We must refer the reader who wishes to know the place and lineage from which Alexius sprang, to my Caesar's history, and thence he can also extract information about the Emperor Nicephorus Botaniates.


Now Manuel was the elder brother of Isaac and Alexius and in fact, the first-begotten of all the children descended through John Comnenus from my paternal grandfather. He was general in sole command over the whole of Asia to which the former emperor, Romanus Diogenes, had appointed him, whereas the principality of Antioch had elected Isaac by lot as their Duke; these two had fought in many wars and battles, and many trophies too they had erected over their opponents. And after these my father Alexius was promoted to be General-in-Chief, and dispatched against Ursel by Michael Ducas, the reigning emperor.


Later on the Emperor Nicephorus also observed his expertness in warfare and heard how, while serving under his brother Isaac in the East, he had taken part in many contests an«d proved himself valiant beyond his years, and when he considered the manner in which Alexius had worsted Ursel, he made just as conspicuous a favourite of him as he did of Isaac. He took the two brothers to his heart and looked upon them with joy, sometimes even inviting them to share his table. This enkindled the envy of others against them and most especially that of the two aforementioned Slavonic barbarians, Borilus and Germanus. For seeing the Emperor's goodwill towards the brothers and that the latter remained unharmed by the darts that malice hurled at them, they were consumed with wrath. As the Emperor saw that Alexius although his beard was as yet scarce grown was held in high repute by all, he appointed him absolute General of the West and honoured him with the rank of Proedros. Of all the trophies which he set up throughout the West also and of the various rebels he conquered and brought as captives [45] to the Emperor sufficient has been said already.


But these doings did not please those two slaves but rather fanned the flames of their envy; They went about growling and purposing evil against them in their hearts, and told the King many tales in confidence and others in public or suborned others to tell him, for their desire was, no matter by what means, to get these brothers out of the way.


In this distressing situation the Comneni judged it prudent to cultivate the officers of the women's apartments and through them to win in still greater measure the Queen's affection. For the brothers were charming men and able with their varied wiles to soften even a heart of stone.


Isaac could do this the more easily as the Queen some time before had chosen him to marry her own cousin; he was a perfect gentleman both in word and deed and most like my own father. But since his own affairs had prospered so well, he took much thought for his brother Alexius, and as the latter had formerly helped him with all his power in arranging his marriage, so he in his turn now desired to see Alexius stand high in the Queen's favour.


It is said that the friends Orestes and Pylades had such a deep love for each other that in time of battle either would be quite indifferent to his own foes but would ward off those who attacked his friend, and either would offer his own breast to receive the darts thrown at the other.


Exactly the same phenomenon could be witnessed in the case of these two. For either brother tried to anticipate the other's dangers; and whatever prizes and honours one gained, in short the good fortune of the one, the other considered his own, and vice versa, such close affection bound them to each other.


By the help of heaven, Isaac's interests had been thus secured; and after no long interval the officials of the women's apartments lent a willing ear to Isaac's suggestion that the queen should adopt Alexius. The Queen listened to them; and the two brothers came to the palace on an appointed day, and then she adopted Alexius according to the ritual prescribed from of old for such cases.


Thus for the future the Great Domestic of the Western armies was relieved of a great anxiety. Thenceforth they both visited the palace very often and after paying their respects to the Emperor and staying with him a little they went in to the Queen. All this still further inflamed the envy of others against them, as the Comneni were often assured, and consequently they lived in fear of being caught in their enemies' snares.


As they had no protector, they cast about for a means by which, [46] with God's help, they might ensure safety for themselves. After revolving many plans with their mother and examining various schemes at various times they discovered one path which as far as man can judge, might lead to safety. This was to approach the Queen when some plausible reason offered, and tell her their secret. Yet they kept their plan under water and did not reveal their whole design to anyone, but like fishermen they were careful not to frighten away their prey. They intended, indeed, to run away but had been afraid to tell the Queen this, lest she might disclose their intentions to the emperor prematurely in her anxiety for the two parties, to wit, her husband and the brothers. After having settled on this plan, they turned their attention elsewhere for they were adepts in making full use of any opportunities that might occur.


  • 最終更新:2013-03-04 16:50:31