Indeed it was a strange sight to see that great giant, who was really prodigious, held captive by a little dwarf of a Scythian. When sending away the captured, Cantacuzenus ordered that the Scythian pigmy should lead in that monster bound in chains to the Emperor, thinking perhaps to amuse the Emperor. As soon as the Emperor heard of their arrival, he seated himself on the imperial throne and ordered the prisoners to be brought in ; amongst them came the Scythian scarcely reaching to the waist of the gigantic Frank he dragged in chains. Immediately all present burst into a roar of laughter. The other Counts were consigned to prison. . . .

VII The Emperor had barely time to light up with a smile at Cantacuzenus’ success before a second, most calamitous message arrived, announcing an incredible slaughter of the Roman divisions under Carnytzes and Cabasilas. The Emperor’s spirit did not fail at all though he was smitten to the heart and worried, often sighing over the men that had fallen and occasionally even weeping for some individual. But he summoned Constantine Gabras, a true follower of Ares, a fire-breather against his enemies, and ordered him to go to the place called Petroula to find out by what road the Franks had entered the valleys and wrought such carnage, and to bar this passage against them for the future. But Gabras was discontented and, so to say, worried by the job (for he was a self-conceited person and longed to take a hand in great enterprises).

Husband of Caesar’s sister

Consequently he sent Marianus, Mavrocatacalon, the husband of my Caesar’s sister, a man of very war-like spirit who had shewn it in many valiant deeds and was dearly beloved by the Emperor, and with him a thousand very brave men He also selected to accompany them a number of the servants of the Porphyrogeniti and my Caesar who were longing to fight. However this man too was rather afraid of the task, but yet he went to his own tent to think about it. About the middle watch of the night letters arrived from Landulph, who was at that time with Isaac Contostephanus the Thalassocrator; in these he inveighed against the Contostepbani, namely Isaac, and his brothers Stephen and Euphorbenus, for neglect in guarding the strait-, of Lombardy, and for frequently going off to the mainland for a rest.

Part of the letter ran, “Even if you, O Emperor, try to prevent the raiding parties and excursions of the Franks with all your might and main, yet, if these men fail and go to sleep over their duty of guarding the straits of Lombardy, it naturally follows that the ships sailing across to Bohemund and conveying the necessaries of life can do so at their leisure. A little while ago the men who sailed across from Lombardy to Bohemund waited for a favourable wind to blow (for a strong south wind is most useful for crossing from Lombardy to Illyria, whereas the north wind is unfavourable).

Read More about Michael V Part 13

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