8. So we went up to him. How she felt about it I do not know, but I was most agitated. A sudden fit of trembling shook me through and through. She sat down on her son’s bed, called him ‘her emperor’, ‘her best of sons’. ‘Rise up,’ she said, ‘and receive your step-father. Although he takes the place of your father, he will be a subject, not a ruler.

I, your mother, have bound him in writing to observe this arrangement.’ Well, the young man got up from his bed at once, and although he looked at me suspiciously I have no idea what he was thinking. Together with his mother he left the room in which he had been sleeping, and immediately came face to face with the new emperor. Without the slightest trace of emotion, his visage quite expressionless, he embraced Romanus, becoming at once his colleague on the throne and his friend.

9. Thereupon the Caesar was also summoned.**256 Never were his diplomatic qualities seen to better advantage. First he made some tactful inquiries about his nephew the emperor, then added a few words of commendation in praise of Romanus. This was followed by congratulations for all the imperial party. One could almost hear him singing the wedding song and see him taking his fill from the nuptial drinking-bowl. And that is how the government of the Empire passed into the hands of the next sovereign, Romanus.**257

The Reign of Romanus Diogenes

10. This emperor, Romanus, son of Diogenes, came of an ancient and distinguished family. Only in one respect was it dishonoured — by his father. The latter had been arrested on a charge of attempted revolution during the reign of Romanus Argyrus and had committed suicide by hurling himself over a precipice. There were occasions when he did act in a straightforward fashion, but for the most part he was a hypocrite and a braggart.

Even Romanus himself did not escape the imputation of treachery at the time, but any designs he may have cherished during the rest of his life passed unnoticed, until Eudocia became empress (I have described this lady in the preceding chapters). It was not until her reign that he revealed his secret intentions. He was at once apprehended, and his audacity would have met with its just deserts, had not the empress exercised her clemency on his behalf and saved him from condemnation — an error of judgment on her part. She ought to have put him to death.

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