War with Scyths part 10


Whilst the Emperor was busy with these reflections, a band of hardy and war-loving mountaineers, numbering about 5,000 in all, deserted to the Emperor and offered him their services. Since the moment of battle could now no longer be postponed, the Emperor invoked the aid of God. At sunset he led the intercessory prayers for help to God, and conducted a brilliant torch-light procession, and sang appropriate hymns. Nor did he allow the army to sleep in peace, for he suggested to the more intelligent individuals that they should follow his example whereas he imposed it as an order upon the more clownish.

And thus at that hour you could have seen the sun setting on the horizon, but the whole sky lit up, not as it were with the light of one sun, but as if ever so many more heavenly bodies were contributing their light. For one and all fixed lighted lamps or wax candles, whichever they had, to the tips of their spears. And verily the cries which were sent up by this army must have reached the orb of heaven, I think, or to speak quite truly, they were carried to the ears of our Lord God Himself. From this circumstance, I fancy, one can deduce the Emperor’s piety seeing that he thought it wrong to attack an enemy without asking God’s help. For he did not place his confidence in men or horses, or military engines, but entrusted all to the Divine decision.

These intercessions were continued till midnight; after which he allowed himself a little bodily rest and then leapt up from sleep. The light-troops he armed more strongly than usual, and some of them he supplied with cuirasses and helmets of silken material of an iron-colour, as he had not a sufficient supply of iron for all. At the first smile of dawn he same out of the gully in heavy armour, and bade them sound the attack. And beneath the hill called Lebunium (this place is . . . ) he split up the army and drew up the infantry in troops.

Hubertopulos with the Franks

The Emperor himself stood in the fore-front breathing fierce wrath, whilst the right and left wings were commanded by George Palaeologus and Constantine Dalassenus respectively. On the extreme right of the Comans stood Monastras with his men under arms. For directly they saw the Emperor drawing up his lines they too armed themselves and arranged their line of battle in their own fashion; to the left of them stood Uzas, and looking towards the west was Hubertopulos with the Franks. When the Emperor had thus fortified the army, so to speak, with the heavy-armed troops and encircled it with squadrons of horse, he ordered the trumpets to sound the attack again.

Read More about The Kaddish part 1


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