There the man who had just escaped one assassin would have been like to fall under the hands of another, had not the Divine hand held back the murderers from the deed. For a certain man who traced his descent on one side, although he was illegitimate, from the famous Aronii [*=The descendants of Aaron or Araon, a prince of Bulgaria] urged on the disaffected party to murder, and revealed this secret plot to his own brother Theodore. Whether others of the disaffected were also aware of this plan, I do not wish to say.
Anyhow, they had suborned a Scythian slave, Demetrius by name, to perpetrate the murderous deed (this slave’s master was none but Aaron himself). They fixed the Empress’s departure as the moment for its accomplishment and told the Scythian to seize an opportunity then and drive his sword into the Emperor’s side either when he met him in a comer or if he could catch him sleeping. And Demetrius with murder in his heart whetted his sword and got his bloody right hand ready. But justice then staged something new.
Empress to return to Byzantium
For, as the Empress did not leave the Emperor soon but kept on accompanying him as he enticed her further day after day, those murderers grew wearied when they saw that the Emperor’s sleepless guardian, I mean the Empress, still lingered near, so they wrote some libellous stuff (famosa) and threw it into the Emperor’s tent. (The men who threw it were not seen; and the word ‘famosa’ denotes scurrilous writing.) The writing advised the Emperor to proceed with his journey and the Empress to return to Byzantium. Now the law punishes such libels very severely; for it bums them in the fire and subjects their authors to the most excruciating punishments. But as they had missed their aim, they descended to the foolery of libelling.
After the Emperor had lunched and the majority of his attendants had retired and only Romanus the Manichaean and the eunuch Basilius Psyllus and Theodore, Aaron’s brother, were present, a libel was again found thrown under the Emperor’s couch ; it contained a fierce invective against the Empress because she accompanied the Emperor and had not gone back to the capital sooner. For their design was to secure complete freedom of action. But the Emperor knew who had thrown it, and said very angrily with a nod to the Empress, ” Either you or I or one of these here present threw this.” At the bottom of the paper was written “I, a monk, write this; at present, Emperor, you do not know me but you shall see me in your dreams.”
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