Kekaumenos, Strategicon


On civilian responsibilities. . . .] an excellent man [lacuna in the MS] and another has been unjustly accused (?)[lacuna in the MS] and of an evil man, and unjustly [lacuna in the MS] is subjected to unusual extortion; and if it comes to your ears, do not remain silent, but defend him and hold out a helping hand, and check the evil as quickly as possible, importuning first the judge, and then the man who is dragging him into court. And if, after frequent entreaties, you find them incurably perverse and unyielding towards your request, if you can, make an outcry, expose them before everyone. I know that some inexperienced and ignorant people will criticise you and will jeer at you rudely and call you a loud-mouth, saying "What business is it of yours if he is treated unjustly? You yourself aren't undergoing any unjust behaviour from us". But don’t abandon this fine and pious action and leave the man who is being dragged unjustly into court to be tormented by them, just because of their jibes and insults. For I know for certain that even these people will respect you, when they see you wholeheartedly sticking by what is rightand eradicating injustice. If they make threats, don’t take fright, but be confident that God will help and will accept your whole-hearted endeavour quickly and carry it out; only let your endeavour be above conceit and vanity, and free from sordid greed.Don't say to yourself that it’s unnecessary to be disturbed and to urge yourself on and interpose in other people’s troubles, when God has made you competent to speak, and to champion another. Do not devalue the gift of the Right Hand on high, and make it appear useless and ineffective. For the Rich Man, whose way of life and whose wealth the evangelistproclaims most clearly, did not harm Lazarus at all, but when he could have helped him, did not do so. And, as for Pilate, nothing else procured his condemnation except his being able to acquit the Lord and not having done so. As he himself bore witness, saying to Christ, 'I have authority to release you' and to the Jews, ' I find no fault in this man'. And therefore he heard from the Master: 'You would have no power over me, if it had not been granted to you from above; but the man who delivered me to you has the greater sin'; and he made Judas the prime mover in the wrong, and Pilate second. Why was Pilate severely condemned? Because when he was able to release the Lord, he did not do so, even if perhaps what happened was divine dispensation. So take care that you, too, don't suffer the same thing, but, if you can, give help.And if it is a crowd who accuses, and you have the authority to judge, make a careful examination; and if you find that the crowd is speaking justly, give sentence humanely. But if the crowd has been roused against the man by intrigue or even by envy, proceed subtly and wisely, and deliver the accused man, and you will be the mouthpiece of God, and his man.Fear God more than man; for the chatterers will respect you the more for it. But don’t let your free-speaking get out of hand; let it be accompanied by humility and love of God. In all situations help the man in need; for the rich man is the pauper’s God, through his benefactions to him. For this reason even the Bulgarians call the rich man 'Bogatos', which means 'godlike'. But if you are one of the middle class, and cannot speak freely or give him what he desires, do what you can; give according to your capacity, help in times of trial, console him. If you are of an entirely inferior class, which I pray be not so, show compassion, share his grief, weep, be sorrowful; God will accept this as great, and will give you your recompense. Do not look to human rewards, but to God. And if someone has injured you, even so, when you find him in danger, suffering unjustly, hold out your hand to him. For you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Then you will give especial satisfaction to God and to men.Serving the emperorIf you serve the emperor, be particularly careful of slander against you, and keep your fall (from favour) daily before your eyes. For you don’t know what they are plotting behind your back. And if you are the emperor's first man, behave modestly, and don’t speak too freely; for honour and free-speaking expose men to envy. But even if the occasion demands that you speak freely, do so quietly, and with gentleness.Don't bear envy or a grudge against anyone; for the ways of those who bear a grudge lead to death. But if someone speaks against you, summon him privately and say to him, in a polite way: ‘Brother, how have I injured you, so that you criticise me? If you have been wronged by me in any way, say so, and I will put it right’. And if you have wronged him, put it right; if you haven't wronged him at all, he will respect your modest behaviour, and will stop. But if you choose to threaten him, using your authority, you will harm yourself; for then he will be more impudent, and will set traps for you, and will harm you in a way you don’t expect.If you choose to mediate on behalf of your friend, do so wisely, and with skill, but without much publicity, in case someone should suspect you and assume that you are doing so for bribes, and you should harm both yourself and the man on whose behalf you are acting.Don’t be led astray by bribes or by affection into issuing an imperial document or a letter according to (your) decision, but not approved; if you do, you will not only fall from your glory, but you will also have your property confiscated.Avoid conversation with irresponsible people, and take care when you converse with your companions, or with anyone else. If talk should turn to the subject of the emperor or the empress, don’t respond at all, but withdraw. For I have seen many people run into danger over this. For the fool talks jokingly, or else with cunning, and then turns round and will accuse you falsely of having said these things yourself. Even if he himself talked in all innocence, some other busybody will run and announce all this, and you will be called to account because you were found present there; and they will despise the man who spoke, and lay the blame on you. Be careful, my child, of things that seem to you contemptible; for these invite great dangers. I have seen many people run into danger under such circumstances.If indeed the emperor entrusts everything to you, and uses you as his mouthpiece in administering the things under his authority, don’t be arrogant, and don’t despise him. For men strive to reach such a level; but some, when they have done so, either by outstanding merit, or through zeal or by God's permission, finally grow careless, and fall into conceit, and are ruined. But you, if, from outstanding merit or through zeal, or by God's permission, you reach high position, which I pray may not happen, , do not be either contemptuous or elated, so that you are not brought down in a really serious fall; but even if, by God’s permission, you are successful, make every effort, with humility and zeal, to obtain the support of the merciful God.Do not be insatiable in receiving, but be impartial to everyone, and don't antagonise anyone for the sake of gifts, or you will fall into trouble. For what you have been given by official decision is enough for you.Avoid drinking parties; for a lot of futile chatter and nonsense goes on at them. I know that if you observe this rule, they will jeer at you for being unsociable and mean. But this is more to your advantage, than to go to a party, or to give one, and either to be slandered to the emperor on the grounds that the party was directed against him, or else to utter some foolish sentiment, and be criticised by your fellow-diners.So take care and pay extreme attention to the affairs of the City, so that nothing escapes your notice; have spies on every side, everywhere, in all the associations, so that whenever anything has been prepared, you learn about it. Similarly, too, matters in the frontier - and inner-provinces must not escape your notice. Don't allow sleep or rest to the men who arrive from abroad. Question them in private; for there are some people who are not naturally inclined to speak freely, but have something important to say, and don’t dare to.(W-J. xii). If you serve the emperor, and are of low rank, keep all possible watch on your speech, and be obedient to your superiors; choose to be last of all, and God will exalt you. Don’t be obstinate and unyielding, and disobedient to your superiors, but attend on them, only not persistently; for familiarity usually makes men contemptible.Serving an official(W-J. xi). If you serve an official, serve him as if he were not an official, or a man, but an emperor and a God. And if he is ignorant and incompetent, and you are bursting with knowledge and wisdom and capability, don’t despise him, or he will disgrace you. And don’t say, ‘He doesn’t dare to do anything nasty to me.’ For I have seen a lot of people ruined in this way.Perhaps you may say, ‘He’s a fool, and won’t know what I do.’ Noah, made drunk from the wine, lay senseless; yet he knew what Shem and Japheth did, and how Ham laughed at him, and he gave each his due. Don’t deceive him either in writing, or over a seal, or gold, or anything else; if you do so, and it is discovered, you will be a complete laughing-stock to everyone. Consider the future as present, and you won’t make a mistake. If he makes some slip, which affects the treasury, don’t make it common knowledge, not even if it harms you,but guard his secret vigilantly. If you make it public, from that moment everyone will flee from you as if from a snake.Respect your mistress, as you would your own lady, and your mother, and your sister. And if she wishes to play around with you, retreat, recoil. Converse with her with your head bowed.If your master is good to you, or admits you to his company, be with him; if he doesn't receive you, leave his presence peacefully. And if he has wronged you, don’t challenge him, but let it pass, and may Christ assist you.Being judge of a themeIf you are judge of a theme, don’t reach out your eyes and your hands to receiving bribes. For the man who pants after gifts walks in the darkness of ignorance, even if he is very learned, and full of all possible intelligence and knowledge. Be satisfied, instead, with what you have by official regulation. For they didn’t send you out to pile up money, but to give justice to those unjustly treated. Don’t favour anyone in a trial through affection, but if you have a great friend, <and> he is going to be condemned, avoid such a case, and don’t give judgementunjustly. For in the end you will be put to shame, and your friend will be condemned by the city judges. If you look to profit, the people who don’t give you bribes will not appear good men in your eyes, even if they are most excellent, and the people who do give to you will appear good, and your spirit will rest upon them, even if they are murderers. For it is a habit of people who appropriate bribes to formulate, in their own soul: 'From so-and-so I am going to receive this amount in bribes'. And if he gets it, he looks again to get a second and a third instalment; if he doesn’t get it, he will be angry, as though deprived of his own property, and the just man shall be as the wicked man. For hear what Habakkuk cries to the Lord: 'In my presence,' he says, 'a trial has taken place, and the judge took bribesand therefore the law is scattered to the winds, and judgement is not carried out fully, because the wicked man oppresses the just man; for this reason, the judgement will go out distorted'.But if someone should approach you, independently of any lawsuit, offering gifts quite freely, and saying, ‘Take these, I’m giving them to you out of affection for you’ - don’t take them. For even if he asks nothing of you at the time, yet after you’ve accepted them, he will tell you to draw up an illegal document for him; and if you do so, you are liable to be condemned by God, and by the Emperor, and by the city judges; but if you don’t do so, you will return with shame what you were given, at his demand.If an extra tax is imposed on the theme, and you have orders to carry it out,don't turn the public loss to your own profit; for this tax was not imposed in order that you should make a profit, and for those subjected to it, the payment of this infliction is enough.If a murder takes place, don’t let one man suffer in place of another, but only the man who dared commit this crime. For I have seen many innocent men brought to trial, and the guilty set free by paying money. And I remembered what Dio the Roman said: ‘Even the most trustworthy men are enslaved by well-chosen words and by money.’Let your clerks and the others in your service fear you; if they fear you, they won’t commit injustice. Don’t you, instead, fear them. How does this come about? From your being unjust yourself. For unless you were unjust, and your men had depositions against you, you wouldn’t fear them. For those who live justly are secure on all sides. But don’t choose to scare your men, and the others under your control, in any harsh or inopportune way, for they will hold it against you. Even if they are your subordinates, yet they are men as you are. And perhaps, just as now your subordinate requires your help, fate brings you to a fate where you require him to stretch out a hand to you. For I have seen this happen, and I marvelled at the instability of life.When your clerks speak against one of the inhabitants of the theme, don’t immediately be carried away by their words and roused to anger and punish him. For it is a habit of subordinates, that, if they receive something from someone, they praise him to their master and extol him, even if he is a murderer and a tomb robber; but if they don’t receive anything from someone, even if he is one of the good and noble, they are angry, as if they had been treated unjustly by him, and they go off to their master and provoke him against him, saying: ‘So-and-so insulted you, and doesn’t even consider you his chief, but as good for nothing.’ Furthermore, if through your clerk’s undisciplined behaviour some disturbance takes place, then, returning to you, he says: ‘He plotted all this, even if he pretended silence; unless such a man is brought to his senses, so that others learn by his example, there is no obedience there’; and patching together thousands of other things, he inflames you, his master, against the man who has done nothing wrong. When you set out to punish him, either the province, injured by his (the clerk’s) most unjust behaviour, will rise up against him, and then you shamefacedly make excuses, pleading ignorance, or else, if indeed you seize the innocent manand ill-treat him, He Who examines men’s hearts and innermost thoughts is provoked. When the story becomes known to your superiors, then everyone will criticise you. And if you lay the blame on your subordinate, you will hear them say: ‘You were his master, and not he yours.’So be careful of this sort of thing. Endeavour rather to achieve that your judgement be well-reasoned, and your verdict lawful and intelligent. And if you are challenged abusively, when your daily rough drafts are read by the city judges < they will praise> them as if they were Holy Scripture [......2......][......2......] boasters, and likewise the ugly. But you be fair to everyone, and you won't miss the true goal. 'Do not commend a man for his beauty nor abhor a man for his outward appearance. The Bee is little among the flying creatures, but her fruit is the first of all sweet things,' says Sirach. And others who appear very spirited are completely sluggish, generous with words but not with deeds; it is <not their> words, but their deeds that are to be believed.Being a secretaryIf you are a secretary, don’t let your master be ruined through your greed; instead endeavour that he may be praised through your behaviour and your activity. For he took you on for his own honour and support, not to provide cursing and shame.Being a scholarIf you are a scholar, or a philosopher, make every effort by your appearance and your words and by your activity and your deeds themselves to demonstrate your knowledge, and to show that your training and studying has not been in vain. Be both a domestic and a political (philosopher). By a political (philosopher), I don't mean like a mime or a buffoon, but I mean a political (philosopher) capable of teaching an entire city to do good, and of removing evil from it; so that not only those who see you may have love and respect for you, but also those who hear of your virtue and your understanding. Endeavour to make your knowledge evident to everyone by actions.


