Alexius Part 13

Hereupon, as the army of Bryennius could no longer put up any resistance (for by now all, both men and horses, were sorely wounded), they turned their standard to retreat, and offered their backs as a target to their foes. But Bryennius himself, although very weary from fighting, shewed his courage and mettle. For at one minute, he would turn to right or left to strike a pursuer, and at the next, carefully and cleverly arrange the details of the retreat. He was assisted by his brother on the one side, and his son on the other, and by their heroic defence on that occasion they seemed to the enemy miraculous.

As Bryennius’ horse was now very weary, and unable either to flee or pursue (in fact, it was pretty well at death’s door from continuous coursing), he halted it, and, like some brave athlete, stood ready for the grip, and called a challenge to two highborn Turks.

Bryennius’ right hand

One of these struck at him with his spear, but was not quick enough to give him a heavy blow before receiving a heavier one himself from Bryennius’ right hand. For Bryennius with his sword succeeded in cutting off the man’s hand, which rolled to the ground, spear and all. The second man leapt off his own horse, and like a panther, darted on to that of Bryennius, and planted himself on its flank, and clung tightly to it, and tried to get on its back. Bryennius kept twisting round like an animal in his endeavours to stab him with his sword.

However, he did not succeed, for the Turk behind his back escaped all the blows by bending aside. Therefore, when his right hand was exhausted from only encountering emptiness, and the athlete’s strength gave out, he surrendered there and then to the whole body of the enemy. So the soldiers-seized him. and with a feeling of haying won great glory , led him away to Alexius Comnenus, who happened to be standing not, far from the spot where Bryennius was captured, and was busy drawing up his own men, and the Turks, into line, and inciting them to battle. News of Bryennius’ capture had already been brought by heralds, and then the man himself was placed before the General, and a terrifying object he certainly was, both when fighting, and when captured.

And now, having secured Bryennius in this manner, Alexius Comnenus sent him away as the prize of his spear to the Emperor Botaniates, without doing any injury whatsoever to his eyes. For it was not the nature of Alexius to proceed to extremities against his opponents after their capture as he considered that being captured was in itself sufficient punishment, but after their capture he treated them with clemency, friendliness and generosity. This clemency he now displayed towards Bryennius, for after his capture he accompanied him a fair distance, and when they reached the place called … he said to him (for he was anxious to relieve the man’s despondency and restore hope in him); “Let us get off our horses and sit down and rest awhile.”

Read More about Antiochus Strategos part 3

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