Bolcanus meanwhile, who was very guileful, at once opened negotiations for peace with the Emperor and sent him the hostages he had demanded. The Emperor lingered on in those parts for a year and two months, and then he was informed that Bohemund was still staying about in Lombardy and as winter was already setting in, he dismissed all the soldiers to their homes and himself returned to Thessalonica. Whilst he was journeying to Thessalonica, the first son of the prince John Porphyrogenitus was born at Balabista and a little girl was born at the same time. The Emperor attended the services of the commemoration of the Proto-martyr Demetrius in Thessalonica and then returned to the Capital.
Here the following incident occurred. Nearly in the middle of the Forum of Constantine there was a bronze statue looking towards the East standing on a conspicuous purple pillar and holding a sceptre in its right hand, and in its left a sphere fashioned of bronze. This was said to be the statue of Apollo, but the inhabitants of Constantinople used to call it Anthelius, I believe. But that great one among kings, Constantine, the father and master of the city, changed its name to his own, and called it a statue of the Emperor Constantine. Yet the name given originally to the statue persisted, and everybody called it Anelius or Anthelius.
Suddenly a very violent southwest wind arose, blew this statue off its pedestal and hurled it to the ground, the sun was then in the sign of the Bull. Most interpreted this as a bad omen, especially the Emperor’s ill wishers; for they whispered that this accident portended the Emperor’s death.
Bring forth living creatures
But he said, “I know only one Lord of life and death, and do not believe for a minute that the fall of an image can cause a death. For come, tell me when a Pheidias or any sculptor by hewing stone produces a statue can he bring the dead to life or bring forth living creatures? and, if he can, what will be left for the Creator of all things ? For ‘ It is I that will kill and I will make ahve,’ He says, and not the fall or the erection of this or that statue.” And indeed he always referred everything to the great providence of God.
V And now a fresh potion of ills had been mixed again for the Emperor; this one was not prepared by ordinary people, but certain men, very proud of their courage and brilliant descent, who breathed murder, plotted against the imperial life. And at this point of my history I stop to wonder how it came about that the Emperor was surrounded by such a crowd of dangers. For there was nothing and no quarter from which agitations did not arise against him.
Read More about Domestic Conflicts part 16