Although many were entrusted with the war against him, men of high reputation for bravery and of very great knowledge of war and fighting, yet he openly baffled even their long experience. For sometimes he would take the offensive himself and rout his opponents by his meteor-like attacks, and at others he obtained help from the Turks, and was quite irresistible in his onrushes, so that he actually overpowered some of the most powerful chieftains, and utterly confounded their phalanxes. I At that time, my father Alexius was under his brother, and openly served as lieutenant under this man, who was invested with the command of all the armies, both of the East and the West.
Then, just when the affairs of the Romans were in this critical condition, with this barbarian rushing upon everything like a thunderbolt, my brilliant father Alexius was thought of as the one man able to resist him, and appointed absolute commander by the Emperor Michael.
Hannibal the Carthaginian
Accordingly he summoned up all his shrewdness and the experience he had gained as general and soldier, and that too, by the way, he had not had much time to gather. (But thanks to his exceeding love of industry and ever alert intellect, the picked men among the Romans considered him to have reached the acme of military experience, and regarded him as that famous Roman Aemilius, or Scipio, or Hannibal the Carthaginian, for he was quite young, and had still “the first down on his cheeks” as the saying goes).
This youngman captured Ursel as he rushed with might against the Romans and restored the affairs of the East within the space of a few days; for he was quick at discovering what was expedient, and still quicker in executing it. The manner of his capturing Ursel is told at length by the Caesar in the second book of his history of his own times; but I will relate it too in as far as it concerns my history.
II The barbarian Tutach [# or “Tutush”] had just then come down with a considerable army from the depths of the East to ravage the Roman territory. Ursel was often hard pressed by the general, and losing one fortress after another in spite of his large army and his men being excellently and generously equipped, because in ingenuity he was far surpassed by my father Alexius, and he therefore determined to seek refuge for a time with Tutach.
Finally, in absolute despair, he arranged a meeting with Tutach, offered him friendship, and earnestly solicited him to form an alliance. However, the general Alexius met this by a counter-stratagem, and was the quicker in winning over the barbarian, and attracting him to his side by words and gifts and every means and device. For he was inventive beyond ordinary men, and could find a way out of the most impossible situations.
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