the palisade after the enemy had been staved off, the emperor decided to make Hierapolis into a theme and appoint it a strategos so that bit by bit it would become another Roman city and abode for Armenians, and so because of this he stayed there a while so as to little by little make it into just another Roman city and a dwelling place for Armenians so it would guard itself and also appointed as strategos Pharasmatius(30) Apokapes the bestes, who was from Armenia, and handed over the command of the land in order to follow up his opponents’ defeat and continue the contest. For as long as the Roman army had been encamped there, the Arabs had seemed to stay in their own land, but after it marched off straightaway against the fortress of Azas, they started to appear sporadically from a distance as is their custom attacking the rear of it many times or the beasts carrying food supplies, thereby aggravating the Romans by their raids and ambushes. Yet the emperor protected his camp with long-rang bowmen and targeteers and so in this way believed he could keep it defended and easily ward off the enemy’s advances until he could score another victory over them in open battle and so he set forth for the fortress of Azas with all his army and baggage, having learned from some people that that place had lots of water and was quite able to sustain his army’s water needs. As he drew near the place, at not a half an arrow’s shot from it, he saw that it was very strongly fortified standing upon the edge of a mountain surrounded by a pair of walls and rocks as though it had been fastened together by the hand of men with an impassable, rocky way up and little water there. What was there was not sufficient for a thousandth of the army. And so, he gave up on camping there and shifted his quarters to a place where he set up his encampment and water flowed more freely. On examining it, since he found it was not good to advance on the city from such a distance and set up his machines-of-war (night was about to fall and they needed to set up a palisade so that their standing structures should not be burned by the enemy) and seeing that winter was near its end and his opponents were fortified by boldness of virtue on their mounts, he got up and started to march from their to the boundaries of Ausonitis. In addition, he set fire to a large village called Katma, which had for a long time paid homage to the emir of Aleppo and made camp in another village called Terchala(31), where while the palisade was being set up with the emperor standing on the right on the riverbank shielded by companies of soldiers (The place offered regularity of rushing water, enclosed on each side by hills, the left of which the enemy was standing on the crest in safety) while the rest of the army was busy unburdening the beasts of burden and the rear of the army was sent out to wage war on the Saracens above them, two Arabs secretly came behind the crest riding their horses at full gallop and rushed up to the top of the hill where the encampment was and killed two infantrymen with their lances. The emperor was the first person of all to see them and called out ordering his soldiers to pursue, but they managed to make it back safely to their own camp due to their horses’ extraordinary fleetness.

Then after spending the night there not without conflict (The Arabs were loud unintelligible howls from outside the camp), we set out for Roman land, which was thus patterned after the frontiers having been previously ravaged and laid waste, though perhaps at one time it was fair and laden with a beautiful and great number of trees and olive trees, except if lest perchance we came upon some refuges very seldom remnants still guarding over that land, very few remnants guarding. We passed through many of these such places as we marched straight to Artach. This city was governed by a commander and guarded by a garrison and great number [κόμῃ] of many good men, and was not without its share in the raids. Having been taken beforehand by the Saracens, it had a garrison of them, who had kept them enslaved until then. Since it was very near Antioch, it permitted them to do it great and all sorts of harm and as such be a rival city and a place of opposition. Just as the emperor was getting ready to besiege it, the Saracens who had been entrusted with the garrison were seized with fear and escaped from there during the night. The emperor then stayed their a time directing works, erecting about it a palisade, setting its affairs in order, leaving it a commander and a garrison, setting aside provisions, and arranging for it to get all of the things it needed. Accordingly, the Romans began to see eye to eye with the enemy, recover their esteem, and unite in resistance, since the previous emperors since the wars from the time of Monomachos and those after him had been nothing other than show and mass gatherings, with this clear proof that on the whole the emperor was working to fix matters.

Since Antioch had been ravaged by raids and was gripped by a lack of food, fearing lest he get there and have to replenish it with his own food supplies, he decided not to go there. Then disregarding his own luxury, he marched through desolate places and got through the defiles and the passes by which Coele Syria is divided. With much toil he came to a city in Cilicia called Alexandron (This made it very difficult for the army to make camp in those places because of their narrowness, the cut of the rocks, and the continuousness of the cliffs) where he set up his encampment and the palisade. And so in this way he passed through that country, passed beyond the Taurus Mountains with all of his army, and came to Roman land. The soldiers that had gone on the expedition in general then met with iciness and an extremely cold storm, since they were coming out of warm places (It was around the end of the month of December), they felt its great bitterness, and at this time as well the horses, mules, and men who were not fleshy or well clothed died [also possibly 'froze'] from the freezing cold and cut a sorry figure on the road.

Then I myself escaped an inescapable peril near a narrow defile of the Taurus Mountains. The horse upon which I was riding exhausted by a lycoenteric illness [an intestinal illness] buckled down a little on his front legs caused me to get off him on the right side. I could not get off on the left because a great crag cut it off. As I was getting down from him, I jerked his rein so he spontaneously moved and darted off down the crag. Since I had remained on the right, I gave thanks to God for my deliverance from the peril and reported the miracle to many people since by some divine providence I did not remain at the back of the horse (he buckled down a little, though it would have been very easy to get back up), but got off quickly and did not go off with him over the cliff and get injured. Everyone stood divinely amazed at the news though I did not permit those men behind to pass any further, since that road permitted one person by its extreme narrowness to pass until another beast of burden was loaded down with me and the march went on.

While we were going to a village outside the pass of Podantus, called Typsarium, report surfaced that the strategos left in Melitene to guard Roman territory, who was cowardly and loath to administer the army, had let the enemy pass through the theme [πολιτείαν] of Amorium seizing, enslaving its inhabitants, and murdering an unspeakable number of men. Although their encampment was set up at the site of Chalke and he had his army gathered only a short distance at the fort of Tzamantus, he did not dare take it, attack it, or come to the aid of Amorium, because the Turks had come near Tzamantus as they were going home slaying many Romans who had gone out against them, while they shut up the others one most fortified parts of the city (32). The emperor was furious, since he could do nothing further about it because of the unfortunate bite of the winter, and so he left his mercenaries and his western troops to winter there and went with his body guards, Byzantines, and palace guards to the palace and entered into the capital near the end of the winter, since it was near the end of January then (33).

After spending some time dealing with city matters, conferring honors on some of the senators, dealing out the yearly gifts [i.e. philotimia] in senatorial honors and not even spending the Easter season in Byzantium, he crossed the straight and set sail to an imperial house called Erion feeling the urge to go on another campaign in the east and attack the Turks. Something unprecedented then happened, which made the emperor depart in haste. There was a Latin man who had come from Italy to the emperor, Crispinus by the name, who had been dispatched to the east to spend the winter there with the men of his race who had sailed and come with him. Deciding that the he had not been honored, as he desired by the emperor and gotten enough gifts, he decided to revolt and started to strip and rob the tax collectors he met with and other men and commit outrageous acts loathsome of a despot. He did not slaughter any Romans. On this account, by imperial injunction (the emperor had learned everything) many soldiers joined battle with him. Many men were killed by his sword. In the end, Samuel the vestarch called Alousianus(34) marched against him with a great army of the five western legions from the Armeniac themes, where they were spending the winter, and in the morning he attacked him while he was resting and relaxing as usual on Easter Sunday, but did nothing valorous and suffered very much. The soldiers fell upon their tents and fought with them teaching the Franks a lesson in treachery. The Franks steadfastly gathered themselves together and tried to defend themselves straightaway repelling the Romans from their encampment with not too much suffering. Then they swiftly mounted their horses since each of them were driven to and ready to and followed behind them killing many and taking others captive. And then the commander of the Latins sat down and delivered a not untimely or poorly said speech in which he condemned the Roman's impiety since on that great and wonderful day, which is the holiday of holidays, they had armed themselves against Christians, although the orthodox can not attack another nation on this day and insulted the sanctity of the resurrection. Yet he softly dealt with them and released deeming them worthy of sympathy. He even deposited the wounded in villages providing for their care reasonably.

