Announce to the Emperor

After this he returned to Bohemund who had transferred his camp to the place he had chosen, and joining him, started on his way to the Emperor. In accordance with the previous arrangements the rest of the ambassadors remained behind with Guido, and Catacalon sent Manuel Modenus, his most loyal and trusty servant ahead, to announce to the Emperor that Bohemund was on the way to him. When the latter drew near to the imperial tent, all the details of his reception were carried out, as the ambassadors had agreed upon with him.

Directly he entered, the Emperor stretched out his hand and grasped his, gave him the customary greeting for kings, and placed him near the imperial throne. Now the man was such as, to put it briefly, had never before been seen in the land of the Romans, be he either of the barbarians or of the Greeks (for he was a marvel for the eyes to behold, and his reputation was terrifying).

Let me describe the barbarian’s appearance more particularly he was so tall in stature that he overtopped the tallest by nearly one cubit, narrow in the waist and loins, with broad shoulders and a deep chest and powerful arms. And in the whole build of the body he was neither too slender nor overweighted with flesh, but perfectly proportioned and, one might say, built in conformity with the canon of Polycleitus. He had powerful hands and stood firmly on his feet, and his neck and back were well compacted.

An accurate observer would notice that he stooped slightly, but this was not from any weakness of the vertebrae of his spine but he had probably had this posture slightly from birth. His skin all over his body was very white, and in his face the white was tempered with red. His hair was yellowish, but did not hang down to his waist like that of the other barbarians; for the man was not inordinately vain of his hair, but had it cut short to the ears. Whether his beard was reddish, or any other colour I cannot say, for the razor had passed over it very closely and left a surface smoother than chalk, most likely it too was reddish.

His blue eyes indicated both a high spirit and dignity; and his nose and nostrils breathed in the air freely; his chest corresponded to his nostrils and by his nostrils . . . the breadth of his chest. For by his nostrils nature had given free passage for the high spirit which bubbled up from his heart. A certain charm hung about this man but was partly marred by a general air of the horrible. For in the whole of his body the entire man shewed implacable and savage both in his size and glance, methinks, and even his laughter sounded to others like snorting.

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