If you are a general, and have been entrusted with troops - and by ‘general’ I mean the man who presides over and leads an army - be alert by night and by day, and let your concern be how to win a victory over the foe.On campaign in enemy territoryIf you are in hostile territory, you should have many reliable and active scouts, the ones whom we usually call chonsarii; for through them you should learn both the strength of the enemyand his cunning. Without scouts it’s impossible to get any work done. Even if someone does act efficiently without them, this only happens rarely, and as a result of unforeseen circumstances. Don’t let your scouts know one another; for perhaps one of them may be captured, and may reveal who the other ones are as well. Have other chonsarii too, those called synodikoiSynodikoi are the ones who are sent out by you, eight or nine or ten or more of them, to make prisoners and get information. Don’t hold back in giving them rewards, especially when they do their work. Converse with them a lot, and observe them closely while you converse, to see which of them has a simple mind and which an ingenious, which one lies and which tells the truth. You need to know which of them is spirited or lazy, or daring or cowardly. Only don’t let them know your intentions - neither the scouts or anyone else. Make it your practice to learn daily where and how your enemy is situated, what he is doing, what he expects, how large an army he has, what he wants, how he is sending out his skirmishers, and whether he is doing so or not, whether he is cunning or whether he is straightforward. If he is straightforward, don’t despise him at all, or he will get the better of you, but treat him as cunning and make every effort to defeat him. You can’t find out about the enemy except by having many scouts.When you have acquired precise information about the enemy, then, if you are capable of resisting them, fight; but not carelessly, or you will destroy your army. Strive to wear down your enemy with ruses and artifices and ambushes, and last of all, if it is inevitable, fight. Don’t fight before trying him out and getting experience of him; for if you fight him before getting an experience of the enemy, you don’t know how you have to fight; and if you are beaten, then cowardice infiltrates your army; from then on you will proceed in cowardice and fear. But if you find a day is especially suitable, fight even before getting experience of him; only this seldom happens.Strive to protect your army; only don’t, under this pretext, fall into cowardice, but be daring and unflinching - not entirely daring, or you will come to grief, nor entirely timid. If you are timid, you make excuses, saying ‘The object of my striving is to protect my men’. But I will say to you; ‘If you wanted to protect your men, why did you go out into hostile territory? The reasonfor which either the foe came against you, or you against him, was in order to strive to win a victory; and a victory is not won except by artifice or by a general action’. I’m not telling you that you should not protect your men, nor instructing you to venture upon the impossible, but I’m telling you: ‘Do everything with understanding, and caution and zeal, so that you will not be open to blame either because of your daring or because of your apparent defensiveness’. So don’t be entirely timid or courageous, but let most of your actions be daring, and let those which are thought to be cowardly be wise and cunningly misleading; in this way you will be formidable to your adversaries.I considered showing you also how you should draw up your troops on the day of battle, but the earlier authors have set this out adequately, and you will find them sufficient. Draw up your battle formation in accordance with what you know of the foe. Some nations draw up their troops in a single line, others in a double line, others in scattered positions, coming in from different directions all round. Of all battle formations the Roman one is best and safest.You must realise that the ambush is the basis of every artifice of the enemy. You must be on your guard against these; for many people have been caught in them. But also lay ambushes yourself in places that are suitable and not open to view; and with God's help you will achieve a fine exploit.Be careful of deserters and men who run away to join you; for many desert as part of a plot by your opponents, treacherously, in order to deceive you and place you in the hands of your enemies, and in the end they themselves will run away. There are others who have fled to join you either in order to be rewarded by you, < or 'because of kindnesses received from you'> or because they have been injured by their own people, and it’s not meant that you should mistrust all of them. Only don’t trust them either; but if there are any deserters to your side, receive them gladly and reward them, and make good and abundant provision for them; but keep them well in view, and let them be under guard, only unknown to themselves, until you have found out privately about them - without their knowing that you are making investigations, or they would be offended. After you have made sure that they joined you in sincerity and wholeheartedly, let them be your companions.Pitch your camp in spacious and conspicuous places, if you have the men; but if you have only a small force, use obscure, safe places instead, so that they (the enemy) don’t spy you out and suddenly surround and then defeat you. It’s better if they don’t know the size of your forces, nor how your men are situated. If you have a large force, as was said above, camp in conspicuous places, and outside woods. Avoid marshy places and those which have an odour, because of (the danger of) diseases. The ancients said that the army should not spend many days in one place - for a smell arises, and from that diseases - and especially not in hostile territory, so as not to be reconnoitred by the foe, but that one should encamp in the kind of terrain where there will be rest for the men and animals, such as beside the banks of rivers, beside streams and springs. And they said well. I myself tell you this, as well: as far as the place allows you, work only for the safety of the army. Station groups of guards everywhere, both near and far, not only on the side from which you expect the enemy’s attack, but also where you don’t expect it, so that you needn’t say, later on: ‘I wasn’t expecting an attack from that side’. For I pronounce you condemned to pay with your life for the unexpected. I’ll say to you: ‘You had an enemy - how could you not expect trouble?’Converse with everyone and pay attention to each man’s words; and even if the man who says something good and wise to you is an insignificant person, don’t dismiss him; for perhaps God wishes to honour him and inspired him to say something wise - so don’t despise him because of his insignificance.Don’t let anyone know your plans, if you are fully competent; but if you are not sufficiently competent to make plans on your own, have only a few advisers - only let them be competent <and> reliable, so that they shan’t give you conflicting advice. Many people have come to grief through bad advisers, by listening to conflicting advice.If the enemy puts you off day after day, promising either to keep the peace or to pay tribute, you must realise that he is expecting help from somewhere, or else he intends to deceive you. If your opponent sends you presents or gifts, take them if you like; only realise that he isn’t doing this out of love for you, , but with the intention of buying your lifeblood with them. Don’t despise your opponents because they are foreigners, since they are rational, as you yourself are, and they possess natural wisdom and cunning.When you hear or see something unexpected, don’t take fright, but instead take a valiant stand, cheering on the men under you. For your army, seeing you unflinching, will regain their spirits, when they are in the grip of cowardice and fear, and if you have not been put to confusion, you may save your army. If you take fright, who is to encourage your army and put heart into them? Indeed, you will destroy your army entirely, and yourself as well. You may be sure that the man who takes fright cannot even escape, according to the psalmist; for he says: ‘Escape has been lost for me.’ Concern yourself not only with your <own> safety, but primarily with that of your army, and then your own, and God, seeing <that> you don't consider yourself alone, but also the many, will help you in order to save the many. What good is it to you if you escape and lose your army? Many men, in ignorance, have escaped, and lost their troops. Entrust everything to God, and pray to him whole-heartedly, both in your own and in alien territory, by night and day, and he will watch over you, and will help you against your adversaries. Only do your part yourself, and make an effort, and you will not fall. Whenever you have any success, it will be entirely God’s gift; for without God it is impossible to catch a sparrow.If you learn for certain that the enemy's chief, with whom you are at war, is intelligent, guard against his schemes; for he will think up every possible device and wickedness to get the better of you. Devise what you need yourself, as well - not only what you have learned and heard of from the ancients, but think up other new things, which are within the capacity of human nature to invent. Don’t say; ‘It wasn’t handed down to us by the ancients.’ I tell you that human nature possesses innate cunning and wisdom; just as those very ancients invented their devices, you make your own discovery yourself and win a victory. For certainly they were men just like you. If your opponent is a fool, fear him twice as much; for he will be all the more reckless, and attack you, either by night or by day, all of a sudden, or he will do something else that is quite alien to sensible people. So you must make yourself secure with all possible protection, and neither despise men who are simpler, nor tremble before the cunning.If your adversary sends people to you ostensibly with letters, you must realise that they have come in order to spy on you. If you only have a few men with you, try to give the impression of having a large force. You can’t do this unless you are encamped in rather wooded places; for in this way they can’t make out how large an army you have, when your men keep coming up, each from a different direction. If you choose to retain the envoys for some days, let them camp in a lower position, and accompanied by a trustworthy and competent man of yours, so that they don't spy on your army. Don’t let them walk about wherever they want, and don’t let them converse with anyone, until you give the order. But if you have something of importance, don’t let them enter the camp, but pretend that you are going out, either to hunt or for something else, and meet them out there; and when you have read their letters and given them substantial presents, write a reply and send them away. They will accept your gifts readily, and go off to their own people and praise you. It must be realised that the men who are sent as envoys are formidable and cunning, even if they put on a show of simplicity.It has been said by earlier authors that the general must inspire fear; others have said that he must be loved by his men. I haven’t accepted this, since they didn’t give a ruling as to how or in what way. Only I would say, , that if the general wishes to be dear to everyone he can’t become so from flogging or fines, nor presents and bribes; but he should be in the highest degree just, and above all bribes and gain, straight in seeing and in judging, and treating everyone in a straight, fair way. He should not prefer a man who, with bribes or documents,procures him shameful profit, nor fear him as an agitator and a loudmouth, nor should he despise a man for not giving him bribes, or for being gentle and calm, but (he should prefer) the man who does his work. Don’t let one man be rewarded for the work another man has done, while the man who has given his lifeblood remains empty-handed. If you observe these rules, you will be both fearful to everyone and loved by them.Punish the men who have gone wrong, but not all of them, nor in proportion to their wrongdoing, but humanely.You must realise that the man who gives you presents gives them for the purpose of purchasing your honour with them, wanting to lead you wherever he wants, either to punish innocent men with whom he himself is at odds, or to do something else. And then you won’t see with your own eyes, for you will be intoxicated with bribes, but you will decide the matters in a different way, making excuses in your lawlessness. I have seen many people condemned, even to death, through bribes. And don’t say: ‘Even if I should accept bribes, yet I should not swerve from the true end.’ For hear what David says to you: ‘Destroy not my soul with the wicked, and my life with the men of bloodin whose hands are crimes, and their right hand has been filled with bribes.’ Bear in mind what happened to Constantine the Great: how, without cause, he sentenced the three men to be beheaded, when he had been persuaded by the Eparch.If you have been able to do someone a kindness, and, after he has received the kindness, he should bring you gifts, when you have not asked him for anything nor reproached him, but of his own free will, and with much gratitude, take them; for if you don’t take them you will hurt him. But if it is a large amount, don’t take all, but half the amount, and return the rest to him, saying to him: ‘I have taken this amount in order that you should not be hurt, since I didn’t even want to take any at all’. Then the man himself will accept this, and so will the people who hear you. But before you have done good to a man, don’t take anything, nor agree to take anything, nor in any way allow this sort of thing to happen. If you observe this rule, you will be praised by men, and from God you will receive a hundredfold, and you will be rescued in the evil hour from deadly danger.Against those who go wrong use many threats, but few punishments. Show discernment in your dealings with everyone, and the Lord will not desert you.The people who have written on the subject of The General have laid down that, if the army is defeated, it should not go out to battle again for three seasons; and they ruled well on this,with the intention that the men should lose the cowardice in their hearts, and should reach, as it were, oblivion of their defeat. But I tell you, that if you are defeated - which I pray God may not happen - if you are able, in the same hour, or at least the same day, as your defeat, to collect together even a quarter of your men, don't be cowardly, like the coney-hearted, but take the men you have collected and attack the enemy - not, however, from in front, but first from behind or from the side, suddenly and unexpectedly, either on the same day as the defeat or that night; and I am firmly convinced that, with God's approval, you will destroy and completely annihilate him. For he, from the moment that he defeats you, will be entirely unworried, not expecting this sort of thing, but thinking that he has put an end to you. Act exactly like this - you won’t fail. For when he is unworried he will be an easy prey for you.We said earlier that, if you are the sort of man not to need anyone else's advice, do everything without other people's knowing. For the general who does not need another person's advice is worth as much as the whole army. Such a man was Pyrrhus the Epirote, and Hannibal the Carthaginian; even if, after those marvellous campaigns, they came to a bad end, yet it was not from any mistake of their own, but, in my opinion, because God approved this. Who will not marvel at the valiant deeds of the younger Scipio, the results of his good planning, and the campaigns of Belisarius, and of many others about whom the studious know? If you wish to consult any people, let them be few and trustworthy; only let some be brave and others timid, and compare the advice of both, and make your own plan on advice from both sides.Endeavour to surpass everyone in planning, in courage, in intelligence, in understanding, and in virtue. Don’t fear death, if you are going to meet it on behalf of your country and the emperor; rather fear a shameful and blameworthy life. Only don’t hurl yourself into danger pointlessly and without premeditation; for this sort of thing is to be blamed.Since those marvellous men who compiled books on military devices devised battering-rams and mangonels and many other machines, with which they captured cities, I too tell you to try one of their devices, and, if you can, to think up something new as well; for this is even more praiseworthy.You need to know which men in each company are braver and more resolute, so that, when you need either to pursue or to attack the enemy, you have them prepared, and whenever you say the word they may be ready to go off and carry out your command. Let the rest of the army be with you, unflinching, so that if anything unexpected happens to them they may fall back on you. If they have confidence in you, even their retreat will be free from confusion.See that this (ruse) doesn't escape your notice, either, when your adversaries display many banners, as if belonging to companies, and also many fires, not in proportion to their numbers, but ten times as many, scheming by this to throw you and your men into terror and dismay by appearing to be a great and immeasurable horde. Often opponents who had small forces, when they have used this device and terrified their opponents, have put them to flight.If your adversary should send you envoys and negotiate for peace, don’t dismiss them rudely, or He Who has ordained peace will be angry with you. If the payment imposed is gold, to be payed once only, submit to the imposition, and consent to a financial loss rather than massacres and incursions. Reckon up the impositions on your territory made by your opponents and by our own army, and the uncertainty of victory and defeat, and the suffering of the army, and you will find that the loss incurred in battle is great and immeasurable.But if your adversary also seeks for land to be given him from your land, do not consent, unless he shall agree to be subject and tributary to you; and only do this in the case of great necessity. For from this cause many problems and disturbances have come upon the Romans - <such as> the Ishmaelites in Egypt and Palestine in the time of Heraclius. Why, indeed, have I left aside recent events and gone back to ancient ones? For this is how the Patzinaks entered Romania; and I am sure that everyone knows how many miserable and lamentable things have come about thanks to them. From what cause do such things usually come about? I am sure that it is especially thanks to the inexperience of the frontier-commanders. For, because they have no experience of military knowledge or wisdom, and don't reckon up what is likely to result from this and what from that, but direct affairs without experience, and write and say to the emperors things to please them, not only events like these, but other, worse, ones come about. So in this life they deserve blame, and punishment; and even if they should escape the penalties imposed by men, they will not avoid the righteous judgement of God.If the enemy is inside a fortification and doesn’t come out, and you don't know the size of his forces, let me tell you that he only has a few men and no considerable force. Only don’t despise him on this account; but if you have a considerable force, don’t allow him to sit tight, but send out chonsarii to find a way for the army to get in at him. And don’t say, nor believe those who say to you, that there is no way. How can he guard a wide area? For his fortification has a limit on every side. When you find a way in, don’t you yourself stir, but stay there opposite the enemy, and send troops to enter where you have found the way. Let them have a competent man leading them; and, when they have got in, let them make a signal fire, if they got in by night, or, if by day, a smoke-signal. Pay attention so that, when you see them (the enemy) wavering and confused, you may attack them yourself. The story of Zagoria: This is how the porphyrogenitus Emperor Basil defeated fourteen thousand Bulgarians at the barricade at Zagoria, when they were under the command of the fine general Samuel.It is a laudable undertaking if, in every region which you visit, if you find abuses have set in, caused, either by the Treasury or by the tax-collectors, you should annul them, especially in the frontier regions. If you are unable to annul them, write straight out to the Emperor. For many regions have been lost from this cause, and plenty of people have gone over to enemy peoples and have lured them out against the Romans. The story of the army of Iberia: Such a thing happened in the days of the most pious Emperor Monomachos. When Serblias went out to Iberia and Mesopotamia with orders from him to take a census and impose taxes, which the men there had never seen in their region,- which he did, for he was most efficient at everything - he made them go over en masse to the King of the Persians; and they lured him out in full force against Romania, and filled that land with thousands of ills and disasters.On civil responsibilitiesIf you are released from active military service to your theme, don’t be careless, but be always at the ready; for you don’t know when they will need you. Don’t show affection to the man who procures money for you that comes from injustice, nor despise the local inhabitants, even if they are undistinguished, but show affection and mercy to everyone. Converse with everyone, and you will know when your men are acting unjustly. Then, when you are replaced, you will not leave secretly, but everyone will escort you on your way, and be sorry that you’re being replaced, and for many years they will have your virtue ringing in their ears. But if you look to sordid profits, you won’t even receive the profits that come from legal sources, and you will be accused and ruined; and the provincials will make the day of your replacement a special feast every year, and you will leave stealthily.On no account undertake a job for the treasury that involves collecting money; for you can't serve God and Mammon. You cannot be a general and a pen-pushing tax-collector.Flee from flatterers and those who converse with you in order to please you, as a man flees from a snake. Nor must you write or speak to anyone in order to please; perhaps for the moment you will be well-received. Rather, whatever you say, say it truthfully; and if it is harsh, at first they won’t receive you well, but eventually they will praise you very highly.When you are at leisure, and not busy with military duties, read military handbooks, and histories, and the books of the church. Don’t say: ‘What benefit is there for a soldier from dogmas and church books?’; for you will benefit a great deal. And, if you pay careful attention, you will gather from them not only dogmas, and edifying stories, but also maxims of intelligence, of morality and of strategy; for nearly all the Old Testament is stories of strategy. A diligent reader will also gather maxims of intelligence, as well as many from the New Testament. I want you to be such a man that everyone may marvel at your courage, and your good planning, and your knowledge and eloquence; and if you adopt and observe these rules you will be happy. I drew these things up for you - which are not in any other military manual nor in any other book - I drew them up from my own reflections, and from real experience; for they will benefit you a great deal. Follow up the stratagems of the ancients, as well; you won’t find these things there; but you’ll find other, better things, marvellous and full of wisdom.If a job comes up for you, whether a military or a private one - giving a judicial opinion, or taking charge of an army, or going out to the country or buying something, or anything else - if possible, do it, and don't put it off. If you hesitate, it won’t do you any good; for other jobs will be imposed on you as well, and you won't be able to carry them all out, and you will leave aside most of them, involuntarily, and against your will; or, if you do them in a hurry, you will do them in a disorganised way, not properly thought out.Guard against criticism; but if you are doing something good, and foolish people criticise you, don’t hesitate in what you are doing - it’s good for you to be criticised by many fools, rather than by one wise and experienced man.Be gentle and decent and modest; don’t let yourself be despised for an outward show of modesty, but keep your modesty within, and outwardly show yourself distinguished and exalted to those who see you. Endeavour to surpass all men in all things, in conversation and in dress and gait and actions. This is for when you are on campaign and in enemy territory; when you are in peace and at ease, be modest and simple through and through.Don’t overlook abuses. Some wise man says: ‘Punish with judgement, but not in anger.’ For if you disregard injustices, the Only Just disregards you.Not only don’t permit yourself to speak a shameful word, but not even to hear one.Don't choose to be a public man; for you can’t be both a general and a mime.Even if some people do behave like this as generals, it’s not well thought out but unsuitable. The man who converses and laughs without discipline is despised and criticised as undisciplined. The general should be a model and a pattern to everyone. If some unknown man behaved foolishly, even if he has made a mistake, no-one knows because of his insignificance: but if you, the general, have made the slightest and most unimportant error, you haven’t escaped notice, but immediately it's been poured out in everyone's hearing. Let me tell you a story of this sort. The story of Basil Pediadites (1040)Basil Pediadites, the Katepan of Sicily, when he had some days’ leisure, played at dice; but he did not escape the notice of the Emperor, who wrote to him as follows: ‘As my Majesty has learned, you have set up a dicing-table.’ His many services were not remembered, but his unimportant failing was.Compel your soldiers, above all, to have fine horses, and to have their equipment complete and polished, with harness and boots. You may be sure that if the soldier has a fine horse and clothes and equipment, if he is brave, he becomes twice as brave, and, if he is cowardly, you may be sure that he is encouraged, and becomes moderately efficient. If he is slovenly, with a big saddle, boots that don't fit, a horse that’s no good, you should know that, even if he is brave, yet he is certainly planning, prematurely, how to save himself by running away.Let the men under your command learn to be sensible, in emulating your way of life. Justice is a weapon of war.Frontier warfareIf there should be, in the frontier-region, any of the subject people who, for some reason, behave impudently, then, if necessary, take action to stop this, in an understanding way; if you choose to check it with anger and severity, you will make them more impudent, and you will destroy your land as well, and be ruined yourself too. Rather follow up some things with moderation, and pretend to be ignorant of others, so that they don’t know that you have adopted this procedure deliberately. For if they realise, either they may take fright and turn to revolt, or they will be overconfident and despise you. But if the matter does not admit of treatment in this way, then it must be dealt with with a strong hand; but see that you don’t fail in your aim, and endanger yourself. All the time, avoid doing this with any disturbance. If the enemy come out against you, and you learn for certain that you can’t stand and face them, don’t be ashamed to retreat backwards, but retreat from them and follow them, either from behind or on the flank. If you are secure, they won’t dare to deploy as they wish, nor will they raid your land, but they will be in close formation. If they decide to make a raid, and you come on them when they are scattered, and if you don’t hesitate, you will cut them to pieces; and if you don’t cut them to pieces, at least they won’t deploy as they wish. If you act like this, you keep both your land and your army in safety. If you fight them rashly, you will lose your menand the enemy will also wipe out your land without fear, and you will receive a punishment for not having been a good general.If you should approach to attack a enemy or a fortress, first make a camp, and when you have taken position, establish your men in the camp, each at his own post. But do not take position very near, so as not to be spied on by them. When you have established your army, and rested, then, if you wish, go into battle against the enemy, or, perhaps, their fortress. Hear what happened to people who did not observe this rule.The story of Alousianos (1040)Thessalonike is a <populous> city; <when Alousianos came> with a large host of Bulgarians to attack it, he did not set up his tent first in a suitable position, or place his army in camp, but, just as he came, with his baggage, he approached the walls, and began to fight. His men