When the emperor learned about these things, they made him eager to depart. At the time, he happened at the suburb of Melangeia (35), where little by little he was gathering together the army and went to Dorylaeum, while at the same time he forced me into his service though I did not want to come by honoring me with the honor of patrician. There in the course of his three-day stay, ambassadors came from Crispinus bring news of his profession of loyalty and his explanation for why he had resisted. He sought simply amnesty for what had happened since he had not wanted to go to war, but the Romans had forced him to by treacherously attacking him. He got his request since the emperor received this profession very graciously because of the nobleness of the man and his prospective usefulness in deeds of war and the battles. Before he had chanced on a great multitude of Turks and done great deeds by his hand. As the emperor was advancing from there after several days Crispinus met with him did many things befitting a servant and spoke with the emperor having brought only a couple of his own soldiers. The others he had left behind in the fortress he held of Maurocastrum [Black Castle], which is in a place in the Armeniacs situated high on a hill that is hard to take. He was then slandered to the emperor as plotting again something cruel and faithless after his own race (the Frankish race is faithless by nature) and that it was not by his choice, but due to his lack of companions he held back from attacking the emperor, so he was judged in all as ungracious and God-hating and sent away from the camp, unjustly accused, suspected due to his previous ill faith and his vehement accusation by an eminent Nemitzan. His companions on learning of this happening, set out from the fortress and marched on Mesopotamia wreaking much havoc there in raids.

After the emperor came to Caesarea with the army, he then went to Larissa, where report preceding report came that a body of Turks was pillaging and overrunning the land some distance from there, so he sent a part of the army against them accomplishing nothing only to welcome back the dispatched men in flight, as he was traveling the road in good order. On they reached a place to camp and for the emperor to set up the imperial tent, they did not place around themselves a trench or a palisade, but in the mass unpacking of luggage while the army was settling down, the enemy showed up holding the most defensible locations and the crests of the hills. Thus was what that place was like: the Romans held the flat land while the enemy surrounded them on the surrounding hills having secretly gotten there behind them. A cry went out and the emperor did not give himself up to rest, but ordered the war trumpet to be sounded and the soldiers were gotten in battle order though the rear had not yet arrived due its leisurely march in safety and protection bearing the supplies. When the standards were gotten ready, the army gathered together into phalanxes, and the emperor advanced with it, many of his opponents emerged, so the legions at the front, one legion called the Lycaonians and another from the western number, both of whom bolder than usual drove forward and forced the enemy to flight. As the emperor was advancing, the remainder of the army and the remaining body of the enemy gave way to flight like their comrades. When the Romans marched on at the backs of the enemy led on by mercenary unit of Scythians(36) and passed by those crescent-shaped bends [of the hills?], a company of Turks not few in number, which had been lying in wait unseen to the Roman camp, advanced. The Romans soldiers and the Franks above all left behind to guard the camp then met with them and fought in close combat and overcame them mightily turning them to flight, though not one the Roman legions came to the aid of the Franks until it was nearly over. In the meantime, the emperor returned from the pursuit, since evening was getting on and the battle had been joined in the afternoon, while the army quietly marched back and cared to the wounded foot soldiers because they expected further battle, since it had been announced by the scouts. On the following day, seated in public, the emperor looked down on the conquered enemy men and ordered them to be surrendered up to their final judgment, sparing absolutely no one not even the fine man who boasted command of them (his arms and baggage were very fine), although he announced he would put many of them up for ransom and give many in exchange for Roman captives.

The emperor spent three days in the encampment either because he was either truly satisfied or because he was getting cocky, thereby permitting the enemy great ease in their flight, so that they did not have to part with their plunder and were able to travel painlessly and in the open. When the emperor got up from there again, he started to pursue but the enemy crossed the Euphrates River. Since the emperor was encamped a distance of a day or more from Melitene, he began devising dishonorable and steep plans and revealed them to the army who were in agreement with them because it would mean the end of the expedition and the announcement of the march home. The emperor's designs held that since the enemy had gone too far and were able no longer to come to blows with the Romans and were completely uncatchable, it would be pointless to pursue, and so for that reason it was necessary to leave behind a part of the army to resist mightily, while the emperor returned home with the remaining force and sent each of them home while he returned to the capital so that the army could rest and recuperate to make war more fiercely the following year while the enemy commander was away.

When this decision was proclaimed, the emperor decided to consult the judges of the army. Summoning us alone before him in the afternoon, he shared with us his intent and sought our opinion of it. The other judges, truth as my witness (since what I am about to say I am neither softening nor am I elevating myself, while nor am I chasing after any praise from men since I am not conscious of any need for attention, need to be right, or any need for superiority, since I reckon my need to be amongst the most sensible men), those of my rank and association or rather company assented and agreed with his plans, while only I stood by in silence. The emperor noticing my silence asked of me how I stood with this. I did not want to give my opinion because, even should I give it, it would completely reject the decision agreed to by the greater part of them, though the emperor now with great persistence and unshakeable conviction exhorted me to speak my mind without fear taking God as my witness. So I set aside that and revealed straightaway to start with that this plan did not please me and proceeded to say that the enemy had not actually really suffered misfortune or change of the tide in the war. When night had swiftly fallen, it had save them, while halting the pursuit for three days had instilled them with fear. This was evident from the fact that there was no plunder left behind and that they had fought with us in the road, while the number of our prisoners-of war numbering about one hundred indicated that their army had not been visibly injured and so this defeat meant nothing to that nation and they could still enslave the neighboring cities. Quickly their soldiers would gather themselves and restore themselves in battle. And for this reason, if a contingent of Romans was to stay behind, it would be overcome at once by ignoble reasons and dispositions once separated from the emperor and the remaining soldiers, while the enemy would be awesomely emboldened. Furthermore, the Romans left behind would be infested with cowardice, outrage would follow, and the enemy would prevail over our lands, since the Romans had been instilled with fear, finding only them when they had seen the courage of their leader with them. Even if, they would be turned to flight be them, inescapable danger would overcome us, since the Turks would have no care to not overrun our lands and wreak an infamous victory finding our lines broken and scattered by concern for our own affairs. "And at the same time," I said, "O Emperor, to leave the enemy behind on Roman land while it is near the end of summer, would be to permit them the luxury and pleasure [to do as they wish], and though we might not suffer now, would we be able to prosper in the future? Why don’t we take the city of Chliat and the towns beneath by siege so that the soldiers can satisfy their want of plunder and take heart and instill the enemy with fear, while in addition these cities will enrich the Roman Empire instead of the enemy, the forces of the enemy will be mightily beaten back, the coming of Turks from distances will be halted, and they will find not a base there and provisioning station, but a fortress and as such the road through Mesopotamia become impassable for them."

