The Alexiad

1. The Arrival of the Crusaders

. . . Moreover, Alexius was not yet, or very slightly, rested from his labors when he heard rumors of the arrival of innumerable Frankish armies. He feared the incursions of these people, for he had already experienced the savage fury of their attack, their fickleness of mind, and their readiness to approach anything with violence….

And finally, he kept ever in mind this information, which was often repeated and most true that they were known to be always immoderately covetous of anything they strove after and to break very easily, for any reason whatsoever, treaties which they had made. Accordingly, he did not indulge in any rest, but made ready his forces in every way, so that when occasion should demand he would be ready for battle.

For it was a matter greater and more terrible than famine which was then reported. Forsooth, the whole West, and as much of the land of barbarian peoples as

Antiochus Strategos part 27

Willibald and Mother Church, like a hen that cherishes her offspring beneath her wings, won over many adoptive sons to the Lord, protecting them continually with the shield of his kindliness. These he trained with gentleness and sympathy, detaching them from their imperfections until they reached perfect maturity. These, having followed in the steps of their master and absorbed his teaching, have now become famous for the training they give to others.

This, then, was Willibald, who at first began to practise a holy life with the support of but a few helpers, but who at last, after struggling in many ways against the opposition of numerous chieftains and courtiers, gained possession of a people worthy of the Lord.

Treasures worthy of our Lord

Far and wide through the vast province of Bavaria he drove his plough, sowing the seed and reaping the harvest with the help of many fellow¬labourers. And all though the land of Bavaria, now dotted about with chu

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Soon after he came there, the archbishop St. Boniface, Burchard and Wizo consecrated him and invested him with the sacred authority of the episcopate. He remained there for a week after he was consecrated bishop and then returned once more to the place which had been allotted him. At the time of his consecration Willibald was forty¬one years old; he was consecrated at Salzburg in the autumn, about three weeks before the Feast of St. Martin.

The long course of Willibald’s travels and sightseeing on which he had spent seven long years was now over and gone. We have tried to set down and make known all the facts which have been ascertained and thoroughly investigated.

These facts were not learned from anyone else but heard from Willibald himself; and having received them from his own lips, we have taken them down and written them in the Monastery of Heidenheim, as his deacons and other subordinates can testify. I say this so that no one may afterwards say tha

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The Supreme Pontiff, in whom is vested the highest authority, at once replied that his command was sufficient permission, and he ordered him to set out obediently without any qualm of conscience, saying: “If I am free to transfer the abbot Petronax himself to any other place, then certainly he has no permission or power to oppose my wishes.” And so Willibald replied on the spot that he would willingly carry out his wishes and commands, not only there but anywhere in the world, whereever he had a mind to send him. He then pledged himself to go in accordance with his wishes without any further delay. After this, the discussion being ended, Willibald departed at Easter¬time, reaching his journey’s end on the Feast of St. Andrew. Tidbercht, however, remained behind at St. Benedict’s.

He went to Lucca, where his father was buried, and thence to the city of Pavia, from there to Brescia and thence to a place which is called Garda. Then he came to Duke Odi

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After this, a priest who came from Spain to St. Benedict’s and stayed there asked permission of Abbot Petronax to go to Rome. When the permission was asked Petronax without hesitation begged Willibald to accompany him and take him to St. Peter’s. He gave his consent at once and promised to fulfil the mission. So they set out, and when they came to Rome and entered the basilica of St. Peter they asked the protection of the heavenly keeper of the keys and commended themselves to his kindly patronage.

Then the sacred Pontiff of the Apostolic See, Gregory III, hearing that the venerable man Willibald was there, sent for him to come into his presence. And when he came to the Supreme Pontiff he fell down at once on his face to the ground and greeted him. And immediately that pious Shepherd of the People began to question him about the details of his journey and asked him earnestly how he had spent seven years travelling to the ends of the earth and how he had contriv

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Embarking once more, they came to a city called Naples and remained there several days. It is the seat of an archbishop whose dignity is great there. Not far away is the small town of Lucullanum, where the body of St. Severinus is preserved. Then he came to the city of Capua, and the archbishop there sent him to the bishop of another town; that bishop sent hiln to the Bishop of Teano, and he in turn sent him to St. Benedict’s [at Monte Cassino]. It was autumn when he reached Monte Cassino, and it was seven years since he first began his journey from Rome and ten years in all since he had left his native country.

