Michael IV part 2


    3. This proclamation was arranged in the evening by the new emperor’s personal friends. Immediately afterwards, a twofold order was sent to the City Eparchus. He, with all the Senate, was to come to the palace at dawn, and, with them, he was to prostrate himself before Michael; next, he was to carry out, also with their co-operation, the customary obsequies for the deceased Romanus.**44 Accordingly they presented themselves for these duties. Entering one by one they bowed their heads to the ground before the royal pair, who were seated on thrones. To the empress only this homage was rendered; in the emperor’s case, the ceremony of kissing the right hand was carried out as well.

    Funeral ceremony for the defunct Romanus

    Thereupon Michael was proclaimed emperor and sovereign, and without more ado he set himself to consider the best interests of his Empire. The funeral ceremony for the defunct Romanus, who had been laid out on a magnificent bier, was already prepared, and the whole assembly went out to pay their respects to their dead emperor in the usual fashion. One of those who preceded this bier was John the Eunuch, whom I will discuss at the appropriate point in my history.

    4. I saw this funeral procession myself. I had not yet grown a beard and only recently had I applied myself to the study of the poets. Examining the dead man, I did not really recognize him, either from his colour or outward appearance. It was only because of the insignia that I guessed the dead man had once been emperor. His face was completely altered, not wasted away, but swollen, and its colour was altogether changed. It was not that of a corpse, but rather reminiscent of men swollen and pale from drinking poison, so that they appeared absolutely bloodless beneath the cheeks.

    The hair on his head and the hair of his beard were so thinned out that his corrupted frame was like a cornfield ravaged by fire — you can see the baldness of it from afar. If anyone wept for him, it was for that reason alone that their tears fell, for the whole populace, some because of the many evils they had received at his hands, others because they had enjoyed no favour, watched him go by or escorted the procession with their eyes fixed upon him, without one single word of respect.

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