After I said this to the emperor, it as though a seed in lush and fertile soil took hold and he abandoned his previous course and took that leading forward just until the Euphrates which he crossed over and forced the enemy to go back to their own lands. It seems they had been encamped about the banks of the Euphrates eagerly awaiting the emperor's retreat with hopes of a great expedition and plunder taking from the fall and capture of the said cities, but fate was not permitted to bring the Romans back to their previous misfortune by a prudent command. The emperor marched straight from there and came to Romanopolis from which the road leads towards Chliat through narrow mountain passes, but changed his mind and put his standards on the left, leaving the army wandering about, which advanced up the ordered road on the right until report making it go over to the road cut into by the emperor. Descending down some rough and precipitous roads we found the emperor encamped in a high up place ingloriously renewing his first plans to the worse of the Romans. He divided the army in two and gave the stronger portion to Philaretus(37), a man boasting in soldierly fame who lived a wretched and slandered life having fought that nation exceptionally, greatly made war on it, and disdained it naturally, not even keeping himself far from them, but taking command due to his love for gain and glory.

With this done, the emperor set out for the northern parts because there was found snow and freezing water, since by taking hold of them immoderately he might warm his body up a lot. For these reasons, he was forced to make his attack elsewhere and install a guard with the aim of resisting the enemy. He then left the war at hand to Philaretus, while he himself along with the men with him encountered no less difficulty. He passed through many narrow and impassible hills and brought the army remaining to him down to a place called Anthiae. This place is on a well-watered plain at the feet of great mountains enwrapped by hard spots and the way plunging down into the valley no less; it grows grass as well as grain and is as such a center rather a treasure of that land and a luxurious plain. After spending several days encamped there, the emperor he passed over the Taurus mountain range, called Muzurus(38) by the locals and came down into the land of Celesina(39) and crossed the second Euphrates River flowing by the part near the northern feet of the Taurus mountains, which divides the mountain range and Celesina as though a frontier(40). Here, after camping there some days, a report came in saying that the part of the army that had stayed behind had been utterly defeated by the opposing Turkish force in battle and lost many men, while what was left of them had sought refuge in the Taurus mountain range near where the battle had taken place and some men were wandering towards the camp, while no small number of others were to be expected. It was not false and Hesiod was true in saying, “Talk never wholly dies away when many people voice her: even Talk is in some ways divine." The Romans had been terrified by fear of the Turks and since they were cut off from the emperor and the rest of the army and weighed down by the enemy assaults and the tricks of war time display, so filled with terror, they uncourageously went off behind the emperor leaving the places that they had been entrusted to guard until little by little they came down to the said Anthiae where the enemy appeared from behind. With nothing brave or worthy of mention in mind, they took to disgraceful flight without even a fight and spread out all around the Taurus Mountains some by foot, others by horse coming to Celesina scattered with the enemy having taking hold of their baggage and a few of them who did not take flight as quickly(41).

All of these happenings thus caused a great stir in the imperial camp and for the emperor, first because of not a little melancholy at the defeat of their fellow soldiers and then because they expected their opponents to advance puffed up with pride at their victory able to make war on the remaining portion of the army having destroyed the mightier part. Their expectation was not far off the mark. It would have come to pass, had not they met with the extremely high, narrow, difficult to cross, precipitous, and army-scattering road, rendering it orderless ruining their horses’ hoofs. Such is what had happened to us. In addition, report of the emperor riddled them with fear. For these reasons, the attack of the enemy was halted and they started to retreat with their plunder towards the west passing above Melitene and crossing the Euphrates heading straight for the Cappadocian theme without check as they were accustomed to plundering anything they met with on the road and then attacking the city of Iconium with all of their forces. At that time, the city was very numerous and sizable with men, houses, great virtues, blessings, abounding as well in all sorts of animals.

The emperor remained in Celesina a while to receive the refugees into the encampment so the scattered men should not fall prey to the Armenians, since they had come up behind the enemy while they were turning back. Then something of a decision was reached between the soldiers and the commanders, although nothing was manifested against anyone, some of them fell at odds and made up their minds including myself due to my rashness and weakness that, except for the emperor, no Roman stood by the war, unless perhaps they had to fight amongst one another.

As the emperor was about to march his army through the town called Ceramum to the banks of the Euphrates until Melitene, I spoke out rashly against this as inadvisable, since it was not necessary for us to look after those parts which were already devastated and stripped of all their virtues by divers raids because of which we would meet with disastrous shortages of food and supplies. At the same time, it would take time to go through its narrow defiles, which one by one the men and beasts of burden would be forced to pass. I also said we should have a care for state of the themes that had not yet been ravaged and protect them from the outrages of the enemy. Having taken this advice, the emperor along with the army passed through Colonia, the Armenian themes, until Sebastea. There having learned that the Turks had advanced on Pisidia and Lycaonia and were planning to march on Iconium; he started to advance on their rear until the village-town of Heracleus. There on learning that the Turks had overrun the city, but had not dared to tarry there fearing the pursuit of the emperor, he sent a division of legions to Cilicia, which would be thrust at by the dux of Antioch Chataturius, a brave man who had made many previous examples of his valor, who the emperor instructed to go to Mopsuestia in haste and fight with the Turks passing through there, since the Armenians living in the mountainous areas of Seleucia had been ordered to assault the Turks and injure them after the local way in the narrow wars. Since the enemy was afraid to go home because the emperor was on campaign, they marched through the mountains of Seleucia and were cut down on the plain of Tarsus. There attacked by the Armenians they abandoned nearly all their plunder. However, the survivors though in a sorry state continued along the road trying to pass through all of Cilicia and come to the borders of Aleppo. Since the men sent by the emperor and the army of Antioch with their said commander had already joined together, they saw their opponents advancing in measurable numbers and decided to lie in wait for them near the city of Mopsuestia. As the time for their attack approached, on the pretext that they would not be scattered, they remained there gathered together near the encampment and failed to render for themselves a great victory. The enemy then, on learning from some prisoners of the gathering of Roman troops at Mopsuestia, did not tarry long and rest long in their encampment at Blatibadi, passed in the night beyond the Sarbandicus mountain, and approached the boundaries of Aleppo. So they remained without anything to do at Mopsuestia since they did not encounter the flow of the enemy they expected and the emperor was greatly angered when informed of this. Since he was dug in a little bit away from Claudiopolis in Seleucia having learned of the flight of the enemy, he started to retreat pressing on straight for the capital since fall was approaching leaving behind another body of men because other Turks were pillaging Roman territory divided in tribes and divisions assaulting and destroying what they met with. When the emperor went to Constantinople, the rest of the army went home. And so that year, the 8th indiction of 6578 (1069) ended during which the great church of Blachernae was burned to the ground.

When spring was about to start, the emperor planned to stay in the Queen of Cities and so he entrusted command of the army in the east to one of the most eminent of the Romans. Having decided beforehand on the protoproedrus Manuel Komnenos and honored him with the rank of curopalates, he made him general and commander of the army. This decision proved adverse and misfortunate for the Roman Empire.

And so, Manuel once appointed went off to perform his command and although he was young he did nothing immature or puerile. He made a great deal over the provisions of his army gathering together his forces and coming to Caesarea very mightily not only setting the affairs of the army in order but also looking after the war appropriately such that he would punish soldiers who had committed foul deeds and deal out fines for recklessness. In some battles, he proved victorious only extending and increasing his reputation. However, emperor when informed of this victory seemed to be pleased with it, but only pleased because no one could say anything against it (41). Yet, so that the siege of Hierapolis be relieved along with the lack of supplies, gripping the people within, he divided a large contingent of the army off from the rest, ordered it to head for Syria, and so in this way deprived the commander of his might. Next Manuel came to Sebastea along with his remaining forces and made camp near the city, when a mass of Huns came upon him and joined battle with him. There was a mighty battle in which the enemy gave only the illusion of fleeing, since such are their stratagems and battle methods and when the Romans had scattered in pursuit of them they suddenly flipped around and attacked capturing many of them and putting an even larger number to the sword, even capturing Manuel, the commander of the army himself. In addition, their camp was captured and plundered. If the nearby city had not saved the majority of them, then all of Roman youth as had gone on the expedition might have been lost.