were exhausted by effort and hardship; for the fatigue of a march succeeds in weakening and making hesitant even men who excel in strength and vigour. Since he, as has been said, failed to encamp, they wandered here and there, one wanting a drink of water, another to rest his horse, another to revive himself, tired as he was. So the people inside the fortress, when they saw them wandering about in such disorder, made a sudden sally, and immediately turned the Bulgarians in a great rout. Some of them were killed, others died from thirst and heat, and the rest were driven like sheep in a fold, and captured. Alousianos, that wonderful soldier, alone escaped, having even thrown away his breastplate. So be careful about these things.The story of Constantine the Rector (1049)When the Patzinaks, by God’s permission, went out and attacked the ̣Roman frontiers, Constantine the Rector was sent out by the most pious Emperor of the ̣Romans, Monomachos, with an army and large forces, to fight the Patzinaks. He went out, full of confidence in that immense army, and did not encamp and pitch his tent, and give his tired army a rest, but immediately rushed into battle against them. The Patzinaks sprang up from their rest, bursting with confidence, and took up their positions against them; comfort and rest tend to make even the most wretched men more daring. The Romans and their horses, harassed partly by the strain of the march and partly by the heat and their thirst, could not even withstand a mild attack, but immediately turned in flight, and a great slaughter took place. For there the strongest and most valiant of the Romans fell; many tens of thousands perished, and almost all the land of the Romans was filled with mourning.If the enemy is attacking, and battle is unavoidable, if your opponents are short of fodder and pasture <and> in need of basic necessities, and you have plenty of everything, delay the battle, deceiving the enemy and putting them off from day to day. Send presents to their chief, lulling his daring spirit; for a bait catches a fish, and the receipt of gifts and the gleam of gold does the same for most men. While you are putting them off, their horses will suffer from lack of fodder and pasture, and, in short, of all necessities, and the enemy themselves, in their discomfort, will be powerless. When you learn that they are suffering, then attack them, and I am sure that, with God's help, you will crush them. Delay in the same way, too, when a reinforcement of men is coming to support you; only, if you can, be protected by your position. When you are delaying, be on your guard night and day, as far as your forces allow, so that your opponents shouldn’t fall on you suddenly and destroy you. If you don’t have plenty of everything, and are not expecting a troop of your own men as reinforcement, but necessary supplies are lacking both for your men and for your animals, don’t delay at all; when you have drawn near to them in suitable country, rest your troops two or three days, <if> you are free to, and then start off and join battle. Don’t idle, or you will run out of necessary supplies, and then your men will be routed without a fight; for when they are going slowly, and are short of supplies, they will be cowardly and retreat. Let me tell you a story of this sort.The story of Basil the Monk (c.1053)Basil the monk and pronoetes of the Bulgarians, was sent by the famous Emperor Monomachos to fight the Patzinaks. So he went off and approached them; he had Michael the akolouthtoo, as his assistant, and they both had a large army. When they went off, as I’ve said, and approached them, from lack of experience they didn't choose to fight at once, but they delayedfrom day to day. When the food for the army and the animals ran out, their opponents, bursting with confidence from their luxurious living, kept on coming up to the camp with shouts, and then retreating; the Romans, partly suffering from lack of necessary supplies, and partly, also, intimidated from seeing them every day and hearing their shouts, turned to flight all on their own, without a fight. They mounted their horses at night and fled; but they did not escape the hands of their enemies, and the army collapsed of its own accord, from inexperience. For when men are suffering from weariness, fatigue and want, if the prospect of fighting is also landed on them, it puts grief and confusion into their spirits, and brings about defeat without a battle.General, avoid pleasures, so that you may not fall like a bird into a snare.To a frontier-commanderIf you are a frontier-commander, and you have a toparch as a neighbour, if he behaves peacefully towards you, you are be peace with him - only don’t trust him. If possible don’t injure him, but guard your land well. If, when you haven't been injured by him, you undertake to injure him, first you rouse him and the other toparchs against you, and you make them all desert the Romans and betray them; and then, fearing your treachery, they will protect him, and attack you, either secretly or openly, and overpower you. If they can’t do that, at least they will injure both you and the Emperor's land very much indeed; and after that, even if you want to make peace, they won't speak the truth to you. But if the toparch near you endeavours to injure you, don’t lose your temper with him, but deceive him, and put on a pretence of peace and of simplicity. Guard your land, and make friends, if you can, from his land, so that through them you learn his plans. Send them gifts, privately. Send gifts to the toparch, too, openly, deceiving him. When you have softened him up with your gifts, and your pretended affection, he will be unworried. Then, when you have collected up your men secretly and swiftly, attack him and his men suddenly, and you won’t fail; you will wipe him out and annihilate him. You will be praised by everyone, both enemies and friends, for not being to blame for his starting things, but having beaten the man who started things, in the best way; and you will receive honours and favours from the Emperor for having been a good general. But he, even if he is able to run away, will be shame-faced and tongue-tied in front of his neighbouring toparchs and relations, as having been to blame for the misfortune. They will say to him: ‘You have got what you deserved; what business did you have, when you weren't being attacked, to injure foreign territory and to alienate and rouse against yourself people who weren't injuring you?’ They won't help him, but instead they will respect and fear you as a real general.Only, when you enter his territory and raid it, if there are mountain-passes by which you entered, don’t return by the same way; for the enemy, knowing the difficulty of the passes, would occupy them in advance, and when you return back will cut you to pieces. The story of Michael the logothete’s son (1042): This is what Tribunios the Serb, did to the Katepan of DyrrachiumMichael, the logothete’s son, in Diocleia, and destroyed his army of more than fourty thousand men. For the Katepan, whom I’ve mentioned, went into Diocleia and made a raid; but when he turned back he found the passes, by which he had entered, occupied, and he was caught. Even if, perhaps, he had another route by which he could get out in good order, yet, from bad planning, or rather from inexperience, he was caught. But have skilful spies and communications-men, and before you enter, let them reconnoitre the routes; and once you go in and make your raid, leave by another route, and you will have no worries. And if there is no other route, go in suddenly, without warning, and when you have raided, return quickly by the way you came in. But, if so, when you go in to raid, leave men to hold the passes and the peaks of the mountains, and brave, skilful men in charge of them; and when you have raided, you will return, with God's help, without worries, rejoicing and happy.Frontier-commander, guard your fortresses and the land entrusted to you, and don't trust the toparchs near you, even if they profess vehemently that they are your friends. Let me tell you a story of this sort.The story of the toparch of Tobion (late 10th century)There is a fortress in the region of Greater Armenia; it is in a high place, with, above it, a good-sized plateau, sufficient, even abundant, for the people who live in the fortress as arable land and as pasture for their livestock, and for all their needs; it is made secure on every side by cliffs and ravines, and does not admit of being attacked by anyone from any side. For it’s not even possible for anyone to get up there unless by one narrow road, and then to enter first through the gate of the fortress - and that with considerable difficulty. So there was nothing safer than this stronghold. The toparch of Tobion, who was also my pappos, was longing to get possession of it. So what does he think up? By many gifts he makes a friend of the general in command of this fortress, having declared to him that, whatever he needed, he should boldly send and get from him. So the general was enchanted by all this; he happened to come in need of corn, and then informed the toparch, who said, cheerfully: ‘As much as you demand’. He sends him a thousand animals carrying corn; a man followed each pair of donkeys, as if indeed to take care of them. The general reckoned: ‘If my fortress is victualled by the very enemy of Romania, what do I deserve?’ Then, when the corn arrives, he cheerfully opens the gates for the animals and the men attending them to come in. But the men were armed for fighting, and had their swords, hidden. As soon as they came in they wrenched open the gates; they kill the spearmen and take possession of the fortress. And so a friendship becomes a cause of misfortune, and deserves to be remembered. So you should protect yourself from your friends more than from your enemies. If the general had not trusted those he thought were his friends but had ordered them to unload the corn outside the gate, he would have benefited from them, and their cunning would have come to nothing, and the general would have had no worries.The story of Katakalon Klazomenites (c. 1041)Let me tell you about another trick by a foreigner, too. Katakalon Klazomenites was general of Ragusa. This general wanted to gain a victory by simulated friendship. In the fortresses of Dalmatia, at Zenta and at Stamnus, there was a toparch, Boisthlabus of Diokleia; and (the general) wanted to capture him. And what does he do? He makes friends with him, frequently sending him presents, intending to deceive him with them. But he, even if he was a foreigner, did however have the <wisdom> of nature, and that which comes from experience; he took the gifts, and pretended, also, to be the Emperor’s humble subject, as if, indeed, because of the generosity and kindness of the general. Since, too, the toparch had a new-born child, the general declared that he would receive him from Holy Baptism. (The toparch) said, cheerfully: ‘And, if you request it, come to my house, too’; but the general didn’t want to. So they both decided that they would perform their baptismal alliance between the general’s theme and the toparch’s territory. The general had warships ready, at sea - for the place was by the sea -so that when he should give a sign, they should capture (the toparch), and throw him into the ship. The toparch had the same plan, too, and had valiant men ready in hiding, so that, when he should make the signal which he had appointed for them, they should spring out and capture the general and the people with him; which is what happened. Then they met, and, after greeting one another, sat down. As they sat down, the signal was given, and they surrounded the general and bound him hand and foot and led him captive with his son, as well, and all the people with him, and the ships, to Stamnos. And he was caught in the snares and nets in which he had intended to make his catch, to the shame of the Romans.Take care that what you devise does not become other people's victory; for some people’s cunning becomes other people’s glory and gain.So you must act in a considered way. I have not presented you with ancient stories, but with things that happened shortly before our times. Most generals have suffered from those they thought to be their friends.The story of the capture of Demetrias (c. 1040)Demetrias is a city in Hellas, by the sea - made secure both by the sea and by the surrounding marshes - of which Delianos somehow got possession. This man was toparch of the Bulgarians; and, having got possession of the city, he sent to it an old soldier, experienced in warfare - now a general in the Bulgarian language is called a Tzelnik - Lytoboes of Diabolis,having given him troops as well for protecting the fortress. He went off, and rebuilt the walls, which had been neglected, and made mangonels and such machines as it is feasible for a general to make. When he had strengthened the fortress, he put care aside, as he did not fear any attack from without, nor suspect any plot from within, since the inhabitants were very simple and entirely inexperienced, and since he had also secured them by an oath. Now carelessness tends to bring sorrows and dangers all of a sudden. So the general stopped caring about these things, and had no suspicion of the people inside the city, but gave his attention to luxury and relaxation. But, even if the inhabitants were inexperienced, yet it is nature who teaches all contrivance and cunning; they send secretly to the Dux of Thessalonike, for him to send someone to take the fortress and reward them. The Dux sends them a certain Pantheote, called Zepe, with ships and troops. When the ships have been brought to land in a hidden place near the harbour, this news is brought secretly to the inhabitants; and they indeed went straight out, and captured the general, bound him and the guards with him, and handed them over to the Romans.The story of the capture of Servia (late tenth century)Servia is a strong city in Bulgaria. A Roman general was guarding it, named Magerinos, and two taxiarchs with their thousands. My pappos, on my mother's side, Demetrios, called Polemarchios, was a prominent chief in that area near the frontier; after the pacification of Bulgaria the Emperor, Basil the Porphyrogenitus, of blessed memory, raised him to the rank of patrician, having also made him a mystikos. So this man, after labouring indefatigably for a whole year in order to take this invincible city, wasn’t able to capture it; so that all that labour was in vain. For (the fortress) obtained its security from cliffs and terrifying ravines. Below the fortress, under the cliff, was the bathing-place, and