As we have already hinted, this presentiment of my father's was not unfounded. For Basilacius came down suddenly upon the army he thought to find with cavalry and infantry (10,000 men in all); there he found the men's quarters lighted up everywhere, and when he saw the General's tent gleaming, he rushed into it with a tremendous, hair-raising shout. But as the man he expected to find was nowhere to be seen, and no soldier or officer turned up anywhere, only a few insignificant camp servants, he shouted still more loudly, and cried out, "Where in the world is the Stammerer?" thus in his words too jeering at the Great Domestic. For, except in one respect, this Alexius, my father, had a very clear utterance, and no one was a better natural orator than he in his arguments and demonstrations, 23] but only over the letter " r " his tongue lisped slightly, and stammered a little, although his enunciation of all the other letters was quite unimpeded. Shouting such insults, Basilacius continued his search, and turned over everything, boxes, couches, furniture, and even my father's bed, to see whether perchance he was hidden anywhere. And he frequently looked at " Little John," the monk so called. Alexius' mother had carefully arranged that he should have one of the better-born monks to share his tent in all his campaigns, and her kindly son had yielded to his mother's wish, not only whilst a child, but even after he had joined the ranks of youths; nay, indeed, until he took to himself a wife. Basilacius searched through the whole tent, and, as Aristophanes would say, did not stop "groping about in darkness," [Clouds 192] while asking Little John a stream of questions about the Domestic.


On John's asserting that Alexius had gone out with his whole army some time ago, he recognized that he had been grossly tricked, and in utter despair, and with much noise and shouting, he yelled out: " Fellow soldiers, we have been deceived, the enemy is outside." Hardly had he said this, as they were going out of the camp, than my father, Alexius Comnenus, was on them, for he had hurriedly galloped on ahead of the army with a few attendants. He noticed a man trying to bring the heavy infantry into battle-array - and, by the way, the majority of Basilacius' soldiers had betaken themselves to looting and plunder (this too was an old device of my father's), and before they could be reassembled and drawn up in line, the Great Domestic loomed before them as a sudden danger. He, as I have said, saw someone drawing up the phalanxes, and judging either from his size, or from the brilliance of his armour (for his armour gleamed in the light of the stars) that he must be Basilacius, dashed swiftly up to him, and struck at his hand, and the hand, with the sword it held, fell to the ground - an incident which greatly upset the phalanx. But after all it was not Basilacius himself, but a very brave man of his suite who was not a tittle inferior in courage to Basilacius. Then Alexius with a heavy hand began a wild attack on them; he shot with arrows, inflicted wounds with his spear, uttered war-cries, confounded them in the darkness. He used the place, the time, everything, as a means to victory, and availed himself of them with unperturbed mind and unshaken judgment, and though men of both armies were fleeing in various directions, he discerned, in every case, whether he were friend or [24] foe.


Then, too, a certain Cappadocian, called Goules, a faithful servant of my father's, a hard-hitter, of ungovernable fury in battle, saw Basilacius, and making sure that it was he, struck him on his helmet. But he suffered the fate of Menelaus, when fighting against Paris; for his sword "shattered into 3 or 4 pieces," [Iliad 3:363] fell from his hand, and only the hilt remained in his grip. The General seeing this straightway mocked at him for not holding his sword tight, and called him a coward, but when the soldier shewed him the hilt of his sword which he still grasped, he became less abusive. Another man, a Macedonian, Peter by name, but nicknamed Tornicius, fell among the enemy and slew a number. The phalanx followed its leader though in ignorance of what was being done; for as the struggle was carried on in the dark, not all were able to grasp the course of events. Comnenus would attack that part of the phalanx which was still intact, and strike down all adversaries, and in a moment be back with his own men, urging them to break up that portion of Basilacius' phalanx which still held its ground, and sending messages to the rear to bid them not to be so slow, but to follow him, and overtake him more quickly. During this time, a Frank, belonging to the Domestic's troops, and, to make a long story short, a brave soldier, instinct with the spirit of Ares, noticed my father coming out from the enemy's centre, bare sword in hand, all smoking with blood, and took him for one of the enemy. In a trice he fell upon him, knocked him on the chest with his spear, and was within an ace of hurling the General off his horse, had the General not seated himself more firmly, and addressed the soldier by name, and threatened to cut off his head with his sword. However, the Frank, by pleading his want of recognition, and the confusion consequent upon a night-battle, was allowed to remain


  • 最終更新:2012-04-06 08:43:02