When report of this reached the emperor, he was overcome by grief as well as those people who cared for Romans’ situation. The news of this first report had not yet sunk in, when another came announcing that the Turks had seized the city of Chonae and its famous temple [i.e. church] of the Arch-general famous for its wonder and its offerings and sated themselves with the murder and ransom of everything there drunkenly defiling the church, such that not even the caves, which the rivers flowing through carved out by means of the ancient stay of the Arch-general and a divine sign so that the flow of it became gentle and very smooth flowing, could protect and contrive to save the refugees from the danger, since the water rose pulling down and roaring covering utterly all of the refugees seizing even those on land. When this was reported, it caused us much dejection as though these misfortunes had happened due out of divine wrath, since it was not only the enemy but also the elements fighting against us. The emperor tried and struggled to set out with the soldiers about him, but he was prevented from doing so by his counselors, ignorance of the number of his opponents, and the confusion of the forces with the curopalates On this account, he remained unwillingly in the palace(42).

After some days had passed, another report reached the emperor and the Roman body. It said that the commander of the Turks, after waging war on our troops and seizing the army underhand, which had been bought for sums of money by people of that same race, was coming to the emperor only with the commander, more a dear friend to the emperor, than a commander of the Huns. What the report held then came to pass, since he went off taking with him the said commander of the army, who came to live in the capital abandoning his own people and chosen desertion without any set purpose. The cause of it was that the sultan, the ruler of the Persians, was hostile towards him as a deserter sent an army and a commander against him by whom he was seized by fear and made up his mind not so much to fly from danger than to flee to the Roman emperor. Such was what went through his mind as he was received and welcomed unharmed into the house of the curopalates saved by him (43). The emperor was not so easily disposed and would not have an audience with him only many days later. It was only with a gathering of senators beside him and the usual show of pomp that he received him in the chrysotriclinus one morning with the rising of the sun. At this time, everyone assembled with intelligence or greater sense raised his or her voices higher and starting saying what had happened to him was fitting. He was young, nearly dwarfish for his age, a Scythian by sight and graceless because this race is descended from the Scythians inheriting their poor habits and ugliness. The emperor bestowed upon him the honor of proedrus aiming to make him join in the expedition against the Turks.

While he was spending the winter in the capital, he enlisted soldiers. Just as spring was starting, he crossed the strait around about the day called the marking of Orthodoxy (44), during which heretics are distinguished as a race from the orthodox and the heterodox are place under anathema by the church, and came to the palace of Erion as it is a custom, having made the yearly philotimia called the roga to the great men of the Senate the day before this one.

When he was crossing the strait of Chalcedon, a dove not totally white but more black in appearance flew overhead the boat the emperor was crossing in and landed in his hands, though and he sent it back to the empress to remain about the lordly dwellings there contrary to custom. This seemed to be a symbol of departing, which did not give much unity and concord to those witnessing it, since some of them interpreted this as a sign for the better while others took it for the worse. In addition, the empress was been doubtful and in disagreement with the emperor while escorting him off and as such feuding with him from some spousal quarrels in addition to the pain due to her love for her husband who had crossed to make war. She spent some days more restraining him by glorifying him with a syntacterius oration and a trope of return before she finally let him go to the east with the customary sending off ceremony(45).

The emperor's crossing happened in a new and contrary to custom way, since the emperor did not lay anchor at the gates or an imperial dwelling, nor at Neacoma [New Village] or a spot for the imperial bodyguard or consulship, but instead disembarked at Helenopolis, where the imperial tent had been carried and sent up beforehand causing people to jest off the name of Helenopolis that it should be called to Eleeinopolis [piteous city] (46). For this, the emperor's way of going east from Erion to Helenopolis did not seem a good omen to the people practiced in such things. For what could seem less out of agreement with the name of the place than when imperial tent, after it had been set up, suddenly fell down lacking a wooden pole? However, men's usual stupidity then and poor practices prevented them from putting faith in what was evident and comprehending, instead letting them go on senseless of its meaning without taking action (47).

And so the emperor advanced and went further on east until he reached the so-called province of the Anatolics [the Anatolic theme] now rather than before treating the men about him with parsimony. He made them to camp on wheat fields, which were flowed along by a river choosing and instead stayed on an uphill and narrow village gladdened by homes with roofs over them and escaped having to set up a tent There a bad omen took place no less than the previous ones. Fire started somewhere in those houses where the emperor was settled and with a great bit of clamor burst out. Many people ran up together to extinguish the flames coming to the aid of the emperor's belongings including the emperor's horses, which had the finest things including precious arms, reins, and saddles and were becoming food and drink to the fire. They scarcely able to save one from fury of the flames. Other horses and mules half-burned rode up to the army providing nothing profitable, only testimony to the evil that happened at the capital and its symbolic meaning in it all.

However, the result of all this later came to pass. The emperor then crossed the Sangarius River by the bridge called Zombus(48) and began to gather together the rest of his forces who had been left behind and were all scattered about in the hills, tunnels, refuges, and in caves due to the already-said vehemence(49) of the barbarians. He selected the men as he wanted and sent off a great number of them then taking the road forward with better spirit again separating himself from his army enjoying the hospitality of his own homes, the welcomes of his own properties, and the arrangements of lavish houses. When the army crossed the Halys River, he himself did not cross with them then, but instead remained behind at a newly built fortress constructed at his command where he stayed for several days. Then he crossed to the province of Charsianum and ended his division from the army on his own properties. From here on, he was indivisible from the army, not going into Caesarea, but camping out with the army at the spring called Crya [Cold, i.e. Cold Spring]. This place is on the whole of great service to an army because its water is clear, drinkable, and very cold while it yields up thick forestry along with abundant grass convenient for a camp. It is covered by roses and lilies, with hills that calmly transition to one another such that it is a city-village so to speak and is recognized as a city of the fields through the multiple uses that can be made of it. There the emperor remained encamped several days since he had seen the country mercilessly ravaged by the soldiers and especially the mercenaries and foreigners with all of the plunder untimely seized and the food plundered as well, so stung at the heart, he dealt harshly with some of the so-called Nemitzi, who were previously called by in our narrative the Sauromati. However, they with their boldness, anger, and barbarian lunacy did not accept this and arose to avenge their own and agreed to at the best moment to drive off [or 'kill'] the horses carrying the imperial tent and the emperor himself. When their attack was perceived, a cry went up in the camp, which with the clamor of it all caused the emperor to make ready for war mounting upon his horse and trying to get the army ready for battle only to be astounded to find his own foreigners coming on the scene all in battle order. He made them subservient to him assigning them to the furthest away country for his own security giving them only this in retribution (50).

From there, he came to Sebastea and the areas before it pressing on eagerly to come to Iberia when he came upon two roads leading away to the theme of Colonia, so he decided to take the one on the left only to encounter the sight of many human corpses. For it was here the previous year the battle had taken place between the Romans lead by Manuel Komnenos, the curopalates, and the Turks in which the Roman army had been defeated. For the soldiers encamped there, this provided a compelling sight.