The return of the legates to Rome was occasioned by the excommurucation clf Leo the Isaurian in 728, who had threatened Pope Gregorv II.

See the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, iv. c. 30. Theodoric was supposed to have been cast into hell for having imprisoned and caused the death of Pope lohn V and for having killed Symmachus, the Senator. Arculf&#

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They were there for a long time waiting for a ship to get ready. Afterwards they sailed during the whole of the winter, from the feast of St. Andrew [30 November] until a week before Easter. Then they landed at the city of Constantinople, where the bodies of three saints, Andrew, Timothy and Luke the Evangelist, lie beneath one altar, whilst the body of St. John Chrysostom lies before another.

His tomb is there where, as a priest, he stood to celebrate Mass. Our bishop stayed there for two years and had an alcove in the church so that every day he could sit and gaze upon the place where the saints lay at rest. Thence he went to Nicea, where formerly the Emperor Constantine held a council at which three hundred and eighteen bishops were present, all taking an active part.

The church there resembles the one at Mount Olivet, where our Lord ascended into heaven; and in the church are all the portraits of the bishops who took part in the Council. Willibald went there

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Then they travelled across a wide plain covered with Olive trees, and with them travelled an Ethiopian and his two camels, who led a woman on a mule through the woods. And as they went on their way, a lion with gaping jaws came out upon them growling and roaring, ready to seize and devour them; it terrified them greatly. But the Ethiopian said: “Have no fear-let us go forward.”

So without hesitation they proceeded on their way and as they approached the lion it turned aside and, through the help of Almighty God, left the way open for them to continue their journey. And they said that a short time after they had left that place they heard the same lion roaring, as if in his fury he would devour many of the men who went there to gather olives.

Between Tyre and Ptolomaeis

When they came to the town which is called Ptolomaeis, which stands by the edge of the sea, they continued their journey and reached the summit of Libanus, where that mounta

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The remains of the church of St. George, who was said to have been born there, are still to be seen: they have been restored as a Greek Church. Arculf gives the first account of St. George known to have been circulated in Britain. It is worthy of notice that the north of England where his narrative was well known, had a great devotion to St. George, a piace being assigned to him in the Anglo¬Saxon ritual of Durham, which is probably of the early ninth century. A “Passilon of St. George ” was written by Aelfric, Archbishop of York, A.D. 1021¬51. Arculf describes the marble column to which St. George was bound whilst being scourged.

He then travelled over three hundred miles to the town of Emesa in Syria, and thence he came to Salamias[1] which is on the farther borders of Syria. He spent the whole season of Lent there because he was ill and unable to travel. His companions, who were in his party, went forward to the King of the Saracens, named Murmumni, to ask

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After praying there, they departed and care to a large town called Thecua: this is the place where the Holy Innocents were slaughtered by Herod. A church stands there now. In it rests the body of one of the prophets. Then they came to the Laura [Halsall” i.e. monastery] in the valley: it is a great monastery and there resides the abbot and the doorkeeper who keeps the keys of the church.

The mountain surrounds the valley

Many are the monks who belong to that monastery, and they dwell Scattered round the valley on the summits of the hills where they have little cells cut out for them from the stony rock of the hills. The mountain surrounds the valley in which the monastery is built: there lies the body of St. Saba.

St. Saba founded the monastery in A.D. 483 and was made by the Patriarch of Jerusalem archimandrite over all the monasteries of Palestine.

