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Another very great light has been extinguished too, or rather that brightly shining moon, the great achievement and pride of the East and the West, the Empress Irene. And yet we live and breathe I One ill has followed upon another and hurricanes have beaten down upon us and we have been forced to see the climax of our troubles, the death of the Caesar, and we have been reserved for such terrible catastrophes. For some days the ill prevailed and skill failed and I let myself sink into an ocean of despondency and amidst it all I only grieved that my soul still lingered in my body.

And, it seems likely, that if I had not been adamantine, or fashioned of some other such substance . . . and distracted from my real self, I should have perished at once; but now I live and have died a thousand deaths. We hear from some the wonderful story of Niobe . . . changed into stone by grief . . . then even after the change which transformed her into an insensitive substance her sufferings w

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Then I let go the Emperor’s hand and . . . to the Empress … I again applied [my hand] to his wrist … asphyxia. She often signed to me as she wanted me to tell her the state of his pulse. But when . . . I touched it again and I recognized that all his strength was giving way and that the pulse in the arteries had finally stopped, then I bowed my head and, exhausted and fainting I looked down to the ground, said nothing, but clasped my hands over my face and stepped back and wept.

The disaster which overtook the whole world

The Empress understood what that meant and in absolute despair uttered a sudden loud, far-reaching shriek. How can I possibly picture the disaster which overtook the whole world? or how deplore my own condition? the Empress took off her royal veil and caught hold of a knife and cut off all her hair close to the skin and threw off the red shoes from her feet and demanded ordinary black sandals. And when she wanted to change he

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Now the Emperor’s successor had already gone away secretly to the house set apart for him, seeing the Emperor’s … and hastened his going and hurried to the great palace. The city at that time … was disturbed, but not entirely … But the Empress said, ” Let everything go to destruction ” . . . and wailed ” the diadem and the kingdom and the power and every Empire and thrones and principalities, and let us start the dirge.” And I joined in her wailing, forgetting all else, and mourned with her and . . . they tore their hair with shrill lamentations. But we restored her to her senses. For the Emperor was at his last gasp and, as the saying is, was ‘letting his soul break loose.’

On the ground at his head the Empress had thrown herself still dressed … and with her red shoes and . . . she was wounded and did not know how (to still] the burning sorrow of her heart. Some of the Asclepiadse came back again and

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For Mary, acting like another Mary, though not sitting at his feet then, as the other did on that occasion, but up by his head, was busy giving him water to drink from a big goblet, not from a cup, so that drinking might not be too difficult for him, as his palate was inflamed and his tongue too and his larynx, and she wanted to refresh him. Then he addressed some firm and manly counsels to the Empress, which were his last ones. ” Why do you abandon yourself in this way to your grief for my death, and compel us to anticipate the end which is hastening towards us ? why do you not think of yourself and your future difficulties, instead of giving yourself up entirely to the flood of grief that has overwhelmed you?

” This he said to her, but it only tore open the Empress’ wounds of sorrow the more. I myself tried every shift, and by God who knows all, I swear to the friends still living and to the men who will read this history later, that I was in no wise be

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For the future all our outlook was in confusion and tempesttossed, our normal course of life was disturbed, and fear and danger hovered together over our heads. Yet even amidst these imminent dangers, the Empress retained her brave spirit, and during this crisis she shewed her courage most, for she curbed her passionate grief and stood like a conqueror in the Olympic games wrestling against those terribly cruel pains.

For she was wounded in soul and anguished in heart at seeing the Emperor in such a state. But she pulled herself together and remained firm in face of these sufferings, and, though she was mortally wounded and pierced to the marrow with grief, nevertheless she bore up. And yet her tears fell in floods and the beauty of her face became withered, and her soul seemed suspended in her nostrils.

Emperor’s head

It was the fifteenth of August and the Thursday of the week during which the death of our Immaculate Lady, the Mother of God, is

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For during this oppression he found a little refreshment in being moved, and the Empress contrived that he should have it continually, for she had legs fitted at the head and foot of the Emperor’s couch and then ordered men to lift him and carry him, and there were relays of men fort hisw ork. After this he was removed from the large palace to Mangana. But even when this had been done, it did not contribute to the Emperor’s recovery. When the Empress saw that the disease was gaining ground and she quite despaired of any human help, she made still more fervent intercessions to God on his behalf, and had numbers of candles lighted in every sanctuary and continuous and endless hymns sung, and largess distributed to the dwellers in every land and on every sea.