Passing day by day on that road, he came to Theodosiopolis, which had been abandoned and become inhabitant-less previously due to its nearness to the city of Artze, but whose city's good placement had caused its people to immigrate and settle there a great city for all sorts of business with Persia, India, and the rest of Asia, boasting a population not easily numbered. Theodosioupolis was resettled and fortified with a trench around it and walls due to un-hoped for Turkish neighbors due to whose raids the city of Artze had been massacred and captured. The emperor therefore remained there no small number of days ordering everyone to pile up provisions for two months since they were about to pass through an uninhabited country which had been trampled by those nations. Everyone did as they were ordered with especial zeal, while the emperor sent some Scythian mercenaries on a foraging and plundering expedition of Chliat having done this previously, then sending off some Germans called Franks along with their commander, a mighty man in battle, Russell by name. He then with the rest of the army marched up behind them and did not meet with the soldiers he had sent as he was approaching Chliat. However, since the year before the ruler of the Persians (sultan as he is called in their tongue) had taken the Roman city called Mantzikiert and garrisoned it with a fair amount of Turks along with Dilimiti [?], the emperor had decided therefore previously to besiege this city, strengthen it, and recover it for the Romans and then attack the other cities meaning Chliat lying not a very great distance away. Supposing that the enemy garrisoned at Mantzikiert was not capable of withstanding his assault, he divided off another large part of the army and entrusted command of it to one of his most eminent commanders, the magister Joseph Tarchaniotes giving him a body of foot soldiers not easily reckoned. The body of soldiers handed over to him was elite and unconquerable having hazarded and fought many battles and wars claiming victory, while in number they much outdid the soldiers under the emperor's command. In the preceding battles no such need had arisen for the Romans stationed with the emperor for his contingent so-called customarily the allagion to hazard and fight a battle; however, whereas the others had seized victory before, the companies hanging about the emperor remained devoid of battle glory trying to forget a flight from raging battle.

Tarchaniotes then taking command of those elite solders, as it was said, set out from there and got on the road for Chliat to aid the previously dispatched Scythians and Franks (it was reported that they had been beset with myriads of enemy soldiers) and at the same time protect the produce outside of the city so that it should not be seized by the Chliatians within and carried in so that when the emperor arrived their his army should encounter want of supplies spending time there besieging the city and the action take double the time since they would encounter starvation. This was what the emperor was concerned with when he divided his army up hoping to capture Mantzikiert quickly, as it happened, and set it in order in a short amount of time and then meet up again with his forces, while if they met with a battle inconceivably, he could easily summon them with speed runners since they were not a great distance away. His plans were drive the sultan back to Persia. For this purpose, his division of the army was not unreasonable and it was not devoid of strategic reasoning, unless something happened, or rather some divine, secret reason should make things turn out contrary and bring about an end to his plans, a withdrawal, and the sultan waylay the divided army in a short space of time unannounced and so foil his plans. Many people ignorant of the reason for the division of the army blame him, not for dividing the army out of fear, but they have some cause for it beyond us in their minds with no thought behind it.

When the emperor got to Mantzikiert, he ordered the encampment to be set up with nearly all of the baggage and a palisade to be erected as it is a custom, while he went with a select body of the army to espy the city for where it would be easy to make their assaults against the wall and bring up the siege towers. These were made from all sorts of and great wooden beams and could carry thousands of men no problem. He also corralled myriads of herds of cattle to feed the army. The enemy within the city raised the alarm, unsheathed their swords, and made ready their catapults, while the emperor riding along the wall with his shield returned to the encampment. The Armenian infantrymen then approached the acropolis wall making many assaults on it and seized it with a single shout of victory when the sun was setting in the west. The emperor was pleased with the happening though the ambassadors came from the enemy asking for sympathy, the concession of their own property, and to surrender the city to the emperor. He agreed to this and honored the ambassadors with gifts then sending an agent/man to take control of the city (51). However, the people within the city did not welcome them inside at that time lest something misfortunate befall their opponents during the night, so they decided to disregard and ignore the agreements they had made. For this reason, the emperor sounded the war horn and came forth from the encampment with all of the army and approached the city walls. The Turks were astonished by this and tried to make peace again pledging an even greater ransom sum and came forth from the city with their own baggage and bowed down on their knees before the emperor not with empty hands but with their swords in hand and the greater part of them approached him naked of all panoply. At this time, I myself was present and did not advise the emperor to appear so simple without even a breast plate when he met them between the dead men and those filled with boldness and stupidity.

Something else happened as well, which revealed the emperor's justice since he meted out unequal and unsightly punishment. One of the soldiers was accused of having stolen a Turkish mule and was brought before the emperor in bonds, who meted him out punishment beyond his crime ordering that he was not to suffer a monetary penalty but the cutting off of his nose. The man begged and begged, he offered up everything of his, and even called on the revered icon of much revered Virgin Mother of God of Blachernae, which usually accustoms pious emperors on campaign as an unconquerable weapon, but the emperor could not be swayed by pity even by the inviolability of the divine image, which saw everything and was taken away when the poor wretch had his nose cut off letting out a great cry and gasping deeply. From this moment on, I knew great divine retribution was in store for us.

And so he lead the Roman army into the city, installed a commander there, and then returned to the encampment honored with triumphal and victorious acclamations. On the following day, as he was about to ratify the treaty, provide the people within the fortress with support, and head off for Chliat, a report came announcing that the enemy had attacked the servants carrying out the soldiers’ plunder throwing them into utter confusion and overpowering them. In addition to this, another report had preceded that making the emperor think that one of the sultan's commanders had been entrusted with only a section of a force and had attacked the herdsmen in Roman service, so he dispatched the magister Nicephorus Bryennius to repel them with an ample force, who standing at the front of his army engaged in skirmishes and combat on horseback without much precision (they fought with each other in small parties). In the chaos which followed, many Romans were wounded due the Turk's long shooting range, while others fell in battle (including even the ones more strong than others who gave us our edge when they boldly clashed with the Turks and stood against the men coming upon them in close combat) until the said commander seized by fear sought out another force from the emperor. The emperor condemned his cowardice (he did not actually know the truth) and did nothing to aid him instead assembling his soldiers together and publicly speaking to them about the war contrary to custom speaking with rough words. In the midst of his declamation, a priest interpreted the Bible (52). In regards to it, some people had it in their hearts that what was revealed to him would shed some light on what wag going on. That I myself was in that boat, it need not be said. What the Bible revealed here in short was, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you, because they do not know I was sent...However, a time is coming when every person who kills you will worship God (53)." Almost immediately, we started interpreting this to mean a struggle, which turned out not to be false interpretation of the divination (54). While the battle was still in progress, the emperor sent off Basiliaces, the magister and catepan of Theodosiopolis, along with some local soldiers since the rest were with Tarchaneiotes at Chliat. He himself took part in the skirmishing aiding Bryennius for a while. With his soldiers gathered together behind him following, he undertook to be among the first in battle and so started off pursuing his opponents who gave flight. Bryennius followed him with the army, then turned off by pre-concerted signal ordering the men about him to halt in Basiliaces’ folly and left him with his followers to pursue them without check a great distance. When he got to the enemy palisade toting his arms on foot since his horse had been seized, he was surrounded and they took him captive (55).

When this news reached the emperor and the army, they were instilled with fear and foreboding of danger since the wounded had to be brought back in litters and were afflicted with grievous wounds. The emperor was forced to march out with the rest of the army into plain sight of their attackers ready to fight should battle be given. He stood upon the crests of the tall hills until the late afternoon though he did not see any opposition on the Turks' part (the Turks with knavery and inventiveness by design and fabrication for victory were keeping away), so he returned to the encampment just as the sun was setting. However, then in a stratagem the Turks came up from behind and surrounded the Scythians and the vendors outside the encampment attacking furiously letting off intelligible cries and showers of arrows bearing down upon them with their horses slaughtering numerous men and causing peril. At this, the men bearing down their attack were forced to go inside the palisade. They forcefully entered in en masse fleeing from the pursuit each man for himself thereby causing the men within the camp to fall into confusion supposing that their opponents had fallen upon them and that the entire encampment along with their baggage had fallen prey to them. It was a moonless night not permitting any distinction between the fleeing and the pursuing, while some joined with the opposing army and the Scythian mercenaries, who resemble overall the Turks, had their loyalty put it doubt. Then it was truly terrible all of the terrible fright, ill-boding talk, indeterminate noise, unintelligible sound of striking, and all of the confusion and peril. Anyone would long to die rather than see such a moment as this. That one not witness it, one would reckon it fortunate and deem fortunate he/she did not see such a moment.