there the general used to go, and the taxiarchs, when they wanted to, and bathed. So he devises this device: he went by night, and took up position opposite the fortress, with his men - the place was wooded, with bushes - and ordered the men with him to take large bushes and hold them in front of them, and overshadow and hide the horses and their riders, so as to look not like men, but like some wood growing on the spot. He had two chonsarii near the fortress on the ridge, who, directly the general and the taxiarchs went down and began to wash, made a signal which they had been ordered to make. The others spurred down and surrounded the bathing-place, and captured the people in it. For the man who doesn’t take care, but walks unguardedly, often falls, even into misfortunes. So when they had been captured he took the fortress without bloodshed. So take care over these things.If you are guarding a fortress, pay scrupulous attention both to those within and those without, and don’t even trust your own man, or you will ruin both yourself and your troops. Take a look, even daily, at the walls, both inside and outside, and the gates too. Let the walls of the fortress stand clear; don’t have any house adjoining them, but, if there is one, pull it down,and lay the walls bare both inside and outside, and also all the <gates>, completely, so that you are able to pass through freely and look at them. If there is an ancient and valuable house adjoining the wall, don’t let pulling it down frighten you, but destroy it. Let me tell you a story of this sort.The story of the capture of Otranto (?1064)Otranto is a city in Italy, by the sea, populous and wealthy. A man of Otranto, Malapezza, was guarding it, having as garrison for the fortress Russians and Varangians, both spearmen and sailors. This Malapezza had a niece, who had a house adjoining the wall. Her uncle, partly because it was ancient, partly, too, because it was valuable, and also because it belonged to his niece, spared it, and didn’t destroy it, not having the slightest suspicion about it. The Franks, having laboured hard to take Otranto in battle were not able to. So what does their Count think up? He informs the niece - whom I’ve mentioned - of Malapezza: ‘If you get me to enter through the wall into the fortress, I shall take you as my wife’; and he swears an oath to her, having also given her many gifts. She was carried away by her desire, and agreed, and did it; and by night she hoisted over the wall witha rope some of the Franks, their most intelligent and excellent men, who, during the following night, bored a hole in the wall of the fortress and brought in the Franks, a large force. Then, before dawn, with shouts, they attacked the men in the city. When they saw the enemy unexpectedly inside the fortress, they rushed to escape; for when evil attacks suddenly it destroys even the very bravest and most reasonable. Anyway, Malapezza, who was taking care of the fortress, immediately ran away and got into a boat alone and was rescued in a disgraceful and remorse-bringing way; he left his wife and children in the hands of the enemy. So pay attention to what happened to him from not taking scrupulous care.If you are guarding a fortress, and you hear that the enemy is coming towards you, prepare yourself to receive an attack: take care of the walls that are broken, strengthen the bastion towers, pile up stones on top of the walls, weave mantlets, make double and triple trenches, very deep and wide, and outside the trenches pits, to make the horses slip; stand mangonels on the walls and cross-bows, and make hooks, which they call ‘wolves’, to protect against the battering-rams. And if they attack you with a ram, catch it with the hooks; have oxen ready inside, fasten the ‘wolf’ to them, and make them pull - or, if it isn't convenient to pull, fasten it to a secure place, so that it can't slip back.If he chooses to dig under the foundations, then dig yourself instead, in front and up against the wall, to the depth at which you consider the enemy is going to get under the foundations. And have brave men prepared and ready to fight, so that, when he comes underground, and is getting under the foundations, he may emerge, even though unintentionally, in the place where you dug; and when he has emerged, and is harassed by digging <or 'harassed by your trench'>, he will be captured by your men. For him the device will turn out to be dangerous, but you will be secure; If you do this, you will be free, also, to throw big stones from the bastions on to your trench, where he will emerge, and you will kill him.If he makes a mound, have material made ready and build, inside, against the thickness of the wall, another wall, and make it join the wall of the fortress just where it is opposite the mound; and when you have made it level with the chemin de ronde, and have united it, as has been said, with the old wall, turn them both into one wall and raise it to a great height. When the mound of earth is raised, let your wall be built up high and overtop it, and the mound won’t dominate you, because you will be at a greater height. This is why I tell you: ‘Build another wall inside the wall, and unite both walls in one’ - because, if the wall does not have much breadth, and you heighten it, it collapses. If you can, burn the mound made by the enemy, since not all the mound is made of earth, but also of logs.If the enemy comes with all his forces, don’t go outside the fortress to fight him, but be on the defensive, and fight him from the bastions for two or three days. When you have estimatedhis forces, his efficiency, his way of fighting and his machines, then, if you can, suddenly cripple them. Let the men who are not guarding the walls go out, but don’t let the men on guard duty go down at all; for it’s good enough for you if you defend your fortress.The story of the siege of Boianos (1041)Let me tell you a story of this sort. Boianos is a strong Bulgarian fortress. When the Emperor Michael entered Bulgaria to fight, and had attacked Triaditza, he came to Boianos as well.There were distinguished Bulgarian warriors there, and their commander was a man called Botkos. Full of confidence in their own bravery they go outside the fortress to fight, as though ashamed to be inside the fortress. When battle is joined and the fighting becomes fierce, those distinguished Bulgarians are routed. So when they wanted to get in through the gate of the fortress, the Romans got in with them too, and took the city, and killed a lot of people. So take care over these things.The story of the siege of Moreia (986 or 1001)Let me tell you another story of this sort. There is a fortress called Moreia between Philippopolis and Triaditza, and it was held by the Bulgarians. When the porphyrogenitus Emperor Basil had armed for war, and reached Moreia, he set up mangonels and started a violent bombardment, and then made a mound. So as the mound grew higher, the people inside the fortress devised something worth remembering. They attracted some valiant young men with gifts, and sent them out; they slipped into the mound from below, through the beams inside, and went to the front, with pine-torches and resin and flints; they set fire to them, inside and got out. The flame wasn’t seen outside, because of being deep inside the piled-up earth and logs; but during the whole night it caught everything in the mound, and towards dawn it suddenly flared up high, and the mound was destroyed. The Emperor was distressed and retreated, and the men in the fortress remained unconquered and undefeated.The story of the siege of a city in Hellas (c.918)There was a populous city in Hellas; so the chief Symeon, who was then tyrant of the Bulgarians, struggled to capture it, but his effort came to nothing. So he schemes to make friends with the citizens of the fortress, as if indeed he was sending (men) bringing a message from himself. The men he sent were clever at observing things, and very valiant and strong; they observed and saw that the gates had their hinges high up, and that the gates themselves stood off the ground. When they had noticed this they spoke it into the tyrant’s ear. He selected five brave men and sent them to go into the fortress, on the pretence of carrying out their job <or ‘on pretence of taking service’>. He told them to carry axes in their belts, at the back,and, when they came to the gate, to overcome the men guarding the gate and cut away the hinges of the gates, which they did. When the hinges had been cut away the gates fell to the ground. So thereupon they made the signal which he had told them (to make) and made the men whom the tyrant held prepared for this come up as well, very quickly. While the citizens were confused by what had happened, the tyrant’s men leaped inside the gates and took the city without bloodshed.The story of the siege of Antioch (540)Antioch the Great was not betrayed by its famous fortifications; for when Chosroes, the King of the Persians, attacked its walls he was not able to capture it. At one place in the city the wall was very narrow; since the guards did not have enough room on the chemin de ronde to pass easily, they hung long planks on a level with the chemin de ronde, attaching them to the bastion on ropes. When a large number of men went up there, and weight was immediately placed on the planks through them, the men standing there fell down. The people were disturbed by this, and expected the enemy to enter, and left the walls and fled; so Chosroes took the city without bloodshed. If the enemy come to your fortress and make friends with you, and swear oaths to you, don’t trust them, but then be even more on your guard. And if they wish to hold a market to sell and buy, let them do so; only don’t locate it near to your fortress.The story of the capture of Demetrias (11th century)For it is worth remembering the city of Demetrias, and what happened to it recently. Five ships of Hagarene pirates came at the first hour of the day; but the people in the city had learned beforehand of their approach, and were prepared. So when the Hagarenes came, an announcement was made by them to the people in the city: ‘We haven’t come to make war, but to hold a market and sell prisoners and things that we have from our raiding; and, if you give the order, we will swear oaths to you and give hostages, too, and do business'. From inexperience they believed them, and both sides swore oaths. For when a man runs into something of which he has no experience, if it’s good it makes him plunge into excessive delightand rude overconfidence; but if it’s something bad or frightening it fills him with consternation, while his mind conjures up fantasies. So when both sides had given their word by oath, they felt no more concern. There was a man there, a Byzantine by origin, but living in Demetrias, and extremely deceitful; Noah was the name of the man I’ve mentioned. He tried every device to remove the inhabitants’ money and possessions and make them his own. So this man, who happened to be in power in Demetrias at that time, and wanted to make some profit out of the Saracens as well, didn’t allow them to go far from the fortress and hold the market, but made them do their selling up against the wall. The trick he had in mind was that, if the selling took place far away from the fortress, he couldn’t go out and see what they were selling; but, if it took place up against the wall, he could see from the tower what attracted him, and have it brought up as if he were going to buy it - and when the evening came, they would have got nothing and go away empty-handed. So they did a little business, and then, when heavy rain fell, they pretended they were embarking on their ships. The people of the city descended from the walls and went into their houses because of the rain, leaving a few guards, and even they were careless, through inexperience. The Hagarenes, without delaying, made an attempt (on the city), casting ashore five armed men from each of their five ships. They came across from the side of the fortress where the inhabitants had no suspicion, and got up on to the bastions of the fortress by the buildings and the tiled roofs adjoining the wall, and straight away, without a fight, took this strong city, abounding with all good things.The story of the capture of Bisignano (1053/4)Let me tell you another thing, which happened to Teras the Calabrian when he was guarding the city of Bisignano. He was very rich and well-born, and the leading man in the region. Robert the Frank, having, by God’s permission, become tyrant, was eager to capture him; so he tried every device and was repelled. So what does he do? He goes as a friend outside the city and tells him to come outside the gate, as if indeed for some important and secret matter. Teras goes out of the gate of the fortress, but (stays) inside the moat. So the Frankpretended to be frighened of the men who came out with Teras. Then Teras told them to withdraw, and when he had been left on his own they both stood in conversation. The Frank had three chosen men ready, mounted on valuable horses, who spurred down, jumped over the moat, seized him and turned back with him immediately, and captured that wonderful manlike a slave. As for the tortures which they inflicted on him, I am not capable of describing them. So guard against the schemes of your enemies and don’t trust them.If you are a lieutenantIf you are a lieutenant or have some other authority even above that of the general, don’t oppose him, but listen to him submissively and, if you are sent out by him, go where he commands you, with good will. And don’t make a show of willingness, while being unwilling in your mind, but make an effort, wherever you are sent, in order to do the job that has been encharged to you and something else wonderful and praiseworthy on your own. Endeavour to surpass everyone, so that you may become famous. How does this come about? By no other means than effort and vigilance. I give the same advice to soldiers, too; I never saw an effortful and vigilant man who did not enjoy extreme prosperity. For work is never wasted. Not everyone follows the straight road, but (some) turn aside to crimes, snatching not only food and drink but even ornaments and clothes. When, by God’s permission, they succeed once or twice, they despise justice and don’t repent; but the people who have been ill-treated, not tolerating their violence, have attacked and killed them with missiles or with the sword. (Such men), it must be understood, have been reckoned to have died a criminal’s death; and they have not only been overtaken by a disgraceful death, but they will also experience the Judgement to come.


