The Revolt of the Comneni part 11

Then the man immediately unbolted the doors and gave them admission. At the morrow’s assembly of the Senate, the Emperor, who had learnt of the brothers’ doings, spoke as was to be expected and inveighed severely against the Domestic. And afterwards he sent two men, Straboromanus and Euphemianus by name, to fetch the women to the palace. But Dalassena said to them: “Give the Emperor this message; ‘ My sons are the faithful servants of your imperial Majesty and have willingly served you at all times, sparing neither their lives nor their bodies, and have always been the first to risk everything for your empire.

But the jealousy felt by others who could not endure your Majesty’s kindness and solicitude for them, caused them to stand in great and hourly peril; and when finally their enemies decided to blind them, they got wind of it, and as they could not endure such undeserved peril they left the city, not as rebels but as your trusty servants, firstly, in order to escape this imminent danger and secondly, to inform your Majesty of the plotting against them and to implore help from your Majesty.`”

God and the life of the Emperor

But the messengers urgently pressed her to come with them, until the woman grew indignant and said, ” Allow me to enter God’s church and pay my devotions to Him. For it is ridiculous to come as far as the entrance and not go in and implore the mediation of Our Immaculate Mistress, the Mother of God, both for the cause of God and the life of the Emperor.”

Then the ambassadors respecting her reasonable request, allowed her to enter. She advanced slowly as a woman worn out with age or grief would, or rather she simulated fatigue, and when she had almost reached the very entrance of the Sanctuary, she made two genuflexions and at the third collapsed on the ground, and clinging to the Royal Doors cried out: “Unless my hands are cut off, I shall not leave these holy precincts, until I receive the Emperor’s cross as pledge of my safety.”

Hereupon Straboromanus pulled out the cross he carried in his bosom and gave it to her, but she replied, ” I am not asking for assurance from you, but from the Emperor himself I demand the security I have mentioned. And I will certainly not accept a cross sent to me if it is of minute size, but it must be of respectable size.” (This she required in order that the pledge given to her might be clearly seen; for if the promise were made over a small [55] cross, most of the onlookers would probably not have observed its ratification.) ” It is that man’s verdict and mercy I require. Begone, take him my message!”

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