On being informed of these events, Nicephorus Botaniates realized that his own situation had become exceedingly difficult as the city was being besieged on the West, and Nicephorus Melissenus was encamped at the promontory of Damalis on the East; he did not know what to do but rather inclined to abdicate in favour of Melissenus. And when the city was already surrounded by the Comneni, he bade one of his most trusty attendants go and bring Melissenus through the fleet to the palace; and a certain very fierce guardsman was to accompany him. But before this project could be fulfilled, the city was taken. And Palaeologus, taking one of his servants with him, walked down to the sea, and finding a boat, got in at once and told the oarsman to row to the place where the fleet was usually anchored. When he was already drawing near to the other coast he saw the man sent by Botaniates to fetch Melissenus getting the fleet ready, and the guardsman was on one of the men-of-war. Recognizing the latter from afar as one of his former acquaintances, he sailed alongside the vessel, hailed him and asked the usual questions, "Whence he came and whither going" and then begged him to take him up into his ship. But the guardsman, seeing him with a shield and sword, was frightened and replied, "I would gladly have taken you, had I not noticed that you are fully armed." Hereupon Palaeologus at once consented to lay aside his helmet, shield and short sword, provided only the other would pick him up. Directly the guardsman saw him taking off his weapons, he allowed him to board his own ship, and took him in his arms and embraced him effusively. But Palaeologus, a man of energy, did not delay even for a moment before embarking [67] on his task. Running up to the prow he began asking the rowers, " What are you doing? and where are you going, taking part in a business which will bring dire misfortune to yourselves? the city, as you see, has been taken. He who was once the ' Great Domestic' has been proclaimed Emperor; you see his soldiers and you can hear the shouts; and there will be no room in the palace for anybody else.

Botaniates, but our army is many times larger. You ought not therefore to betray yourselves, your wives and children, but rather take a good look at the city, notice that the whole army is already inside it and the standards fixed, listen to the loud shouts of acclamation, and while the late Domestic draws near to the palace as Emperor and is even now girding on the royal insignia, put your ship astern and go and join him, and thus assure him complete victory! " The crew were immediately convinced by his words and came over to his opinion, whereupon the guardsman grew angry and that warrior George Palaeologus threatened to put him into chains there and then on the deck or to throw him into the sea. Then Palaeologus at once started the cheering and the rowers joined in, but as the guardsman was angry and refused to do so, he had him bound to the deck and left him. After sailing a little further, he again took up his sword and shield, and then brought his ship to the place where the fleet lay, and soon he had all the sailors joining in cheers for the new Emperor. He happened, also, upon the man dispatched by Botaniates to take over the fleet and bring Melissenus through, so he straightway apprehended him and ordered the sailors to loose the cables. Next he sailed away from there with the fleet and reached the Acropolis where he led fresh shouts of acclamation. There he commanded the rowers to cease rowing and to stand by quietly and thus prevent the landing of any who were trying to cross from the East. Within a short time he saw a vessel putting in to the palace, and by bidding the rowers of his own boat row their hardest, he outstripped it. And when he saw his own father in it, he stood up and at once gave him the salutation due to parents. But his father did not look at him pleasantly, nor did he call him the " dear light of his eyes," as Odysseus of Ithaca once did on beholding Telemachus.


On that occasion there was a banquet, suitors, a contest of strength, bows and arrows and the prudent Penelope set as prize for the victor, and Telemachus was not [68] an enemy, but a son assisting his father; but on this there was fighting and war and the father and son were opposed in spirit. And each was well aware of the other's feelings, even though their opinions had not yet been manifested in action. So the father called his son a "fool" and asked him: " What have you come to do here?" and his son replied " As it is you who ask me, nothing!" To this the other answered, "Wait a little, and if the Emperor will follow my advice, I will let you know shortly." The aforesaid Nicephorus Palaeologus entered the palace where he found the soldiers dispersed in all directions intent on collecting booty, and judging that they could easily be overcome, he begged Botaniates to let him have the Varangians from the island of Thule, in order to drive the Comneni out of the city with their help. But Botaniates, having once for all despaired of his cause, pretended that he did not want civil war. " If perchance you will listen to me, Nicephorus, then I pray you go to the Comneni as soon as they are in the city and make overtures of peace to them." And so, though very unwillingly, he went.


  • 最終更新:2013-04-05 21:55:24