For the whole of that winter he made plans and examined every comer to see at which point Dyrrachium could be taken. But when spring began to smile, since he had made his troops cross once for all, he set fire to his ships of burden, his cavalry-transports and, as I might say, his military ships. This was partly a strategic movement to prevent his soldiers from looking towards the sea, partly too it was due to the compulsion of the Roman fleet; and then he gave his whole attention to the siege. To begin with he surrounded the city completely with his barbarian army and indulged in skirmishing. (In reply to this the archers of the Roman army shot at them, sometimes from the towers of Dyrrachium and sometimes from a distance.) He would also send out divisions of the Frankish army who would engage us in battle or be engaged by us.
He took Petroula and the fort called Mylus, which lies on the other side of the river Diabolis, and other such towns in the neighbourhood of Dyrrachium he received as his portion by the law of war. These things he did by military force; but at the same time he was constructing machines of war, building movable sheds (or ‘tortoises’) with towers and battering rams, and other sheds- to protect the diggers and the sappers, he worked all the winter and summer, and by his threats and deeds terrified the men who were already terrified. But even so he could not shake the Roman power in the slightest. And the question of commissariat was becoming very difficult for him.
Consequently a severe famine overtook
For all the food-stuffs he had originally brought in as plunder from the country round Dyrrachium had been used up already, and the sources from which he had hoped to get further supplies were blocked by the Roman soldiery who occupied the valleys and passes and even the sea-board itself. Consequently a severe famine overtook them, consuming both horses and men alike, as the horses had no fodder and the men no food. In addition to this the barbarian army was seized with a disorder of the stomach, apparently due to some unsuitable cereal, that is millet; but in reality the wrath of God swooped down upon this innumerable and irresistible army and caused continuous deaths.
III However, this misfortune seemed light to the man of tyrannical mind who threatened to destroy the whole world. In spite of it he still went on contriving, and gathered himself together like a wounded beast, and, as we have said, his whole mind was concentrated on the siege.
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