Alexius Part 8


    These were given to Alexius, my father, and at the same time allied troops were called for from the Turks, and the Emperor’s Council ordered Alexius to start and engage in battle with Bryennius, for he relied not so much on the army accompanying him as on the man’s ingenuity and cleverness in military matters. Alexius did not wait for the allies as he heard that the enemy was pushing on fast, but armed himself and his army, marched out from the Royal City, and passing through Thrace, pitched his camp without palisades or trenches near the river Halmyrus.

    For learning that Bryennius was bivouacking in the plains of the Cedoctus, he determined to interpose a considerable distance between his own and the enemy’s armies. For he was not able to face Bryennius, for fear that the state of his forces might be detected, and the enemy have an opportunity of observing of what numbers his army consisted. Because he was on the point of fighting with inexperienced against experienced warriors, and with few against many, he abandoned the idea of making a bold and open attack, and intended to win a victory by stealth.

    Alexius Comnenus

    V Since our story has now placed these two in opposition, Bryennius and. my father, Alexius Comnenus, both brave men (for neither was a whit behind the other in courage, nor did the experience of the one surpass that of the other), it is worth our while to place them in their lines and hostile array, and thence to view the fortune of war. (They certainly were both handsome and brave men, and were their bravery and experience weighed, the balance would stand level; but we must try to understand how fortune inclined it to one side.

    Bryennius, in addition to his confidence in his forces, was protected by their experience and orderliness, whereas Alexius, on the other hand, centred but few, and those very meagre, hopes on his army, but as counter-defence, could rely on the strength of his scientific knowledge and his strategic device.

    Now when they were aware of each other, and the right moment for battle had come, Bryennius, on being informed that Alexius Comnenus had cut off his approaches and was encamped near Calaura, drew up his troops in the following order and marched against him. He posted the main army on the right and left wings, and gave the command of the right to his brother John; the men in this wing numbered 5,000, and were Italians, and those belonging to the detachment of the famous Maniaces, as well as some horse-soldiers from Thessaly, and a detachment, of no mean birth, of the “Hetaireia.” The other, the left wing, was led by Catacalon Tarchaniotes, and was composed of fully-armed Macedonians and Thracians, numbering in all about 3,000. Bryennius himself held the centre of the phalanx, consisting of Macedonians and Thracians, and the picked men of the whole nobility.

    Read More about Alexius Part 38


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