The Revolt of the Comneni part 7

In the meantime somebody at the suggestion of that fellow, Borilus, one of the slaves, asked the Emperor whether it was by his wish that the Great Domestic was introducing all the forces into the city. The Emperor at once sent for Alexius and asked him whether this report was true; to which Alexius immediately answered that part of the army was coming in by his, the Emperor’s, orders, and as for the whole of it being assembled there from all parts he parried the question plausibly. “The army you see,” he said, ” has been scattered in all directions, and now the various regiments which have received the signal are coming up from their different stations.

And those who see them streaming in from various quarters of the Roman dominions, think the whole army is being assembled as if by agreement and are misled by mere appearance.” Although Borilus had many objections to make to this speech, yet even so Alexius prevailed and was acquitted by the votes of all. Germanus who was simpler-minded, did not run down Alexius much. As the Emperor’s soul was not perturbed even by these allegations against the Domestic, the slaves seized the opportunity and set about preparing and ambush for the Comneni.

Spirit Alexius had experience in the case

Now slaves are anyhow by nature hostile to their masters, but when they cannot injure their masters, they turn their power against their fellow-servants, and become quite insupportable. Of this type of character and spirit Alexius had experience in the case of these slaves I am speaking of. For they did not bear resentment against the Comneni from love of the Emperor, but Borilus even aimed at the throne, some said, and as Germanus was his partner in the plot, he helped him prepare the ambush carefully.

And they discussed their plans together and imagined that the affair would turn out to their satisfaction; and now they began to speak openly of that which hitherto they had only mentioned below their breath. And thus a certain man overheard their talk, an Alanian by descent, “magister” in rank, who had long been attached to the emperor and counted among his intimates. Consequently the Magister stole out during the middle watch of the night and ran to the Comneni to report everything to the Great Domestic. Some have it that the Empress was not altogether ignorant of the Magister’s visit to the Comneni.

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