War with Scyths part 12


That day a new spectacle was seen, for a whole nation, not of ten thousand men only, but surpassing all number together with their wives and children was completely wiped out. It was the third day of the week, the twenty-ninth of April; hence the Byzantines made a little burlesque song, “just by one day the Scythians missed seeing the month of May.” By the time that the sun was creeping to the West, and practically all the Scythians had fallen to the sword, and I repeat the children and the women too, and many also had been taken alive, the Emperor bade them sound the recall, and returned to his camp.

These doings might well seem a miracle, especially to a mind that reflected bow not so long ago the men who left Byzantium to fight the Scythians brought ropes and straps with which to bind the captive Scythians they meant to lead home, and then the tables were turned and they themselves became the prisoners and captives of the Scythians -this took place when we fought the Scythians near Dristra; on that occasion God broke the insolent spirit of the Romans.

But later on, at the time I am now relating, when He saw them full of fear and devoid of all saving hope, as not being strong enough to prevail against such multitudes, He unexpectedly granted them victory, so that they bound and slew and captured the Scythians, and not only this (for such things often happen even in minor battles) but in one single day they wiped off the face of the earth a whole nation of myriads of men.

Scytbians set each other free

VI After the Coman and Roman troops had returned to their respective quarters, and in the early evening the Emperor was thinking of supper, the man called Synesius came in very angry and said to the Emperor : ” What is this nonsense ? and what is this new arrangement ? Each soldier has thirty or more Scythian prisoners. The Comans in their masses axe quite close to us. Now if our soldiers fall asleep as most certainly they should do, dog-tired as they are, and the Scytbians set each other free, take their daggers and kill them, what then? So give orders for most of them to be put to death at once!” But the Emperor gave him a severe look and replied, “Even though Scythians, yet they are men; and even though our foes, yet worthy of pity.

Read More about War with Scyths part 15


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