If you are living as a private citizen in your house, and are unoccupied, do the duties of your house, by which your house will be maintained in good order, and don’t neglect them; for you have no other source of livelihood beyond working the land. Make self-sufficient investments for yourself, such as mills and workshops and gardens, and any other things that will give you their fruits every year, through rents and produce. Plant trees of every sort, and reed-beds, from which you will have an income that doesn’t involve effort every year; these will provide you with rest. Have livestock such as ploughing oxen, and pigs, and sheep, and other animals which are born and grow and increase every year; these will supply you with plentyfor your table. You will rejoice in everything, in abundant supplies of corn, wine, and all other planted produce, and animals, both for food and for work.And if you live like this, don’t lose interest and neglect your livelihood, or all these things will decrease, , but endeavour to organise your livelihood well. If you are neglectful, then your servants will devour your profit and appropriate it. A bad season will come, and when the earth has been barren you won't find yourself with corn and other produce stored up for feeding your people; when you want to buy, you will find yourself without a single coin. After looking at your servants you will think about their food, and how they are to be fed. You will give a great groan, and decide to go off to someone and borrow the necessary supplies; but there is no-one who gives you anything. For the man you will ask will say to you: 'Believe me, I had it, but before you some other people asked me, and I gave to them, and, beyond what supplies my own needs, I have nothing more left'. Then you will feel shame and affliction; shame because you asked and didn't get anything, sorrow because you have nowhere to get anything. Then you will go to another man, and he will make you the same excuse, too; and even if he does give, he will give a little, and on surety, grumbling, and looking to get something greater from you; only then will he lend money. Even more, if the man you find is a lender like the majority of them, he will demand interest too, and will also ask for some possession of yours as well, as deposit, and you will readily and with eagerness draw up a document for him, and set a time-limit. Then the limit is reached; the money-lender asks for the principal with interest and you put him off because you don't have anything. When you have been notified by him frequently, and have given him nothing, you will receive threats as well. Then, when he finds you in the market-place, or in the praetorium, or in church on a feast-day, wishing to show himself your superior, and a wealthy man, in front of the people, he will say: "My man, what do I owe you, that you withhold my property? Do you want me to ruin you?". But he says this in order to ruin you, and because he has already ruined you. If you keep silence, everyone will say - some in private, and some openly - "The debtor has no sinews" and "Evil is the day of the debtor". But if you answer him back, then everyone will laugh and say to you: "How are you not ashamed to behave so shamelessly to a man who has done you good?"; and he himself will turn to them and say: "Gentlemen, have you seen such shamelessness?" Then you, as if bitten to the heart by a snake, will grieve for many days, and either you will get rid of some ancestral property of yours, or of something which you have acquired with much labour and effort, and, having sold this for less than its worth, you will satisfy him. If you don't do this, he will get a second deposition from you, too, with your promise to double the interest, and the interest on the interest; and when the amount has risen a great deal you will ask for pity, even you, the once fortunate, now dragged into court. I had many other things to tell you about this, but these will be enough for you, if you're sensible; for to a sensible man, it's said, one word is enough, but, if a man is stupid, not even the events themselves will bring him to his senses.So you must make every effort in life, and bear the hardship that comes from labour cheerfully. For the man did not lie, who said: ‘In the sweat of your brow shall you eat your bread’. And Solomon says: ‘God has given a wretched restlessness to the sons of men’, and: ‘it is not possible to make a living without labour and sweat’.Don't say: 'My men are trustworthy, and I have no suspicions of them'. If they see you, they are trustworthy; if not, they all do what benefits themselves - it is a natural instinct of man to favour himself and to pursue profit, whether spiritual or physical.After hearing me tell you to work and make an effort in life, don't abandon yourself to any conceits and inordinate labours, or by this you will lose your soul, , and, despising God, forget the ritual of psalm-singing which is carried out by orthodox laymen: i.e., matins and the four hours, and also vespers and compline. For these serve to sustain our life, and (it is) by these acts of worship we are recognised as God's own slaves, since confessing God (is something) even the unbelievers and the demons <do> and all confess that God exists. Not only should you perform these acts of worship, but, if you can, pray the midnight office as well, even if you only say one psalm - for at this hour you can converse with God without distraction - and, when you have prayed, take your rest. For this is not labour, but rather pleasure, to converse privately with God. As I urge you to be zealous in worldly matters, so I want you to bezealous, too, in spiritual ones, so that you may have good hopes from both; in short, I want you to be most excellent in all your duties. And don't say: ‘So-and-so doesn't observe church ritual, and he is prospering’; for you don't know what such a man does in secret. In this way some people, doing good in secret, have escaped the notice, not only of men, but of the Devil. But if some neglectful and evil men are successful, it's nothing surprising: Jews, and heretics, and Saracens and, in short, many others who have no knowledge of dogmas, nor put their hope in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the True God, are alive, and some of them even prosper, and rule peoples, and enjoy God's goodness, and we don't envy their prosperity; for His goodness directs everything by decrees known to Himself.Practise alms-giving, too, and you shall not find it wasted. Cornelius, who was a Hellene, and extremely ignorant, not only of dogmas, but even of simple doctrine, when he was moved by right thinking and did good in the sight of the Lord, heard: 'Cornelius, your prayers and your alms-giving have come up to be a memorial in the sight of God'.Don't choose to undertake excessive taxation; don't undertake contracts for the treasury at all, or you will lose your daily bread, and leave your heirs trouble instead of a good inheritance,and they will be in perpetual confusion. I will tell you a story that my father witnessed and told me. He had a cousin, the protospatharios and general Maios a sensible, active man, rich in everything, money and many possessions. He decided once to take the contract for the financial district of Arabissos. He consulted (my father), and was advised against it by him. But he pointed out to him houses belonging to the citizens, saying: ‘All these houses were built out of (the profit from) treasury contracts.’ When my pappos had left for his own land, he took over the financial district and went out there. After a few years, when (my father) came to the City, and went off to greet him, he didn't find him in his house. (His cousin’s) valet took himand led him to St. Paul's, to the poorhouse, and he saw him sitting shut up in a dark room, (a place) they call the Stocks, weeping and abandoning his hold on life; for he had lost sixty pounds, and they demanded this amount from him. But even so he didn’t reach it, but even after his death he was in debt. In the same way, you know what many others have suffered as well from such Treasury contracts; they became outcasts from their honours, and from their own property.Your friends, or your wife, will say to you, from inexperience: 'Take on an office, even if (only) that of representative, or municipal magistrate, or basilikos of our community, and you will be in a position to be supported, both yourself and your household and your men'. But don’t listen to them. For, if you are persuaded by these words and undertake one of these jobs, listen to what will happen to you. If you endeavour to circumvent the treasury and to recoup your losses, you are choosing to damage your men’s salaries, too, and you will, in the end, cough up what you didn’t exact. If you administer things justly, you stand to lose money. But why do I say: 'Justly'? Where is there a just tax-gatherer? Although you ought to act as an arbitrator and a peacemaker for everyone, and although they ought all to run to you to hear good reason, they will flee from you instead. For who doesn’t flee from a tax gatherer? An imperial official will come to demand from you an animal for government service, and you will respect one man because he is a friend, one because he is a relation, another as a man of influence; you will send your man to get money - a lot or a little - and you will say to the imperial official: 'I didn’t find anything'. Then he will seize you, and perhaps even whip you, and ruin you in the eyes of your community, and, where you should have been honoured you will be dishonoured, and you will have this disgrace for generation after generation. But if you don’t spare anyone, but exact government service, (the official) will leave, and you will be at enmity with your friends. Even if not everyone reproaches you, yet even if only one of them (does), he is capable of damaging you, getting the others to help him as well; even for ten and fifteen years (afterwards) the people from whom you demanded the aerikon, or something else, not only (if you did so) unjustly, but even (if you did so) justly, will drag you to the justices of the province. And, even if you speak good sense, the judge is not a prophet, but either he will demand restitution, or he will send you to (take) oaths. And if you swear, in accordance with the law - which Heaven forbid - everyone will groan at you and despise you: but if you don't swear at all, you will run away, and be forced to flee, and you will be despised and disgraced.If there is a leader in the place, visit him, only not often; visit him infrequently, and say what you have to say with understanding, and if you aren't asked, be silent. Send some of the things to eat and drink, that God has given you, to him and to his men, as far as is possible for you. If he should begin to act unjustly, , and the men of the community come to you saying: 'We consider you our chief, and why don't you control him? Let’s all go off with you, and you speak to him freely. Don’t be afraid - we’re with you', - don’t receive them at all. For cunning men who hear this will smile to themselves, and will say things to you to please you, and will glorify you. 'Your father', they will say, 'was such a champion that even now his praises are in the mouths of everyone'. When they have charmed your ears with these words, and you have agreed with them to do this, then, immediately, they will run secretly and tell the man in authority saying: 'We, who are your loyal servants, and entirely your well-wishers, will tell you what we have seen and heard. So-and-so' - talking about you - 'has roused the whole city against you, and tomorrow he will come against you with all the people, and perhaps they will even go so far as murder, and will kill you'. When he hears this he will take to flight, thinkingthat they are telling the truth, and he will write to the Emperor concerning you, as concerning a demagogue and a rebel, and you will be destroyed, unjustly. But, if he is fearless, he will allow you to come to the praetorium with the people, and then he will seize you and bring you to your senses by beating you and shaving your head. The people who were praising you before will run away, and those who see you will say: 'It’s because of us that this man is now suffering himself', and, outwardly distressed, they will withdraw. You, when you strain your eyes this way and that, and don’t find any of the people who were praising you earlier, will speak, blaming yourself, and say: 'Alas for my thoughtlessness!' The man in authority, wishing to conciliate the community, will summon them and say: 'I know your goodwill, which you have shown towards me and towards my predecessors, and I have nothing against you, but consider you as my children; for this didn’t happen from any fault of yours, but this agitator was the offender, and you are my friends'. When he has said this, and much more, he will dismiss them; he will detain the prominent ones for lunch and, when he has softened up their thinking, he will persuade them to speak a great deal against you.You must observe all of this. I am not telling you not to speak for the area, or on behalf of the community; for the man who doesn’t speak, but, while able to help, does not show compassion, collaborates with the wrongdoers. So speak yourself as well; only not so as to create a disturbance but with understanding and good manners, and in private. Then they will respect you, and the wrongdoer will pay you more attention than (if you came) with the people. If the occasion demands that you speak freely in front of the people, speak freely, but not without thought; for the man who sees others wronged and does not speak, he is a devil.If you have a title, honour it, and it will bring you honour; if you don't have one, make every effort that people may honour you as much as titled men, and even more than them.If some imperial levy should come, and everyone assembles and comes to you for you to assess each man, don’t do the assessing, but say this to them: 'Do the assessing yourselves, according to what you know, and I shall also be present', and let others make the assessment. In this way you will be able to except both your friend and your servant, and lighten the load for someone who asks you, and no-one will say anything; even if there is any criticism from the community, it will go to those who made the assessment, and you will remain free of criticism. But if you make the assessment, you won’t be able to relieve either your friend or your servant, or they will grumble at you for having acted contrary to the command. But if you do exempt your servant, they will make a great outcry against you, calling