Turks Franks Cumans and Manichaeans part 10

At that time the governor of Philadelphia was Constantine Gabras who had sufficient men to garrison the town; the semi-barbarian Monastras (who has often been mentioned in this history) held Pergamus and Chliara and the towns round about it, and all the other towns along the sea were governed by men renowned for daring and military experience. The Emperor sent them frequent messages exhorting them to keep a constant watch and to send out spies in all directions to observe the barbarians’ skirmishings and bring their news quickly.

Having thus made things in Asia secure he turned his attention to the war at sea ; he ordered some of the sailors to anchor their ships in the harbours of Madytus and Coeli and keep a steady watch on the straits opposite and also make excursions with light cruisers and keep a continual look-out over the sea-ways in expectation of the Frankish fleet. Others were to sail among the islands and guard them without at the same time overlooking the Peloponnese, but to give that too the requisite protection.

The fully-equipped fleet from Lombardy

As he wished to stay in those parts for a considerable time, he had some dwellings constructed in a suitable spot and spent the winter there. When the fully-equipped fleet from Lombardy and the other places loosed its cables and sailed forth, the admiral of it picked out five biremes and sent them out to catch some ships and from them learn the Emperor’s whereabouts.

But when they reached Abydos, it fell out that only one ship returned to the man who sent them forth, as the rest were captured, crews and all. From this ship the admirals of the said fleets learnt of the Emperor’s doings, namely that after making everything very secure on land and sea, he was wintering in the Chersonese in order to hearten up all his men. Since they were unable to fight successfully against the Emperor’s subtle plans, they put their hands to their rudders and went off in another direction. One Frank alone from among these admirals took his own monoreme which was very swift and sailed away to Balduinus.

He found him besieging Tyre and related to him all that we have just said about the Emperor (I fancy he had sailed with the other admirals’ consent); and also told him that the Roman fleet had succeeded in capturing the scout-ships, as told above. And he even confessed without a blush that when the leaders of the Frankish fleet discovered that the Emperor was all ready to meet them, they retreated, thinking it better to return without accomplishing anything than to fight with the Roman fleet and be beaten.

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