They shared their secrets. They stood side by side in their campaign against John, knowing that he, on his part, was scheming against them. If he had his way, then their plans would be frustrated and some other member of the family would sit on the throne. Under these circumstances, therefore, it was to be expected that the Caesar would promote Constantine to the dignity of Nobilissimus, so soon as he himself had been crowned emperor. Constantine became his boon companion, amply rewarded for the loyalty he had displayed before Michael’s accession.

9. At this stage, I will interrupt the narrative for a few moments while I pass some preliminary comments on the emperor’s mental and spiritual outlook. My readers may possibly be saved from a feeling of perplexity when I describe his actions later; they will not be surprised when they see in them a lack of premeditation and a certain irrelevance, qualities which had their origin in the complex fortunes of his life. The outstanding characteristic of the man, indeed, was his interest in a great variety of subjects and an extraordinary facility in moving from one subject to another.

Several examples of mens

A second peculiarity was the contradiction in the man between heart and tongue — he would think one thing and say something quite different. Men would often stir him to anger and yet meet with a reception of more than usual friendliness when they met him, while he assured them most solemnly that he had their interests close at heart and regarded them with feelings of sincere attachment. There were several examples of mens who at dawn the next morning were destined by him to undergo the most horrible tortures, being made to share his table at dinner the evening before, and to drink from the same cup as himself.

As for the names denoting family-relationship — I would go further than that and say even the actual relationship itself — to him they were so much nonsense. He. would not have cared one jot if a single wave had overwhelmed and engulfed the lot of them, all his kith and kin at once. He was jealous of them, not only in the matter of government — that was natural enough — but he grudged them the elementary necessities of life and any little luck that came their way. If power was to be shared, it would be with someone quite insignificant, or with nobody at all.

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