The Revolt of the Comneni part 16

VII 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 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.

Possible expedient for getting Alexius proclaimed

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.

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