To him he was to pretend that he was a deserter and had come over to him because he hated being with the Emperor, and while professing friendship and a certain goodwill to the tyrant, he was to accuse those men openly to whom the letters were addressed. Saying that such and such a one, enumerating them all by name, had broken their pledge of loyalty to him and had become the Emperor’s friends and well-wishers and studied his interests, and that Bohemund should be on his guard lest they should suddenly commit some violence, long since planned against him. Moreover the Emperor told him that the plan had been devised in order that Bohemund should do no harm to the letter-carriers.
For the Emperor was concerned to keep the men he had suborned safe and, still more, to upset Bohemund’s affairs thoroughly. And he did not merely say and counsel this without actual effect, but the man mentioned approached Bohemund and, after ensuring the letter-carriers’ security on oath, he disclosed everything to him according to the Emperor’s promptings. When questioned where he thought they would be now, he said they must have passed Petroula. So Bohemund sent and detained those letter-carriers and after opening the letters turned quite faint and nearly fell, for he believed they were true.
Then he arranged that those men should be closely guarded and he himself remained in his tent, without coming forth for six days, debating with himself what he ought to do. He revolved many plans in his head; ought he to call for the constables and openly tell his brother Guido the suggestion made against him? and ought they to be brought to him after examination or without examination? and-another question–whom was he to appoint constables in their place ? For he reflected that, if these men who were pre-eminent for valour, were removed, his cause would suffer great injury, so he settled the matter in the only permissible way (and I fancy he suspected the hidden meaning of the letters), for he met them cheerfully and with full confidence allowed them to retain their positions.
V After the Emperor had posted a considerable number of troops under picked leaders on all the mountain-passes, he further blocked all the paths against the Franks with large piles of timber, called ‘xyloclasiae.’ He speedily appointed Michael Cecaumenos to be the tireless guardian over Valona, HiericoandCanina. Petroula received as governor Alexander Cabasilas with a mixed body of infantry-he was a man of intrepid spirit who had routed many Turks in Asia. Devra was held by Leo Nicerites with an adequate garrison, and to Eustathius Camytzes had fallen the duty of guarding the passes near Arbanum. From the very starting-line, as the saying is, Bohemund had sent his brother Guido and a Count called Saracenus and Contopaganus against Cabasilas.
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