you names, as one who takes bribes and falsifies records. This is what’s to your advantage: not to get involved in any business with the community; but show them pity and consideration in anything you can. For even if we escape the notice of men, yet we cannot escape the Eye that never sleeps.If you have a friend in another place, and he comes through the city where you live, don’t let him lodge in your house, but let him lodge elsewhere, and send him the things he needs, and he will receive you better. But if he lodges in your house, hear how many things you will have to complain about. To begin with, your wife and your daughters and your daughters-in-laware not free to go out of their room and make the necessary arrangements in your house. But if there is pressing need for them to come out, your friend will exclaim and fasten his eye on them. Even if you are standing with him, he will seem to you to lower his head, but he will be watching carefully how they walk, and turn, their hips, their glance, and, in short, everything from top to toe; and when he is alone with his own men, he will imitate them and laugh. Secondly, he will be contemptuous of your servants, your table, your household arrangements, and he will also ask questions about your possessions, whether you have this or that. Why do I speak at length? If he should find a chance, he will make gestures of love to your wife, and will look on her with licentious eyes, and, <if> he can, even defile her; if not, he will go outand make boasts that should not be made. If he doesn’t say it, yet your enemy will shout out in battle [......15 characters......] to tell you (?the shame) of your wife.Since we wish to prescribe for women how they should behave, on that subject I could talk about everything, but this will be sufficient for you. But I have remembered one subject towards which I shall direct my advice. It is good that you should always observe your daughter and your wife very carefully. There is a man, distinguished and rich, a dignitary, and very well-born, owning fine residences in the City - I am leaving out his name intentionally, for he’s still alive. This man has a well-born wife, whose brother is a general; she is beautiful to look at, and was then even more beautiful in soul, adorned with understanding and virtue, and instructed in the Holy Scriptures, too. The Emperor, having often heard about her, sent people to her, in his desire to have an affair with her, promising dignities and many other benefits for her and for her husband; her husband didn’t know of it. Then the Emperor sends him off as judge of a theme; but when he couldn’t persuade her, he became silent. After three years her husband came back from the theme, and was delighted with his own home. A good-lookingand distinguished young man in the provinces pretended to be a relation of hers, and then speaks to her husband in the Palace: 'I', he says, 'am a relation of that lady there, the judge’s wife'. And, after saying much more to him, he makes friends with him, and the judge invites him (to his house); the young man deceives him and becomes his intimate. Why do I choose to speak at length? He has an affair with the woman - she who was once happy, now wretched. When this event became known, her husband and her relations were in the grip of dejection and grief, or rather disgrace, but the young man boasted about it as if about one of the labours of Hercules. What the Emperor, and promises of dignities and riches could not achieve, was done by intimacy and a friend.( I want you to love all men; only don’t tell your secrets to anyone - for this is very dangerous. From the moment that you have spoken your secrets to anyone, from then on you are his slave, and he will hurt and insult you extremely, and you won’t dare to answer him back. And why should you voluntarily give up your freedom? Certainly you will say: 'He is virtuous, and will not make my secrets public'; and you don’t realise that you yourself have made them common knowledge by speaking them into someone’s ears. For what comes in by the ears is made public by the lips. So you should not tell secrets of yours to anyone; as the prophet says: 'Keep this from your bedfellow'.Let the people who come into your house be good men and not busybodies; for the busybody searches your life, and, when he has searched out the deficiencies of your household, he notes them down like a secretary, and will speak of them in a time of shame for you. Some people possess friends from among the men whom they know to be trouble-makers and to lead simpler people astray, so as to have them to help them in defending their wrongdoings. I tell you not to have a friend of this sort; for the man who has such a friend is like him, and it is because he is bad, and a criminal, that he needs a friend like this, in order that, whenever the people he has wronged seek back their possessions, (his friend) may speak on his behalf. Don’t love such a man if you profess to love the right; for the good is not good when it befriends evil. Perhaps you will tell me the saying of David: 'With those who hate peace I was peaceable'. He did not say: 'I loved them', but 'I was peaceable' - that is, 'I was silent, bearing their insults and reproaches'. I am not saying to you: 'Because they are evil, fight with them and stir them up', but, 'Let them go on talking nonsense'. But if they attack you violently, don’t be frightened; fight them, even if they are people of distinction, and you will find God is your ally. Don’t have a bad man as a friend at all; for he will bring you to a wretched day, and his bad advice will encompass you as a snare does a bird, and then you will remember my words.Don't trust your enemy, even if he pretends to be your friend; for he wants to entangle you. If he weeps in your presence, he doesn’t do this for love of you, but because affliction or necessity has come upon him. If you can, show him pity and don’t disregard him, and give him alms if you have anything, and rescue him from his misfortune, and God will rescue you from affliction. Look after him; only, don’t have him as a real friend. I know you can describe some people who, from great enmity, have been reconciled into great friendship. But this happens in several ways; a man’s enemy becomes silent either because he fears him, or because he needs his help, or deceiving him and intending to overthrow him, or because the aid that comes from on high checks him and, even if unwillingly, he is silent. Perhaps he really makes friends wholeheartedly; but this is rare, and in tens of thousands only one such (man) will be found. Observe my words; an old enemy does not become a new friend. If you are able to do good to your enemies, don't delay, but do good (to then). Disregard their insults to you - but don’t overlook (insults) to holy images, or to that which is divine, but struggle to the death on behalf of religion. It is good to show mercy to both bad and good; if you show mercy, you have a greater reward.My child, in your prosperity remember any man who has suffered on your account; for the man who forgets such a person forgets God. Remember the man who has guided you and struggled for you in a time of trial, remember any old family friend, remember your kinsman, in your good fortune and do good to them. Remember them, and God will remember you; perhaps the prosperity was given to you in order to do good to them. Remember that neither joys nor sorrows are lasting, for everything is in (a state of) flow and ebb, and, while you have daylight, show who you are - so that the descendants of those to whom you have done good may regard your good actions as if (recorded) on a monument. Whether you do goodor evil, it will not be forgotten, but it shall be before the eyes of the Lord for recompense.Let your aim and desire be towards doing good, not only to your friends, but also to your enemies, and not towards doing evil. Be willing to employ compassion, and you will not err, my child; not only men’s deeds, but also their thoughts, are before the Lord. Let your mind be inclined towards the good, and God will deal well with you.Don’t sit in the seat of younger men, but turn aside, so that you don’t come to hate your soul <or 'don’t make your soul hostile (to them)'>. By 'younger', I mean those who think and behave like younger people, even if they are old men.Don’t have a thief as your friend; for, even if you don't collaborate with him, yet you won't be released from blame.Don’t travel with your enemy; but even if you meet him unexpectedly on the road, separate (from him) again.Don’t play the man against a river, and don’t take up residence under a cliff or a mountain; a stone will roll down and fall on your house, (and) your house will be a grave for your whole household, without your knowing. I have known a lot of people to whom this happened.Don’t travel by night where you don’t know the road.Don’t eat fresh mushrooms; for owing to them many houses have remained desolate.The man who crosses over a frozen river or marsh is a man who desires to see his death instantly. The man who crosses a wooden bridge on horseback is one who desires to break his bones, and to lose his horse as well; for, when a piece of bad wood has turned, or rolled, or his horse has slipped a little, he will remember my words.Don’t choose to dine to excess.Let your children be taught analytical <and> speculative lessons.Don't refuse to undertake administration and authority in the themes; you should realise that official dignity is a gift from God. But refuse to administer wrongly. While you are involved in administration, attend to your house and embellish it; for, when you have finished administration, your house will receive you, and in your house you will rest.Let your sons and your daughters reverence you, and you respect them, and don’t despise them, even if they are children; for, as they learn from you, so will they act. And you respect yourself, too; for the man who doesn’t respect himself won’t respect anyone else either.Don’t be reckless; for everyone who is unreasonably reckless repents later on.Honour the old man and the young, and you will be honoured in return by them, and by Him Who made them.When you are going into church, don’t pay undue attention to the beauties of women, but look towards the altar, with your head bowed.Read a lot, and you will learn a lot. And, if you don’t understand, take heart; when you have gone through the book frequently, knowledge will be given to you by God, and you will understand it. What you don’t know, ask those who have knowledge, and don’t be proud; for it’s from this cause, from not wanting to ask and learn, that men are deficient in knowledge.When someone is talking, let him complete what he is saying. If his wisdom is sound, you will profit from it; if it is worthless, even so you will profit, when you have criticised it. Examine the Scriptures, as the Lord commanded, but not with undue curiosity.Don’t sleep, or even stay, in a house where you know there is a snake, either big or small.If someone asks you to give him alms, give to him with goodwill, and don't put him off. If he is a friend of yours, give thanks to God that you have served him with your hands; if he is an enemy, (give thanks that) he sought you out and also got something from you; if he is unknown to you, consider him to be Christ, and give him thanks. If anyone seeks a loan from you, if he wants it for ransoming prisoners, or for any other entirely necessary and reasonable cause, give him what you can, and, if he doesn’t return it, God will provide you with twice as much; only, (don't do so) for interest, or shameful profiteering and diabolical desire. But, if he requires it in order to undertake a Treasury contract, or to buy slaves or possessions, or something else, or for business, don’t give it to him or you will lose your property, and also make your friend your enemy.As well as this be careful, too, of people who wish to get a loan from you with cunning; for many people have lost their bread in this way. Hear how it happens: the man who intends to borrow money in this way doesn’t ask for the loan at first, but he will send you some things to eat: hares, perhaps, or partridges, or fish, and other things and - for example - fragrant things. Then he will do this a second and third time, and also he will invite you (to his house), as though from affection for you, once, and even twice. Then he will show you a considerable quantity of gold - which he has borrowed from someone else - and will say to you: 'I got this ready for such-and-such a business transaction, but they don't want this coinage, but such-and-such a one' - which he knows that you have. 