During the rest of the night, however, after posting the light-armed, they pushed on at a marching pace – the Comneni held the centre of the line with picked cavalry and the flower of the troops – and just at daybreak they stood outside the walls with the whole of their army. All the soldiers were fully armed as if for battle so that they might strike terror into the hearts of the citizens. But when Palaeologus gave them the signal from above and opened the gates, they rushed in pell-mell, no longer with military discipline, but just as each could, carrying their shields, bows and spears.
Manners for the worse
Now the day was Good Friday (the day on which we offer and feed upon our Mystical Passover) of the fourth “Indiction” in the month of April in the year 6589. [*i.e., of the Byzantine era = April 1, 1081 AD] And as the whole army (which was composed of foreign and native troops and had come together from home and neighbouring countries) knew that the city had for a long time been crammed with all kinds of riches which were continually imported from other lands and seas, they entered very quickly through the Charisian Gate and scattering in all directions along the main streets, the cross-roads and the by-lanes, they spared neither houses, churches nor even the innermost sanctuaries but amassed a large amount of booty and only desisted from killing, and in every way they acted throughout with the greatest recklessness and shamelessness. Indeed the worst feature was that not even the natives themselves abstained from these deeds but apparently forgot themselves, changed their manners for the worse and did themselves exactly the same things as the barbarians.
XI 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.
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