And all the monks who dwelt on mountains or in caves or led their solitary life elsewhere she stirred up to making lengthy supplications. And all those who were sick or confined in prison and worn out with su

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But, however that was, the Emperor was in a very bad state; for not even for a moment could he draw breath freely. He was obliged to sit upright to breathe at all; and if by chance he lay on his back or on one side, alas I for the consequent suffocation. For he was unable to draw in or out even a tiny drift of the outer air by the channels for expiration and inspiration. And, whenever sleep pitied him and overpowered him, then also he was liable to suffocation; so that at all times whether sleeping or awake, the danger of strangulation hung over him.

As he was not given purgatives they had recourse to phlebotomy, and they made an incision at the elbow; however, he derived no benefit from it, but breathed with just the same difficulty as before and there was always the danger that by breathing so little he would expire under our hands. But his condition grew easier after he had been given an antidote of pepper. And in our delight we did not know how to shew our joy, but we

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“What in the world is this disease which has attacked my breathing? for I should like to take a deep, full breath and get rid of this trouble worrying my heart. I have tried to do it repeatedly, but cannot manage to lift even a particle of the weight that is oppressing me. For the rest it is as if a very heavy stone were lying on my heart which cuts my breathing when I sigh, and I cannot understand the reason of it nor what has brought this suffering upon me. And I will tell you something else too, dearest soul, partner of my afflictions and thoughts, a fit of gaping often attacks me and when I am inhaling my breath gets caught and causes me very great pain. If you know what this new illness of mine is, please speak out.”

When the Empress listened to him and heard what he suffered she seemed to be suffering from the same disease herself and her breathing too was caught by asthma, so deeply affected was she by the Emperor’s words. She frequently sent for t

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A year and a half had not passed after my father’s return from his expedition before a second terrible illness fell upon him, and wove the noose of death for him, or to speak the truth, the downfall and destruction of everything. But since the magnitude of my subject demands it, and as I was very dear to my father and mother from the cradle, I am going to transgress the laws of history and relate, little as I wish to do so, my father’s death. A race-meeting had taken place and in consequence of a violent wind which was blowing at the time, the rheumatics had ebbed, as it were, and retreated from his extremities and fixed themselves in one of his shoulders. The majority of the physicians did not appreciate the danger to us which this threatened.

But Callicles Nicholas (for so he was styled), was a foreteller to us of our fearful ills and said he was very afraid that, as the rheumatics had retreated from the extremities and attacked another part, they would cause

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And I think that men who lived then and associated with him must even now be marvelling at what was done then and think it was not real, and it must seem a dream and mere vision to them. For ever since the time when shortly after Diogenes’ accession the barbarians first overstepped the boundaries of the Roman Empire and he at first start, as they say, made his disastrous expedition against them, from that time right on to my father’s reign the barbarian power was never checked, but swords and spears were whetted against the Christians and there were battles, wars and massacres. Cities were wiped out, countries were laid waste, and the whole Roman territory was defiled with the blood of Christians. For some perished miserably by darts or spears, while others were driven from their homes and led away captive to the cities of Persia.

Emperor Basil

And dread seized them all and they hurried to hide themselves from the dangers that threatened, in the cav

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Now many tales were going round and his marvellous talk was bandied about on every tongue, so the executioners were afraid that the demons protecting Basil might perhaps, by God’s permission, work some wonderful new miracle, and the wretch be seen snatched unharmed from the middle of the mighty fire and transported to some very frequented place. In that case the second state would be worse than the first, so they decided to make an experiment.

For, while he was talking marvels and boasting that he would be seen unharmed in the middle of the fire, they took his cloak and said, “Now let us see whether the fire will touch your garments,” and they threw it right into the middle of the pyre. But Basil was so uplifted by the demon that was deluding him that he said, “Look at my cloak floating up to the sky!” Then they ‘recognizing the web from the edge,’ took him and pushed him, clothes, shoes and all, into the middle of the pyre. And th

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X However all the members of the holy synod and the chief monks, as well as the patriarch of that time, Nicholas, decreed that Basil who was the heresiarch and quite unrepentant, deserved to be burnt. The Emperor was of the same opinion and after conversing with him several times and recognizing that the man was mischievous and would not abandon his heresy, he finally had an immense pyre built in the Hippodrome. A very large trench was dug and a quantity of wood, all tall trees piled up together, made the structure look like a mountain.

When the pile was lighted, a great crowd slowly collected on the floor and steps of the circus in eager expectation of what was to happen. On the opposite side a cross was fixed and the impious man was given a choice, for if he dreaded the fire and changed his mind, and walked to the cross, then he should be delivered from burning. A number of heretics were there watching their leader Basil.