However, while the Romans were in all of this distress, the enemy was not able to break within the palisade because they were hesitant, the danger of it, and because they were fighting amongst themselves over it. They did not retreat, but remained all night long surrounding the roads into and around the Roman encampment loosing arrows and vexations making their howls heard in every quarter instilling fear of them making us spend all night with open and sleepless eyes. For who could go to sleep with danger just a scimitar away?

Not on the following day did the enemy stop riding about and their call to battle in addition to eagerly taking possession of the river flowing out of the camp to beat the Romans with thirst. On that same day, a Scythian contingent under its commander named Tamin deserted to the enemy(56) causing no small upheaval to the Romans as all the remaining soldiers of that nation became subject to suspicion since they because of this seemed in cahoots with the enemy and about to join with them on their side of the battle. Some of the foot soldiers also marched out with some archers and killed many Turks causing them to leave the encampment alone. The emperor wanted then and there to end the battle with hand-to-hand combat and resistance, but since he was waiting on his soldiers away at Chliat, who were not easily numbered and practiced in the pyrrhic dance [i.e. experienced in war], he had to forego this combat. When he realized that something was stopping them from coming, in despair of their aid, he decided therefore on the following day to march out with his men and zealously give battle. His hope was that they would just be late coming on the following day(57), since he was ignorant that their commander on learning the sultan was approaching the emperor had set out with his men and fled ignobly through Mesopotamia to Roman territory, the cowardly man not even sending a message to his master or doing any befitting.

At any rate, the emperor made ready his troops for battle on the morrow and arranged their positions about him and was still seated in the imperial tent when I gave counsel to him to put aside his suspicion of the Scythians and bind them under oath to himself. He took my counsel and immediately put me in charge of doing so. My plans were to bind them under the rule of their fathers making them keep to their pledges to the emperor and the Romans without treachery. I did not fail to hit the mark with my plans, because none of them was associated with the enemy in this war.

In the midst of all this, while the soldiers were being arranged in their ranks and lines and mounting upon their horses, ambassadors came from the sultan seeking peace between the two of them. The emperor welcomed them and spoke to them after the manner of ambassadors, though he did altogether receive them very warmly (58). Yet he did assent to them and give them the sign of obeisance so that by his exhibition they might return to the sultan unharmed carrying tidings that the sultan might assent to. For what he sent, induced by the hopelessness of the situation was that the sultan would leave the place and make camp further away from his encampment, while the emperor would set up camp at that place where the Turks had had their encampment and would come to terms with him. He would secretly through a token of victory give victory to his opponents, as those in the know had agreed to, since it ought not take a battle to remove the token from himself to the enemy(59).

From here, our account becomes adverse because of the irksomeness and exceedingly shamefulness of the misfortunes as well as the most terrible fortune that befell the Romans.

The ambassadors had not yet departed when some of the men closest to the emperor persuaded him to renounce the truce since it wronged their work and betrayed rather than helped their interests. They said the sultan was afraid that he did not have a force sufficient enough and to wait for the men coming up behind him and seized the moment with the pretence of peace and so defeat the force. This caused the emperor to go through with the war. The Turks were to effect peace, but the emperor sounded the war trumpet and so marched out to battle miscalculating. Report of this astonished his opponents. They put on their arms and drove the worst part of the army to the back while they at the front gave only an illusion of resistance. For the most part, they took flight that the Romans all-arranged in their lines, order, war positions took note of. They were pulling back, so the emperor pursued behind them with all the army until it was late in the afternoon, when since the emperor could not catch the opposing force and he realized that the encampment was bare of soldiers and defenders because there were not enough troops to leave behind there with the most part of his men already out in the field, as it was said, he decided not to continue the pursuit any further lest the Turks should form their lines and attack his unguarded camp. Furthermore, he perceived that if he continued the pursuit any further, night would fall upon him while he was heading back and then the Turks might backpedal and begin shooting on them from behind. For these reasons, he ordered the imperial standard to be turned signaling to return home. However, the soldiers at the front of the phalanxes seeing the turning of the imperial standard took it to mean the emperor had fallen in defeat. Many of them readily believed what one of his kinsmen, the cousin of his step-son Michael(60), who was involved in a plot against him beforehand, spread amongst them swiftly taking his own men (by the magnanimity of the emperor he had been entrusted with no small number of soldiers) and fleeing back to the encampment. The soldiers nearby imitated him taking flight one after the other. And so, the emperor seeing the unexpected flight from the battle of those men including even his own men, as natural, started trying to call them back. Nobody was there to hear him. The enemy soldiers standing upon the crests of the hills witnessing the Roman’s sudden mischance sent word to the sultan of the happening and urged him to turn about. Then and there he turned about and gave battle to the emperor suddenly who commanded the men about him not to give way or get soft and defended himself mightily for a long time. There was noise all around, aimless running about, and no one could say precisely what was happening. Some people were saying that the emperor was resisting mightily with the soldiers who remained behind with him and turning the barbarians to flight, some people announced he had been killed or captured, while others said other things and pronounced a victory averted on both sides until many of the Cappadocians started to come up there in bands of men. Even that I myself amongst the fleeing had to fight many opponents yielding in retreat of the defeat, let other people remark. After that, many of the imperial cavalry returned with the cavalry having not seen the emperor only to be asked what had happened. It was almost like an earthquake, the lamenting, the grief, the irrestrainable fear, and the clouds of dirt until in the end the Turks surrounded us all over and each took flight thinking only to save himself trusting in his own impulse, zeal, or strength. Our opponents pursued us killing some, taking some captive, and trampling others underfoot. It was incredibly painful and beyond all grief and lamentation. What could be more piteous than the flight and defeat of the entire imperial army by inhuman and harsh barbarians, the emperor surrounded by barbarian soldiers, and the seizure of the emperor’s, his generals’ and the soldiers’ tents by those men while witnessing the entire Roman army in chaos and realizing that the empire had fallen in a moment?

