Domestic Conflicts part 20


So he sailed with the other Dukes and kept a careful watch on the intervening straits from Valona; he placed scouts on the ridge of the hill called Jason to keep a lookout over the sea and watch for the ships. A Frank who had just crossed from Italy assured them that Bohemund was on the very point of starting. On being informed of this, the Contostephani who shrank with dread from a naval battle with Bohemund (and were indeed terror-stricken by the mere thought of it) pretended they were ill and must therefore go to the baths.

Landulph, commander of the whole fleet, who had a long and varied experience of sea-craft and of naval battles, kept exhorting them to be continually on their guard, and to expect Bohemund’s arrival. But the Contostephani, when leaving for Chimara to take the baths, left the man called the second Drungaire of the fleet with the monoreme Excussatum on watch near the promontory Glossa which is not very far from Valona. And Landulph remained at Valona with a suitable supply of ships.

Arrangements the Contostephani

IX After making these arrangements the Contostephani on their side went off to take the baths, or so pretended. Bohemund on his side arranged twelve pirate-vessels around his own, all biremes, with a large number of rowers, who by the regular beat of their oars made a loud, echoing noise. In a circle round this fleet he placed merchant ships on either side, like a fence inside of which he enclosed the ships of war. And if you had seen it, viewing it even from afar from some headland, you would have likened this fleet under sail to a floating city. For Fortune also favoured him to a certain degree. For the sea was quite calm except for a gentle southerly breeze which just rippled the surface and [320] swelled the sails of the merchant vessels.

This just enabled them to sail with the wind wl-dle the ships that were rowed kept level with the sailing vessels and from the middle of the Adriatic sea the noise this fleet made was audible on both continents. So this barbarian fleet of Bohemund’s was a sight well fitted to inspire awe, and, if the sailors of the Contostephani shrank from it in horror, I cannot blame them, nor would I accuse the men of cowardice. For even the famous Argonautic fleet would have been afraid of him and his fleet arranged in this fashion, much more so then the Contostepbani, the Landulphs and other such folk.

Read More about Domestic Conflicts part 9


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