Words of David’s

He s

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Then all the Bogomils accused of heresy were placed together in the centre and the Emperor commanded each to be examined again. Some confessed to being Bogomils and adhered stoutly to their heresy, while others denied it absolutely and called themselves Christians and when accused by others did not yield an inch, so he glowered at them and said, “Today two pyres shall be lighted and on one of them a cross shall befixed in the ground itself. Then you shall all be given your choice and those who are ready to die to-day for their Christian faith, can separate themselves from the others and walk to the pyre with the cross, while those who cling to the Bogomilian heresy shall be thrown on the other. For it is better that even Christians should die, than live to be persecuted as Bogomils and offend the consciences of many.

Tzycanisterin the flames

Go now and let each one of vou choose his station.” Withthis verdict against the Bogomils the Emperor pretend

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IX Let this be sufficient about that miracle. I wished to expound the whole heresy of the Bogomils, but ‘modesty prevents me,’ as the beautiful Sappho says somewhere, for though a historian, I am a woman and the most honourable of the Porphyrogeniti and Alexius’ eldest scion, and what is the talk of the vulgar had better be passed over in silence. I am desirous of writing so as to set forth a full account of the Bogomilian heresy; but I will pass it over, as I do not wish to defile my tongue. And those who wish to understand the whole heresy of the Bogomils I will refer to the book entitled Dogmatic Panoply, which was compiled by my father’s order.

For there was a monk called Zygabenus, known to my mistress, my maternal grandmother, and to all the members of the priestly roll, who had pursued his grammatical studies very far, was not unversed in rhetoric, and was the best authority on ecclesiastical dogma; the Emperor sent for him and commissioned h

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For these erring Bogomils believe that they can bear any suffering without feeling pain, as the angels forsooth will pluck them out of the fire. And although all . . . and reproached him for his impiety, even those whom he had involved in his own ruin, he remained the same Basil, an inflexible and very brave Bogomil. And although he was threatened with burning and other tortures he clung fast to his demon and embraced his Satanael. After he was consigned to prison the Emperor frequently sent for him and frequently exhorted him to forswear his impiety, but all the Emperor’s exhortations left him unchanged.

But we must not pass over in silence the miracle which happened to him. Before the Emperor had begun to take severe measures against him, after his confession of impiety he would occasionally retire to a little house which had recently been prepared for him situated fairly close to the royal palace. It was evening and the stars above were shining in the clear air, a

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And he made this monk, who was so many-sided in wickedness, swallow all the poison he offered him by pretending that he wished to become his disciple, and not he only, but probably his brother, the Sebastocrator Isaac, also; he pretended too to value all the words he spoke as if they came from a divine voice and to defer to him in all things, provided only that the villain Basil would effect his soul’s salvation. “Most reverend father,” he would say (for the Emperor rubbed sweets on the rim of the cup so that this demoniac should vomit forth his black thoughts), ” I admire thee for thy virtue, and beseech thee to teach me the new doctrines thy Reverence has introduced, as those of our Churches are practically worthless and do not bring anybody to virtue.”

Emperor’s cousin the Sebastocrator

But the monk at first put on airs and he, that was really an ass, dragged about the lion’s skin with him everywhere and shied at the

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And probably it existed even before my father’s time, but in secret; for the sect of the Bogomils is very clever in aping virtue. And you would not find any long-haired worldling belonging to the Bogomils, for their wickedness was hidden under the cloak and cowl. A Bogomil looks gloomy and is covered up to the nose and walks with a stoop and mutters, but within he is an uncontrollable wolf. And this most pernicious race, which was like a snake hiding in a hole, my father lured and brought out to the light by chanting mysterious spells.

For now that he had rid himself of much of his anxiety about the East and the West he turned his attention to more spiritual matters. For in all things he was superior to other men; in teaching he surpassed those whose profession was teaching; in battles and strategy he excelled those who were admired for their exploits. By this time the fame of the Bogomils had spread everywhere. (For Basil, a monk, was very wily in handling the impie

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On entering you would find the sanctuaries and monasteries to your left ; and on the right of the large sanctuary stood the grammar-school for orphans collected from every race, in which a master presided and the boys stood round him, some puzzled over grammatical questions, and others writing what are called grammatical analyses. There could be seen a Latin being trained, and a Scythian studying Greek, and a Roman handling Greek texts and an illiterate Greek speaking Greek correctly. And Alexius’ interest in a training in logic was just as great. But the art of grammatical parsing was an invention of younger men of our generation.