Such was what happened to the rest of the army. As for the emperor beset by enemy soldiers having no easy lot but experienced as a soldier and a warrior facing many perils, he mightily fought the soldiers closing in about him and killed many of them until in the end he was wounded by a blade in the hand and toppled from his horse by arrows though still he fought on on foot. Yet towards the evening, he was captured and taken prisoner, alas the grief of it! That night, the same as many others he slept on the earth dishonorably and in agonizing pain, washed all around with tens of thousands of unbearable swells of men by the considerations and the vexations before his eyes. On the following day, the capture of the emperor was announced to the sultan (61) providing him immense joy and inspiring him with distrust, thinking how truly great and beyond measurement it was to have defeated the emperor and taken him captive. Thus the Turks with humanity and with good sense received their victory neither boasting as men are want to when coming upon good fortune, nor attributing it to their own might but offering it all up to God since they had received a victory greater than their own strength. For this reason, when the emperor was brought before the sultan in the cheap garb of a soldier, he again was in doubt and sought testimony if it was him, but when he was informed by other men and the ambassadors that had gone to him that it was the emperor of the Romans standing before him(62), he rose up straightaway and embraced him, "Do not fear", he said, "O emperor, but be of good cheer, since you will suffer no bodily harm and shall be honored worthy of the excellence of your majesty. Foolish is he who does not reverence the unexpected fortunes he is given (63)." Then he ordered a tent be allotted for him and the appropriate care and immediately made him a companion at his table and one of his intimates, not seated at beside him the table, but a next to him enthroned at the head of the table and honored him as though he was of the same faith. He spent two days in this way chatting with him comforting him on his change of fate in life with words and distractions. In all, he spent eight days like that exchanging many words with him, not even using a single cutting word on him only reminding him of errors in advancing his army, when the judgment of God justly and impartially decides between men. For not only others, but also a conquered emperor, he can decide might be conquered, if he does not respect the law of God with his enemies using a natural and fair disposition, since the all-seeing eye does not lend its might to the arrogant, but to the humble and sympathetic, since lacking respect for other people is as Saint Paul says contrary to God. In a discussion with the emperor, the sultan the sultan asked him, "What would you have done if you had taken me prisoner?" Without any dissimulation or flattery, he replied, "Know that I would have inflicted many blows to your body." "However", he said, "I will not imitate your harshness and severity." They stayed there together for the said number of days and drew up treaties and terms of peace and even agreed on a marriage between their own children with the sultan showing great parting pomp when they took leave of one another and freeing him with a great embrace and appropriate honor to return to his own empire with as many Romans as he asked for and ambassadors from amongst his own men (64).

Many of the Romans first started to flee to the walled city of Mantzikiert and occupied it. As the emperor was beginning his march home, some of them fled leaving it by another road in the night. Of them, some of them fell to the enemy, while others sought refuge on their own property. The emperor first went down with the army to Theodosiopolis(65), where he was received very generously, and after spent several days there nursing his hand, resting, recuperating, renewing the Roman train, and manufacturing success for the coming march on Roman lands. Setting out from their with the imperial train and escort, he passed through Iberian villages catching up with a couple of soldiers fleeing from the battle, who he joined with him and the soldiers that had been free with him. The rest of the number with him was collected from local people neighboring the villages and cities there. He was also accompanied by the sultan’s ambassadors who provided him with supplies.

We heard this report with our own ears when we had gotten to Trebizond planning to make the sea passage, believing it at the time to be impossible and unbelievable, so we took the sea road without turning back, having hired out several local skiffs. At the imperial court were gathered together some of the chief men of Senate, who had unexpectedly fled the danger like us. Others of them had been cut down in the course of the war and the flight among whom were Leo the ὁ ἐπὶ δεήσεων, a most illustrious man in both reason and judgment, the magister Eustathius, and the first asecretis Choirosphaktus. The protosvestes Basil Maleses, who bore news to the emperor and was in the office of logothetes of the waters, who excelled before many people in reason and experience, was also taken.

Up until here our account has been unconfused and without any, one part sticking out but gone on fairly evenly, even if there have been difficult, wretched explanations. From here, who would wish to narrate the multitude of difficulties that came to pass? The matters at hand were not only not easy for us, but also exceedingly difficult because of the great distastefulness of the happenings.

And so, the emperor marched from the east to the west until Colonia. Then after he had gotten within Melissopetrius, which is a castle situated upon a hill, he began to meet with misfortune. Since his counselor and first in the commanding of armies, the proedrus Paul, who the emperor had summoned from the catepanate of Edessa in the war against the Persians, he found in Theodosiopolis acting as its governor because the duke had been taken along with the emperor, and since everything seemed in order to him, Paul had shirked his duties and went to the Queen of Cities in the night learning of happenings and the Augusta’s decision (66). For she, on giving up on the release of the emperor from captivity, had sent for the brother of her first husband and emperor, the Caesar John, and his two sons, one of whom, Andronicus, was newly come in flight from the expedition, and dispatched orders to all the provinces commanding them to have absolutely no recourse with Diogenes or give him any of the imperial obeisance and honor due. However, the Caesar, on coming to the city along with his two sons and meeting with the empress in the palace, found her will turned against the disinheriting and pursuit of her husband. Because of this, they proclaimed her first-born son, whom she had had through her union with Ducas, emperor and despot, enthroning him on the imperial throne in the chrysotriclinus and handing over to him the office of monarch. As for the empress his mother, they deposed her with great vehemence and put her in a boat and sent her off in exile near the eastern strait, which the people of the city call Stenos [Narrow Way] because of its characteristics, installing her in the monastery she founded there called Piperude adorned in black with shorn hair enrolled in the monastic legion [i.e. she became a nun]. (67)

Diogenes advanced until the Armeniac theme, where he was informed of the orders about him, and that he had been disinherited by the citizens of the city and the emperors, so he set up camp there near a place called Docia. The Caesar and his newly enthroned nephew then set everything about as they wanted it bringing over to his cause the senators with honors and publicly speaking to the people in the forum [τοὺς τῆς ἀγορᾶς] saying that by God’s choice his father‘s empire belonged to himself and giving them high hopes with philanthropic promises, and so thus it was that they planned to send an expedition against Diogenes. As commander-and-chief of the army, they selected one of the Caesar’s sons, Constantine by name and protoproedrus by rank, and handed over to him experienced soldiers and sent him away from the city in haste. He also collected other soldiers from the provinces and added them to his own army by imperial letters, and thereby made a formidable force with which he set up camp next to Diogenes’ refuge of Docia. The greater part of the Franks then deserted to Diogenes because they expected him to prevail. After that, there were some transitory clashes between the two sides, so Diogenes decided to fight them man to man and free himself of the opposing soldiers thinking it would do him no harm. Since the emperor had summoned many Cappadocians with heralds and letters, who were commanded by the proedrus Theodore Alyates, a man distinguished in wars and fantastic to behold, who stood out from many by his height and bulk and had served capably in many wars, Diogenes seemed to have the upper hand over his opponents and would soon be able to set out swiftly from the fortress of Docia and march for the land of Cappadocia, where he had originated from. However, the soldiers of the emperor in Constantinople had unexpectedly received a contingent in the night and so they did not discern themselves to be much the less in superiority. For an allied force had reached dispatched from the Queen of Cities commanded by that Frankish ally, Crispinus, who Diogenes had removed from the expedition for mutiny and sent in exile to Abydus, but whom the emperor in his place, Michael, had summoned from exile and showered with beneficence and honors so making him loyal to him. This man was very skillful in battle and very stout, if ever there was a man, as shown by the trial of his own reputation by his past brave deeds, so he instilled the soldiers with heart at the hour of war’s advance. For this reason when Diogenes set out from Docia, they appeared before him bearing their standards held aloft. Alyates charged, having gathered together many of his soldiers, and joined battle with them. However, the soldiers assembled against them were mightier, especially after Crispinus called out that he was there to the Franks in their mother tongue, and so Alyates’ men started to flee in disorder. Some of them died by arrows, while tons of them had their eyes put out by him in an excruciatingly painful manner by which their faculties of sight were put out with iron tent poles. What pained the soldiers so much about this were the notability of the man’s family and his nobleness of birth.

Diogenes when he got wind of this was deeply distressed, yet he led the rest of the army off to the land of Cappadocia. He ascended into a fortress thus named Tyropoeum, situated upon a defensible hill, and sent out summons to soldiers in all parts to come to his aid. When the catepan of Antioch, named Chataturius who was descended from Armenians, was dispatched by the emperor of Byzantium and ordered to make war on Diogenes, he came to Tyropoeum with a great force of cavalry and infantry men, but he felt pity for Diogenes’ plight, since he had received favors from him in the form of rule over Antioch, so he united with him and joined his side, depriving the soldiers, who had been ordered by the emperor to join with him in the fights against Diogenes, of their horses and other equipment and driving them away from there naked. After remaining there with the emperor and his soldiers a short time, he set off through the land of Cilicia, there to pass the winter, since fall was nearly over, and also to collect another force of men sent by the sultan, and then return after the appointed time.

