The whole world, agog with excitement, was eagerly looking forward to what would happen and each longed to see the man who was expected to be proclaimed Emperor. The majority certainly wished Alexius to gain that honour, but neither were Isaac's partisans idle, but as far as possible, they solicited everybody. And thus matters were apparently [59] at a deadlock, for half the population desired to see the elder, and the other half desired to see the younger, brother raised to be pilot of the imperial dignity. Amongst the men present at that time were several of Alexius' kinsmen, for instance, the above-mentioned Emowor-John Ducas, a man clever in council and swift in action (whom I also saw once for a short time) and Michael and John, his grandsons, as well as the husband of their sister, George Palaeologus. These helped each other and worked hard to convert all people's opinions to their own, and letting out every reef, as they say, skilfully used every possible expedient for getting Alexius proclaimed. Consequently they won people over to agree with them, with the result that the number of Isaac's partisans gradually diminished. For wherever the Emperor John was, not a single person was able to resist him, as he was unrivalled in the dignity of his principles, the size of his body, and his king-like appearance. What did the Ducases not do? What did they not say? What good thing did they not promise both to the leaders and the whole army, if Alexius were raised to the Imperial eminence? For example they would say, "He will requite you with very great gifts and the highest honours in accordance with each man's merit, not in a haphazard way, as the ignorant and inexperienced among leaders do, for he has borne the title of "Military Commander" for a long time now and "Great Domestic of the West"; he has shared your salt, in war he has fought nobly at your side, be it in ambush or in close combat, never did he grudge his body, limbs, or even his life to ensure your safety; he has often traversed mountains and plains with you, and learnt the hardships of warfare; finally, he knows you all both as a body and individually, and being himself dear to Ares, he above all longs for brave soldiers."


In this manner spake the Ducases, but Alexius deemed Isaac worthy of much honour and in all things" preferred him, either owing to the charm of brotherhood, or rather, and this must be mentioned, for another reason. For, as the whole army was veering to his side and advocating his claims while it did not favour Isaac even in the slightest, Alexius saw that strength and power and the realization of his hopes would come from that quarter, and so he supported his brother in his intrigues for the throne, knowing that nothing untoward to himself would result from so doing, provided he for his part were raised up by force, as it were, by the whole army to the pinnacle of earthly honours and he flattered his brother in words only and made a pretence [60] forsooth of yielding the power to him. After some time had been spent in this manner, the whole soldiery were assembled near the General's tent in a great state of excitement and each anxious for the accomplishment of his wish. Then Isaac rose and taking the red buskin tried to put it on to his brother's foot; but the latter refused several times until Isaac cried, "Let me do it, for through you God wishes to restore the dignity of our family." He also reminded Alexius of the prophecy once addressed, to him by a man who- appeared, to them somewhere near Carpianum as they were returning home from the palace. For they had reached that spot when a man suddenly met them, perhaps belonging to a race higher than mortal, but in any case gifted with very clear insight into the future. From his appearance he seemed to be a priest, with his bare head, grey hair and shaggy beard; he took hold of Alexius' leg and being on foot himself, he dragged down Alexius, who was on horseback, by the ear and recited to him this line of David's psalm: "In thy majesty ride on prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness," and address him by the title Emperor Alexius! "


With these words which sounded like a prophecy he vanished. And Alexius could not capture him though he looked round carefully in all directions in order, if possible, to catch sight of him, and then pursued him at full speed if perchance he might catch, him and ask more in detail who he was and whence he came. But what had been seen had completely vanished. On their return home Isaac was very inquisitive about this vision and asked Alexius to disclose the secret: and as he insisted strongly, Alexius at first made a feint of refusing but finally repeated what had been said to him in secret. Now in discussing this openly with his brother he treated the words and incident as a fraud and deception, but in his private meditations upon this man in priestly garb who had appeared to him, he likened him to the theologian, the Son of Thunder [*St. John the Theologian]. Therefore when Isaac saw what the old man had prophesied was being fulfilled in deed and expressed in words, he insisted more vehemently and by force put the red buskin on his brother's foot, especially because he saw the fervid longing of all the soldiers for Alexius. After this act the Ducases led the acclamations for they favoured this man for many reasons and especially because their relation, Iresn, my mother had been legally married to my father, And simultaneously all those akin to them by blood did likewise with a will, and the rest of the army took up the shout and [61] sent their voices almost to the heavens. And then was witnessed a curious phenomenon - for those who before had held opposite opinions and preferred death to failure in their desire, became in one moment of the same opinion, and that too, so decidedly, that nobody could have even suspected there had been a variance of opinion between them.


  • 最終更新:2013-04-03 18:01:27