For never throughout his whole reign did the Emperor enjoy even a short time of rest, as enemies after enemies kept continually cropping up. Consequently he called up his whole army from all sides, and choosing the time of year when the barbarians were wont to make their expeditions against the Christians, he crossed the straits between Byzantium and Damalis. And not even the increasing pain in his feet could deter him from this undertaking.
Now this disease had never attacked any of his ancestors, so that one might think it had been passed on to him by heredity; nor was it due to soft living which often gives it to those who are intemperate in their life and pleasures. But I will relate the real origin of this affection of hiq feet. One day for the sake of exercise, he was playing at polo with Taticius, of whom I have often spoken. Taticius was caused to swerve by his horse and fell against the king, whose kneecap was injured by the weight of the impact and the pain extended right down the leg.
The Queen of Cities
But, as he was used to endurance, he said nothing about the pain, and only had the leg slightly attended to, and as the pain soon passed he pursued his usual routine. This was the original cause of the Emperor’s sufferings in his feet; for the local injury drew the rheumatics to the injured part. But the second and more active source of all this trouble was the following. Who has not heard of those countless hosts of Franks who arrived in the Queen of Cities when they had quitted their own homes and invaded ours?
By them the Emperor was engulfed in an immense sea of worries, for he had long grasped the fact that the Franks were dreaming of the Roman Empire; and he saw their multitude exceeding the sand and the stars in number, and then looked at the Roman forces which did not equal a fraction of theirs, even if they could all be concentrated on one spot. But on the contrary most of them were dispersed, for some were keeping guard in the valleys of Serbia and in Dalmatia; others were protecting the lands along the Ister against the inroads of the Comans and the Dacians, and many again were entrusted with the guarding of Dyrrachium.
So that it might not be retaken by the Franks-when he considered all this the Emperor bent his whole attention to the Franks and relegated everything else to the second place. And the barbarians who were moving about secretly and had not yet openly declared their enmity, he appeased by titles and gifts. By all possible means he tried to check the Franks’ aim, and when he reflected not less, but rather more, on the internal disaffection, he did his utmost to guard himself by skilfully bringing their plots to naught. But who could describe the welter of ills which overtook him?
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