Instead, whether in desperation, or because he was more confident than he should have been, he marched to the attack, without taking adequate measures to protect his rear. The enemy, seeing him advance, decided to lure him on still further and ensnare him by cunning. They therefore rode on ahead of him and then retired again, as though the retreat was planned. By carrying out this manoeuvre several times, they succeeded in cutting off some of our generals, who were taken captive.**267
20. Now I was aware (though he was not) that the Sultan himself, the King of the Persians and Kurds, was present in person with his army, and most of their victories were due to his leadership. Romanus refused to believe anyone who detected the Sultan’s influence in these successes. The truth is, he did not want peace. He thought he would capture the barbarian camp without a battle. Unfortunately for him, through his ignorance of military science, he had scattered his forces; some were concentrated round himself, others had been sent off to take up some other position. So, instead of opposing his adversaries with the full force of his army, less than half were actually involved.**268
Danger and fighting courageously
21. Although I cannot applaud his subsequent behaviour, it is impossible for me to censure him. The fact is, he bore the whole brunt of the danger himself. His action can be interpreted in two ways. My own view represents the mean between these two extremes. On the one hand, if you regard him as a hero, courting danger and fighting courageously it is reasonable to praise him: on the other when one reflects that a general, if he conforms to the accepted rules of strategy must remain aloof from the battle-line, supervising the movements of his army and issuing the necessary orders to the men under his command, then Romanus’s conduct on this occasion would appear foolhardy in the extreme, for he exposed himself to danger without a thought of the consequences. I myself am more inclined to praise than to blame him for what he did.**269
22. However that may be, he put on the full armour of an ordinary soldier and drew sword against his enemies. According to several of any informants, he actually killed many of them and put others to flight. Later, when his attackers recognized who he was, they surrounded him on all sides. He was wounded**270 and fell from his horse. They seized him, of course, and the Emperor of the Romans was led away, a prisoner, to the enemy camp, and his army was scattered. Those who escaped were but a tiny faction of the whole. Of the majority some were taken captive, the rest massacred.
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