Lofty matters and of the poets

I pass over the Styliani and those called Lombards, and all who employed themselves collecting names of every kind, and the Attici and the members of the ecclesiastical college of our great church, whose Dames I omit. But now the study of these lofty matters and of the poets and historians and the

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This was only in the power of the Onlv begotten Son, who for our sakes became man and lived this life here below for the sake of men. But what was possible, that the Emperor did; he gave servants to every maimed man and the same care to the halt as to the healthy. So that anybody who wishes to understand this new city which my father had built from the foundations, would see that the city was fourfold, or rather multifold, for there were people below, people above and people waiting on the two lots of them. But who could estimate the number of those who were fed daily, or the daily expense, or the care bestowed on each individual? for I attribute to him the things that lasted after him.

For he assigned to them benefits from land and sea, and he provided them with as much relief from pain as possible. One of the most prominent men acts as guardian of this populous city, and its name is the Orphanage. And it is called the Orphanage because of the Emperor’s kindness to

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For as this church was on the highest spot in the city it stood out like a citadel. And the new city was laid out in a certain number of stades (someone may remember how many) both in length and breadth; and all round in a circle were a number of houses, dwellings for the poor and which shews even more his humane nature-residences for mutilated men. Here you could see them coming along singly, either blind, or lame, or with some other defect. You would have called it Solomon’s porch on seeing it full of men maimed either in their limbs or in their whole bodies.

This ring of houses is two-storied and semi-detached, for some of these maimed men and women live up above twixt earth and sky, while others creep along below on the ground-floor. As for its size, anyone who wants to visit them would begin in the morning and only complete the round in the evening. Such is this city and such are its inhabitants. They have no plots of ground or vineyards or any of those things o

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And if anyone died, the same procedure took place, and the Emperor would be at the side of the dying man, and the priests were summoned to sing the hymns for the dying and administer the sacraments to the dying. And after the rites for the dead had been duly performed and not until the dead had been put in the earth and buried, was the army allowed to move even a step. And when it was the Emperor’s time for lunch he invited the men and women who were labouring under illness or old-age and placed the greater part of the victuals before them and invited those who lunched with him to do the same.

Theatrical preparations

And the meal was like a complete banquet of the gods for there were no instruments, not even flutes or drums or any disturbing music at all. In this way he made himself a source of supply to such persons and when he reached Damalis (it was the evening), he did not wish to make a brilliant entry into the city, nor did he allow any regal pomp o

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On this occasion the vessel of light could be seen as the begetter of darkness and obscurity. But he could still see a little ray of light, and confided this to his nurse and also to his wife when he was led back- and arrived in Iconium. By some means this fact came even to the ears of Masut and deeply vexed the barbarian’s soul, and overcome with rage he ordered Elegmus (one of the high-born satraps) to strangle him with a bow-string. To this sad end came the Sultan Saisan through his imprudence in not listening to the Emperor’s suggestion. But the Emperor continued his journey to the capital, and kept his army in the same perfect order all the way.

Posterity by any historian

VII Anyone hearing the word ‘line of battle’ and ‘phalanx’ or ‘captives’ and ‘booty’ or again ‘general’ and’ captains,’ will think he is hearing about the things which every historian and poet mentions in

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He had indeed sent scouts ahead to look round and see whether any enemies had come out foraging. The scouts met Masut already approaching with a large army and after conversing with him, they agreed to his designs upon Saisan, and returned and assured the latter that they bad not seen anyone. Saisan believed their report and was journeying on unconcernedly when the barbarian forces, of Masat met him. Running out from the rank a man called Gazes, the son of [407] the satrap Asan Catuch, whom Saisan bad killed some time before, struck him with his spear. Saisan turned round quickly and snatched the spear from Gazes’ hands, saying, “I did not know that even women bear spears against us now,” and then he fled taking the road back to the Emperor.

Very near Philomelium

But he was checked by Pucheas, who had long ago joined Masut’s party though pretending to be Saisan’s friend, and now came forward and suggested a better plan. But in real

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Sultan’s bastard brother

On the morrow the Emperor again interviewed the Sultan called Saisan and after completing the treaty with him in the usual manner, made him a present of a very laTge sum of money and after giving his satraps gifts too he sent them away well satisfied. In the interval the Emperor had heard that the Sultan’s bastard brother, Masut, was aiming at the sovereignty and had plotted Saisan’s assassination . . . since some satraps had got round him, as nearly always happens. So the Emperor advised him to wait a little until he found out more details of the plot, and then through knowing what had happened, he would go away forewarned. But the Sultan disregarded the Emperor’s advice and with full confidence in himself adhered to his decision.

Now the Emperor did not wish to appear to have forcibly detained the Sultan who had come to him of his own will, and thus incur censure, so he yielded to the barbarian’s decision