Domestic Conflicts part 3

He did this, firstly because they themselves had already begun to wish to return home, and secondly, in order that they might refute the tales which Bohemund had been publishing about him. But he himself departed hurriedly for the city of Thettalus, partly in order to train the recruits in military exercises, and partly to hinder Bohemund from his reputed desire of crossing from Lombardy into our Empire. The Counts when they left became most trustworthy evidence against Bohemund, they called him a cheat who never spoke the truth even in ordinary cases, they often refuted him to his face and denounced him in every town and village, and were in themselves credible witnesses.

Cantacuzenus and Monastras

II As Bobemund’s crossing was being spoken of on all sides and the Emperor recognized that he still required many more forces to have an army of proportionate size to oppose to the Frankish masses, he did not delay or hesitate, but sent for the men from Ccelo-Syria, I mean Cantacuzenus and Monastras; for the former was holding Laodicea and the latter Tarsus. Now when he summoned these men, he did not leave the towns and provinces under their care unprotected, but sent Petzeas with other troops to Laodicea, whilst to Tarsus and all the towns and provinces under Monastras he sent Aspietes.

This man was a noble descended from an Armenian family, renowned for its bravery, as report said at that time, though the crises which then arose did not prove him to be anything of the kind, at least as regards strategic ability. For Tancred, the governor of Antioch, who, as we have already told, was now in Syria, repeatedly spread the rumour abroad, that he would descend on Cilicia very soon to besiege its towns and wrest it from the Emperor’s hands, as it was his own, and he had taken it from the Turks by force of arms. He did not only disseminate such rumours, but even threatened far worse things by letters, which were [303] daily handed in to Aspietes.

And he did not merely threaten, but did a few things, illustrative of his threats, and undertook to do still more. He collected troops from all sides from the Armenians and Franks, drilled these daily, and trained the army gradually to form up in line and engage in battle; sometimes he sent it out on foraging expeditions, thus symbolizing the smoke which precedes a fire; he was also preparing siege-engines and getting himself ready in every way for a siege. So much then for his doings; but the Armenian Aspietes, just as if nobody were threatening and terrifying him or menacing him with such terrible danger, sat carelessly at his ease and nightly indulged in heavy drinking.

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