Now one Constantine, a eunuch, who had been the table-servant of the Emperor’s father and now waited on the Empress, was standing outside the tent one night about the third watch and singing the appointed hymns when he heard someone shout, ” If I do not go in and tell him all you have planned and also all about the silly libellous writing you threw in, then let no one any longer count me a man! ” Constantine at once ordered his own servant to go and catch the man who was talking. He went, recognized Aaron’s servant, Strategius, bound him and led him to the Prefect of the table. Directly he was brought in, he disclosed all he knew; and Constantine took him and conducted him to the Emperor. But at that moment their Majesties were asleep.

Assassinate the Emperor

However, he met the eunuch Basilius and compelled him to go and report all he had told him about Aaron’s man Strategius. So Basilius went in at once and took Strategius with him. Directly the latter was questioned, he disclosed with great clearness the whole drama of the foolish libels, also named 1he man who had arranged the murder and even the very fellow hired to assassinate the Emperor, ” My master Aaron,” he said, “conjointly with others, of whom thy Majesty is not quite ignorant, have plotted against thy life, O Emperor. And as thy murderer they suborned Demetrius, my fellow-slave, a Scythian by origin, with a very murderous disposition and strong arms, ready to dare anything, and of a very bestial and cruel mind.

To this man thev have handed a double-edged sword and given him this Aurnan order that he is to come up close and with unflinching boldness drive the sword into thy Majesty’s entrails.” But the Emperor (who was never ready to believe such tales) said, ” Is it not perhaps because you hate your masters and your fellow-servant that you have woven this accusation?

Come now, tell me as much as you know of the truth. For in case you should be found to be lying, your accusation will not be to your advantage.” But the fellow asserted that he was telling the truth, so was handed over to Basillus in order that he might give the latter the libellous writings. Basilius took him away and led him into Aaron’s tent where everybody was asleep, and there the man picked up a military wallet full of such writings and handed it to Basilius.

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