War with Scyths part 11

The Romans in their dread of the countless Scythians and their horrible covered wagons which they used as walls, sent up one cry for mercy to the Lord of All and then, letting their steeds go, dashed at full speed into battle with the Scythians, the Emperor galloping in front of them all. The Roman line was crescent-shaped and at the same instant as if at a signal the whole army of the Comans rushed forward too, so a distinguished chieftain of the Scythians, foreseeing the issue of events, secured his safety in advance, and taking a few men with him went over to the Comans as they spoke the same language.

For although these too were fighting fiercely against the Scythians, yet he felt more confidence in them than in the Romans, and approached them in the hope that they would act as mediators for him with the Emperor. The Emperor noticed his secession and grew alarmed lest more should go over and persuade the Comans to make common cause with the Scythians, and to turn their horses as well as their feelings against the Roman army.

Abandoned by the Divine Power

Consequently, as he was quick in perceiving what was expedient at a critical moment, he ordered the royal standard-bearer to carry the standard and post himself close to the Coman camp. By this time the Scythian array had been completely broken, and the two armies met in hand to hand fight, and then such slaughter of men was seen as nobody had ever witnessed before. For the Scythians were being terribly massacred as if abandoned by the Divine Power, and their opponents who cut them down grew weary of the incessant, heavy mowing with their swords, and were growing faint and relaxing the pursuit.

Then the Emperor rode right in among the foe, and confounded all the ranks striking down those who stood in his way, and even overaweing those further off by his shouting. When he saw that the sun was casting its rays vertically as it was about noon, he provided for his troops as follows. He sent for some men, and dispatched them to tell the countrymen to fill their waterskins with water, lade them on their own mules and drive them along to him.

When neighbours and friends saw the countrymen doing this they, too, without receiving orders, did the same, and one with a pitcher, another with a skin, and another with whatever vessel he could lay hands on, brought water to refresh the soldiers who were delivering them from the dread hand of the Scythians; and the soldiers after drinking a little water resumed the battle.

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