Thence they came to the spot where Philip baptized the eunuch A small church stands th

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In the valley there is a church of our Lady andl the church is her tomb (not that her body lies at rest there, but as a memorial to her). After praying there, he climbed Mount Olivet,which is near to the valley at its eastern end-the valley lies betveen Jerusalem and Alount Olivet. On Mount Olivet there is now a church on the spot where our Lord prayed before His passon and said to his Disciples: ” Watch and pray that ye enter nct into temptation.” Then he came to the very hill whence our lord ascended into heaven.

In the centre of the church is a bsautiful candlestick sculptured in bronze: it is square and stands ia the middle of the church where our Lord ascended into heavel In thle middle of the bronze candlestick is a square vessel of glass, and in the glass is a small lamp, and round about the lamp, c]osed on all sides, is the glass. The reason why it is closed on all sides is that the lamp may burn both in good weather and bad.

Between the pill

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Inside there is the slab on which the body of our Lord lay, and on this slab flfteen lamps of gold burn day and night; it is situated on the north side of the interior of the tomb and lies at one’s right hand as one enters the tomb to pray. In front of the door of the sepulchre lies a great square stone, a replica of that first stone which the angel rolled away from the mouth of the sepulchre.

The centre of Jerusalem

On the Feast of St. Martin our bishop came there, and as soon as he reached the spot he began to feel sick and was confined to his bed until a week before Christmas. Then when he recovered and began to feel a little better he got up and went to the church called Holy Sion, which stands in the centre of Jerusalem.

He prayed there and then went to Solomon’s Porch, where there is a pool at which the sick used to lie waiting for the angel to move the waters, after which the first who went down into them was cured: this is where ou

Alexius Part 3

Certainly the most effective of his methods for conciliating Tutach was, speaking broadly, a kind of offering the right hand of friendship; his words were these; “The two, your Sultan and my Emperor, are friends! This barbarian Ursel is lifting his hand against both, and he is a most dangerous foe to both, for he keeps on attacking the latter, and is always stealing away a bit here and there from the Roman Empire, and, on the other hand, he is robbing Persia of parts of Persia which might have been preserved to her. In all this he uses great art, for at present he is overshadowing me by your help, and then later, at a propitious moment, he will leave me when he thinks himself secure, and turn round again and attack you.

So if you will listen to me, you should, when Ursel next comes to you, seize him with superior numbers and send him captive to us. If you do this,” he continued, ” you will gain three things;— firstly, such a sum of money as no one ever

Michael IV part 27

Roman forces in Sicily and it was not long before all Maniaces’ conquests

49. Not strictly correct. John was speaking of his brother-in-law, Stephen, husband of his sister Maria and father of the young Caesar. He was made admiral of the Roman fleet in Sicilian waters in 1035 and suffered heavy defeats there in the war against the Carthaginians. He incurred the righteous indignation of his colleague, George Maniaces, for his inefficiency and it was through his intrigues that Maniaces was recalled (cf. Constantine IX, ch. 76). Subsequently he became commander-in-chief of the Roman forces in Sicily and it was not long before all Maniaces’ conquests were nullified (1040). He undoubtedly owed his position to his brother-in-law.

50. Cf. note 49.

51. St. Cosmas and his brother St. Damian were put to death in the Diocletian persecution at the beginning of the fourth century. They had been physicians and made no charge for their medical services (h

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His respiration was laboured already and he was beginning to breathe his last, so he again went to his couch and lay down. For a little while he was silent, for he had lost the power of speech and his breathing was difficult. Then he gave up his soul to God.

In the course of his reign, Michael had done and planned many things; in few had he met with failure. For my own part, when I examine his deeds and compare successes with failures, I find that the former were more numerous and it does not appear to me that this man failed to attain the higher life. In fact, I am convinced that he did obtain a better lot.

55. So he died, in the moment of great victory, after a reign of seven years, and on the very day when he received the tonsure.**63 Yet there was no magnificent funeral or burial-place for him when his life on earth was done, for he was buried in the church itself, on the left side as you enter, beside the holy altar.

Book Four Notes