But after all it was not Basilacius himself, but a very brave man of his suite who was not a tittle inferior in courage to Basilacius. Then Alexius with a heavy hand began a wild attack on them; he shot with arrows, inflicted wounds with his spear, uttered war-cries, confounded them in the darkness. He used the place, the time, everything, as a means to victory, and availed himself of them with unperturbed mind and unshaken judgment, and though men of both armies were fleeing in various directions, he discerned, in every case, whether he were friend or foe.
Then, too, a certain Cappadocian, called Goules, a faithful servant of my father’s, a hard-hitter, of ungovernable fury in battle, saw Basilacius, and making sure that it was he, struck him on his helmet. But he suffered the fate of Menelaus, when fighting against Paris; for his sword “shattered into 3 or 4 pieces,” [Iliad 3:363] fell from his hand, and only the hilt remained in his grip. The General seeing this straightway mocked at him for not holding his sword tight, and called him a coward, but when the soldier shewed him the hilt of his sword which he still grasped, he became less abusive.
Another man, a Macedonian, Peter by name, but nicknamed Tornicius, fell among the enemy and slew a number. The phalanx followed its leader though in ignorance of what was being done; for as the struggle was carried on in the dark, not all were able to grasp the course of events. Comnenus would attack that part of the phalanx which was still intact, and strike down all adversaries, and in a moment be back with his own men, urging them to break up that portion of Basilacius’ phalanx which still held its ground, and sending messages to the rear to bid them not to be so slow, but to follow him, and overtake him more quickly.
During this time, a Frank, belonging to the Domestic’s troops, and, to make a long story short, a brave soldier, instinct with the spirit of Ares, noticed my father coming out from the enemy’s centre, bare sword in hand, all smoking with blood, and took him for one of the enemy. In a trice he fell upon him, knocked him on the chest with his spear, and was within an ace of hurling the General off his horse, had the General not seated himself more firmly, and addressed the soldier by name, and threatened to cut off his head with his sword. However, the Frank, by pleading his want of recognition, and the confusion consequent upon a night-battle, was allowed to remain among the living!
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