After seeing Panucomites and hearing from him the message sent by the Emperor, the Babylonian read the letter and immediately freed the captives from their bonds and had them brought out of prison. However he did not grant them absolute liberty but handed them over to Panucomites to conduct to the Emperor and this without accepting even a farthing of the money that had been sent. Whether this was because he did not consider the sum sufficient for the ransom of so many men or whether he was anxious to avoid the imputation of corruptibility and did not wish to appear to have sold them for a price, but to have conferred a pare and genuine favour on the Emperor, or whether he aimed at further rewards, God alone can, say.
Food except bread and water
When the Emperor saw these men arrive, he was overjoyed and marvelled at the barbarian’s decision; he questioned them ndnutely about all that had befallen them and learned how they had been kept in prison for a very long time and many months without ever once seeing the sun or being freed from their chains, and besides this they had remained all that time without tasting any kind of food except bread and water. In pity for their sufferings the Emperor shed a bitter tear and at once shewed them much kindness, giving them money, providing clothes of all sorts, conducting them to the baths and endeavouring in every way to help them recover from their ill-treatment.
The Counts were delighted at the kind way they were treated by the Emperor, they his former foes and opponents, who had broken their promises and oaths to him, and they appreciated his forbearance towards them. After some days he sent for them and said, ” For the future I give you permission to stay as long as you like in this city with us. But if anyone of you has a longing for home and wishes to return thither, he can start on his homeward journey without let or hindrance, after taking leave of us, and in addition being well provided with money and every other necessary for the journey.
I simply wish to give you permission to go or to stay and to do what you like according to your own judgment as free men.” For some time already, as I have said, they had received great attention from the Emperor and were reluctant to leave him. But when, as before mentioned, Bohemund reached Lombardy and was busy gathering together larger armies than his former ones, and was going round to all the towns and villages decrying the Emperor and loudly proclaiming him a pagan who was assisting the pagans with all his might-the Emperor on hearing this gave the aforementioned Counts lavish presents and sent them off home.
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