Alexius Part 36

He did not after all leave even his son Roger behind, as he had first planned when he appointed him Count of Apulia, but changed his mind for some inexplicable reason, and took him with him too. During his crossing to Dyrrachium, the force which he had detached gained possession of the very strongly fortified town of Corfu, and certain other of our forts. After receiving hostages from Lombardy, and Apulia, and raising taxes and contributions in money from the whole country, Robert hoped to land at Dyrrachium. Duke of all Illyricum at that time was George Monomachatus, who had been appointed by the Emperor Botaniates.

Once, indeed, he had refused this ‘ Durazzo. mission, and he was by no means easily persuaded to take up this branch of service, but he finally went because two of the Emperor’s barbarian servants (Borilus and Germanus, Scythians by extraction) bore a grudge against him. These men were ever inventing scandalous charges against him, and denouncing him to the Emperor, for they strung together whatever tales entered their heads, and inflamed his anger against him to such a pitch that, turning to the Queen Maria, he actually said, “I suspect this Monomachatus of being an enemy to the Roman Empire.”

Departure for Epidamnus

John, one of the Alani, and a devoted friend of Monomachatus, heard this, and as he was aware of the Scythians’ spiteful and frequent accusations against him, he went to Monomachatus, and repeated to him both the Emperor’s words and those of the Scythians, and advised him to consult his own interests. Thereupon, Monomachatus, a prudent man, approached the Emperor, and after appeasing him with skilful flattery, eagerly accepted the post at Dyrrachium. So, having taken leave of the Emperor previous to his departure for Epidamnus, and receiving his orders about the Duchy in writing (and those Scythians, Borilus and Germanus, did their best to expedite the matter), he quitted the royal city on the morrow for his destination, Epidamnus and the country of Illyricum.

But he met my father Alexius near the so-called Pege; here a church has been built in honour of my mistress, the Virgin-mother of our Lord, which is famous among the churches of Byzantium. They saw each other there, and Monomachatus at once began an impassioned speech to the Great Domestic. He told him that he was being exiled because of their mutual friendship, and because of the envy of the Scythians, Borilus and Germanus. This covetous couple, he said, had turned the wheel, so to say, of their universal maliciousness against him in full revolution; and were now banishing him from his friends, and this beloved city, for seemingly good reasons.

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