In actuality, they chose the inferior course and ended up only hurting themselves. After the flight of Diogenes in the first battle with Alyates, Constantine returned to the capital and all of his army was scattered about as winter was nearing, and so it would have been easy for Diogenes’ men to invade Roman land with his army as far as Pisidia, Isauria, and Lycaonia, and also the land of Paphlagonia and Onoriada, and force all of them to submit to him, and then advance on Bithynia, and so hinder very easily the soldiers from Byzantium coming to assemble against him and make war against worthy of mention and deed. For the western soldiers had sworn a faithless oath against him because of how they had previously made oaths that they would never agree with the people against him…[he] now not having planned well by boundless evils and dolorous...(68) matters. And so, he invaded the land of Cilicia, which has very difficult passes due to the Taurus mountains, and remained in the land as though imprisoning himself by remaining there and not proceeding forth, since in doing so he provided ease for the soldiers arrayed against him to assemble and enlist. In addition, another of the Caesar’s sons, the protoproedrus Andronicus, was sent off against him and appointed domestic of the East, who got all of his soldiers all-equipped and armed and gave them their pay making them his men through and through being joined by Crispinus. Thus having united all of his forces together, he started to advance against Diogenes marching through the land of Cilicia and avoiding the usual pass called Podantus invading that the land through that of Isauria, which is not very far distant from the city of Tarsus. The defiles of the mountains in Cilicia are very defensible since they are difficult to pass, rough, uphill, and very narrow, so they make it for no good road for an advancing army. Because of this, if some of Diogenes’ men would have held the high ground and archers been set atop them, Andronicus’s army would never have been able to get through these, if not fear had caused the soldiers to flee. With this neglected, Diogenes’ situation became perilous. When Andronicus’s army descended into the plain, Chataturius attacked them. Not for many an hour had it happened that the Roman forces had outdone themselves in magnitude and valor. But then Chataturius fell from his horse and was taken captive while fighting on foot and brought before Andronicus naked and pitiful in his present fate expecting further evils. As for the others, they fled all together to the walled city of Adana, in which Diogenes was dug in, and so a siege followed for that city. The Romans with Andronicus soon set siege to the city and put those within it in no little agony due to a lack of supplies. In time, they began to discuss terms with one another until it was agreed that Diogenes would to renounce the throne, to renounce his hair, and thus spend the rest of his life as a monk.

With this agreed, a short time later he emerged from the city clad in black and weeping at his plight, coming across to many as bitter and ungovernable and to those who saw him as fearful and pitiful, reckoning the uneasiness of his situation, which had changed so suddenly and turned so quickly to the opposite. Everyone there had gone on campaign with him many times and been a soldier celebrating his great might and hoping to approach him, accompanying him from Syria to Adana at his side as imperial servants. They were mute with grief and seemed struck dumb standing there recounting their previous good fortune, their present ill fortune, and how it had come to this. After the return of their commander had passed their minds(69), the army began the march home, and Diogenes was sent off in the paltry attire of a monk, through those villages and cities through which he had once gone with recognized as equal of the gods with imperial armies. He made the march up to Cotyaeum in agony (he was ill with intestinal troubles, which were said to have been slipped him by his enemies with hemlock) where he was held prisoner by his escort, until word came as to was be done with him from the emperor (70). However, several days later, a decision more cruel and more shameful than all of them came for the man, who had been so misfortunate, commanding that his eyes be put out immediately.

What say you, Your Majesty and those men with you furnished with profane will? Did the man wrong any eyes by giving his own soul for the good of the Romans and opposing the most war-like nations with a stout force, when he could have remained in the palace free from danger and put off the fears and burdens of a soldier? He who even his enemy paid respect to by receiving him warmly and giving him words and distractions and as though he was a legitimate brother setting him, this captive, beside him on a throne and as though a good doctor allayed his pains and put to the burning flame the grief with these consolations, that the sultan recognized his victory has been gotten justly by a testing God and received this man and showed to him a bounty of prudence and forbearance. What have you ordered, Your Majesty? That he be deprived of the light and God-given perception of sight? Even after he has taken up the power of your father in law and fact, renounced imperial rule and given it to you, taken up ragged garments instead of the purple, adopted the solitary life and assigned himself to everything earthly, bound himself to the spiritual persuasion, the alleviation of pain, and the weak, renounced it all, weakened and maltreated, been broken as the reed and covered his eyes and face with showers of tears? In this and that, might you not be persuaded especially by the greater part of them and the angelic habit be of some intercession to you, but, you, with anger and lust for imperial rule are lusty and insatiable of the changes in the scale not even paying any respect to the [angelic] habit, nor the tit of your mother which his sons and your brothers have shared in (71). The eyes of the Titans and Cronus are on you and will render your fortunes the same evil.

So much we have said in a divergence from our main narrative out of woe as a morsel of a tragedy (72). When that horribly evil and profane order came, a second struggle again about his soul, fear, and inconsolable turmoil overtook him in these misfortunes. He groveled prayers of penitence at the feet of the archbishops and asked them to help, as was their ability, calling out rashly with distressed and unbearable contrition. The archbishops assembled there, Chalcedon, Heraclea, and Colonia (73) tried to assuage him. He reminded them of their oaths and the retributions of the divine. But they, even though they wanted to help him, weakly as cruel, savage, and unswayable men took him and lead him as though a sacrificial offering on to the slaughter. They shut themselves up within the city, which caught many people's attention and caused them to utter continuous prayers seeing the openness of the archbishops, and sent him off into a small room entrusting a Jew unschooled in such things to put out his eyes. They bound him in four parts, and had many men lean upon a shield on top of his chest and belly, bringing forth the Jew to attack his eyes with an iron rod in an excruciatingly painful and cruel manner, while he let out a gasping cry from below and roared like a bull with no one to pity him. Not just once did he have to endure this punishment being carried out, but three times did he, the murderer of God’s sire, dip the iron rod into his eyes his health was broken and his own faculties of sight were gone forever. His eyes became soaked with blood, a piteous, moving, uncontrollable, and sad sight to those who saw it, laying there half-dead, already sick with disease. Then he proclaimed to everyone that he had acted, not for imperial glory or eternal fame, but rather for the good of the Romans. From there he was lead in a paltry habit to the Propontis, dragged along as though he was some putrid corpse with his eyes gouged out, his head and face swollen, and worms falling off from thence(74). A couple of days later, he ended his life in excruciating pain, having confessed his sins before the end (75), and was buried on the height of the island of Proti, where he had built a new monastery. He was extravagantly buried by his wife, the previous empress Eudocia, the mother of the emperor, (She had asked her son’s permission to go to that island and spend an appropriate amount on his burial). He left behind a memory for posterity beyond the bounds of Job’s misery. That marvelous story has been left behind for everyone of how, when he went through so many trials and unparalleled evils, he did not utter any curse or mean-spirited thing, but gave thanks constantly even asking for more time of misfortunes and said he would be happy in so suffering them having taken the course of worship more arduous.

Having as such grievously ended his life and provided great consolation to people undergoing trials (how that person would be tried could never equal his sufferings), he was succeeded on the throne by his stepson Michael, who proved a moderate ruler and was reckoned an old man before his years because of how laid back and gentle he was(76)(77)

Note: The notes for this text as well as the bibliography due to the constraints of Blogger are available through a separate post here.