'I know', he says, 'that you have it, and, if you love me, give it to me, so that I don’t lose the (chance of this) transaction, since I am going to make a big profit; and tomorrow, or at the end of the week, you will get your own money, with large gifts as well'. If he doesn't say this, he’ll say something else, such as: 'I have this cash that you see on hand', and either, 'the key of the money-box has been lost', or else: 'yesterday', he will say, 'a friend of mine came, and I gave him so many pounds, and now I need them; give them to me. With me there's no chance that you’ll lose your money'. So, with these words, when he has drawn you, or rather softened you up, he will get a loan from you with plenty of goodwill, while you are remembering instead the foodstuffs that he sent you, and the expensive meals, and are hoping to get the same things again. But he, on getting the money, will consider your property as his profit, and 'Glory be', he will say, 'to the hares and the other things <that> I sent him. Blessings on the dinners that have brought me so such gold'. Little by little he will begin to keep his distance from you. You will send him notice to repay you, and he will give you words. Then he will try to hide from you as well. You will come early in the morning to his door, but he won’t even give you an answer and you will go away downcast. Even if you come in suddenly, and wish to speak with him, he will put something else forward as an excuse, pretending to be angry about something else, or to have some sorrow. If, under pressure, you say anything to him, he will say to you: 'Aren't you ashamed, putting pressure on me for those worthless, light-weight coins? Believe me, if I had known that you were that sort of person, I wouldn’t have got that moneyfrom you. For', he will say, 'I didn’t sell my merchandise'. And, adding some other convincing remarks, he will send you away empty-handed. After this he will say to you: 'Believe me, the foodstuffs I sent you, and the meals which you consumed, and the perfumes which you used as ointment and burned, cost a lot of money; why did I show you respect?' And he will even put that towards (defraying) the original sum. You will want to get something, even if only half, and it won’t be given to you, but he will criticise and slander you very much. Why do I speak at length? He will be a fierce enemy to you, breathing fire against you. These are the things that borrowers try with tricks; others employ adoptions as brothers, and baptismal alliances,and provide sons- and daughters-in-law, and, making promises beyond their power (to fulfil), they attempt by every kind of trick to deprive you of your own property. So be careful of these things.I have come to hate two people, the miser and the extravagant man; the extravagant man who has nothing, and is poor, and spends beyond his means, and the miser who has plenty - I have come to consider both of them wretched. As for you, if God has given you anything, don’t be miserly, but be generous, with moderation; only, not to mimes, and foul-mouthed people, and flatterers, but to respectable men, friends, and those in need. If you wish to give alms, give at all times, in the evening, in the morning, and at midday; but, if you wish to grant a favour, don’t do so after lunch - for they will suppose that you made your gift while drunk - instead, give in the morning. For almsgiving, have no limit, but, whenever it comes into your mind, give; if you are slow, the Devil will hinder you.Let the doors of your house look towards the East, so that they may receive the air.Let your draught-animals be plump; for you don’t know what will happen.Don’t have a lazy servant.Converse frequently with monks, and, if they are uncultured, don’t despise them; the Holy Apostles, even if they were uncultured in speech, yet enlightened the world.Do good to the free men that serve you, if you can; and, if, after you have been good to them, they wish to leave you, don’t restrain them by force: it is not just.Try to cultivate a lot of wine, but use it sparingly; for (the man) who is possessed, once in the month or in the year, goes mad, and, as a result, all his life is in darkness.Don’t commit murder. Don’t consent to a plan for murder, even if (the victim) schemed to kill you. For, 'Everyone', says the Lord, 'who draws a sword shall die by a sword'.Don’t try to know anything in advance from fortune-tellers; for it will come even if you don’t know in advance - but, if it’s bad, what good is it to you to be exhausted as well by grief, and worn down ?Don’t accuse an innocent man falsely in a criminal or a civil suit - why do I say ‘innocent’? - not even a guilty man; rather, protect him and shelter him instead, if it is not to the harm of the Emperor or many others.Don’t carry a protective charm, unless it is a cross, or a holy icon, or the relic of a saint.Don’t pay any attention to dreams, or believe them at all, even if it is divine. If you do this, you will have safety; for many people have been destroyed through them.Don’t ever stand surety for anyone; for many people who have stood surety have come to grief. Even if a man is a very great friend of yours, don’t stand surety for him, but, if you have it, give him some of what he needs, and you make your love perfect. But if you stand surety, and provide the surety, you will lose your friend as well (as the money), and will be thought a fool by some people.Love your friend, and in all matters hold out a helping hand to him; but take care that you don't cause him to fall (into sin and) to his death. If he should tell you often to drink poison, or some other deadly thing - that is, if he should advise you to do something bad - don’t be led astray by his advice. If you wish to investigate, (you will find that) most people have been ruined through love of their friends, and have lost, not only money and lives, but their very souls as well.It is a great thing to have a certain force of servants, but the sensible man is greater and has more force, even if he has no share of wealth. Some wise man says: 'A man’s ransom is his own wealth'; and he spoke well. Only, I would say that many people have been plotted against for their wealth, and have lost (it and) their lives as well. I don’t criticise wealth, but I value good sense more. It is through this (good sense) that, by God’s grace, we do these things; for first we think, and so we work with our hands.Pray not to have as an enemy your son, or son-in-law, or brother. If you take vengeance on him, everyone will blame you, even God Himself, and, later, you will blame yourself, overcome by your feelings; but, if he harms you, you will be injured, and so will he be, by God, and again, you will grieve at his loss.A shameless daughter has hurt, not only herself, but also her parents and her relations. Keep your daughters shut in and out of sight, like convicts, so that you may not be bitten as if by an asp.Concern yourself first with the essentials for your household, and then with the extras; for, if you buy the extras first, in the end you will sell them, when you are running out of the essentials, and buy the latter. Essential things are those by which we are sustained; extras are things like expensive furniture, and soft bedding, and gilded couches, etcetera. As long as you are poor, don’t attempt building projects which, after their involving you in debt, you will fail to achieve, and will change your mind. Instead, plant vineyards, and work the soil, which will give you its fruits, and you will be sustained painlessly. When you have been abundantly supplied with everything, then begin to build. Money, and beyond that God, will build houses.Don’t pursue a profitable skill which brings you degradation or danger, even if you are very experienced in it - such as counterfeiting and clipping the currency, forging documents, and putting on seals, and things like that.As well as this, I give you the following advice: if you reach priestly rank, become a metropolitan or a bishop, don’t accept (the office) until, through fasting and vigils, revelation comes to you from above, and you receive full assurance from God. If the heavenly apparition is slow in coming, take heart, and wait, and humble yourself before God, and you will see (it) - only let your life be pure, and above the hindering passions. And why do I say 'metropolitan'? If you should be selected to sit on the patriarch's throne, without a divine vision don't dare to grasp the helm of the Holy Church of God. And, if you achieve this, don’t become grandiose, escorted by guards, and heaping up money, and concerned with gold and silver and expensive meals; let your concern be for supporting orphans, and sustaining widows, and for hospitals, and ransoming captives, and for making peace, and standing up for the powerless and not for joining house to house and attaching field to field, and taking away, your neighbour’s property, while you make the excuse: 'I am not offering this to my children, but to Godand my church'. I have seen other church leaders saying such things, and have marvelled at the wiles of the Devil, how he tricks us with things that appear pious. I will tell you: Saint Nicholas, and Saint Basil, and the rest, while they lived in the world, distributed their possessions to the poor, and taught poverty; now, when, they have reached the Kingdom of Heaven, do they then feel the need of the plunder of the poor? Perish the thought. As to my telling you to ask God that you might be honoured with a divine vision encouraging you to take a sacred office - take care that you don't see an evil angel instead of a divine one. Likewise, go through (the works of) the blessed Cassianus, and you will learn what he suffered, (as did) also the wonderful Heron, and the man of Mesopotamia, and many other ascetics. Be extremely cautious in divine matters; and hear the words of the blessed Gregory: 'It is good to retreat a little from God, like the famous Moses, of old, and Jeremiah, later, and to run to Him readily when He calls, like Aaron and Isaiah; only (one should do) both reverently, the first because of our own weakness, the second because of the power of Him Who calls'. Let your concern, night and day, be for divine matters, and for comforting poor and rich.Don’t forget your relations, or you will be forgotten by God.Why do you want to speak at length? Be all things to all men, and God will repay you.If you pursue some other skill, make an effort to learn it thoroughly, and don't be deficient in it. If you can get experience of all skills, do so; only don't abandon the skill which you had originally, and change to another one, unless it is shameful or harmful; for it won't do you any good. The sailor can’t become a soldier, so that if he becomes a soldier he is lost, nor can the secretary become a smith, and so on. Even if anyone, after making this kind of change, has reached honour, yet it is rare. I say to you, don't give a sailor <a horse> to ride, for he won't take care of it. The ship neither eats nor drinks, and he thinks that the horse works like the ship.Pray not to fall into the hands of a doctor, even if he is very skilful; he will tell you things that aren’t suitable. If your illness is slight, he exaggerates it enormously, and will say: 'You needherbs which are very expensive; but I will cure you'. When he has got money from you, 'This isn’t sufficient', he says, 'for the purchase'; then he takes even more. Wanting to fleece you, he will tell you to avoid whatever is contrary to your illness, and will further inflame the illness. Again he will attend to you, and once more increase the pain. When he has done so several times he will get from you what he wants, and, at length, will attend to you. If, therefore, you don’t want to fall into the hands of doctors, eat your fill at lunch, abstain from dinners, and matter lying in your stomach will not burden you. But if an illness comes upon you, fast, and you will be cured without a doctor. Look to see from what (cause) the illness attacked you; if it was from cold, warm yourself, if from gluttony, restrain yourself, if from toil or the sun, rest, and, under God, you will cure yourself. Never place a plaster on your abdomen; when you have placed the plaster, perhaps it will help for three or four days, or for a week, and then it will be bad for you instead. Don’t drink a medicine, or an antidote, or a potion of any sort; I have seen many people who have died from potions, and who were considered to have committed suicide. If you wish to drink in order for it to do your stomach good, drink wormwood. If you are suffering from your liver, drink Indian rhubarb, but nothing more than that. Potions are very harmful, especially for young people. Bleed (yourself) three times, (a year), in February, May and September, ?eat lightly and ?(do) no more. But if illness is pressing, every season is suitable.Scourge your sons and your daughters, not with a rod, but with speech, and they shall not be scourged by anyone else.It is a great thing to make out and perceive the nature of existing things, and to do what is suitable. Some people have made marvellous plans, and then failed; others, (acting) aimlesslyand without understanding, have met with great success; so one should not praise their good luck or blame their bad luck, but (praise or blame) their aim and their activity.Child, don't be proud, even if you should be very successful, but remember him who said: 'Every arrogant man is an abomination to the Lord', and, 'The Lord is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble'. As the thief has to deal with the owner of the property, and the seducer is opposed to the husband of the seduced woman, so the proud man has Godopposed to him.When you are enlisted as a soldier, play the man in battle, even if you are going to die. Remember that it is for this reason that you were enlisted, and that no-one is immortal. Avoid petty warfare; for, if you are wounded, you will die, and after death you will be a disgrace.Where you cannot gain anything, either for your soul or your body, do not extend labour.If you don’t want your secrets to be made common property, write them yourself, and not through your secretary.Endeavour, by the achievements of your virtue, to render your parents respected and distinguished. The man who pretends to admire you, and criticises your father, is dishonouring you yourself; the lion begets a lion, and the fox a fox.Guard yourself whenever you converse with a woman, even if she seems to be one of the respectable ones, and don’t become familiar with her; for you will not escape her snares. Your eyes will be drawn away, and your heart will be stirred, and you will be beside yourself. You will be attacked from three sides, by the Devil, by her appearance and her words, and by human nature. It is a great thing to overcome these.Those who show great anger get involved in great accusations; for they don’t know what they are doing. Some people, drawn by desire, have slipped, and have been cast into the pit. As for you, don’t desire the things that give pleasure, but those that are laudable and worth remembering; even if they seem to be laborious, yet they will flourish for a long time, whether they are physical or spiritual. Take courage; there is nothing good without effort; out of thorns come roses, and out of sweat come better things.When you are lying in bed, examine what has passed, and from that learn what is to come. This is what not senseless, but wise and understanding, people will do as a matter of course. But the fool, looking for what he yearns after, for where there are dinners and cymbals, when necessaries failed him, goes about dejected, like someone who has lost his only son, but in his madness pursuing every device to get something from you; and if he doesn’t get anything, he will fabricate a dream conveying many good things, and, when he has charmed you with his words, he will haul out the gold from your pocket as though with a hook, and, when he has got far away from you, he will boast a great deal, despising you. Pay attention to the actions of the wise and the foolish, from the evidence of what they did, and what they experienced.Guard against swearing at all, either justly or unjustly, even if you are going to be most severely hurt. Even if you swear justly, you have despised and disobeyed Him Who said: 'Do not swear at all', and, if you swear unjustly, death and destruction will seize you. Blessed is the man who has not sworn. Don’t say: 'God is merciful, and compassionate, and, if I swear, he will forgive me'; for I shall tell you that He is also just. Those who have fallen and been given over to ruin were ruined in saying these things. Do not depart from God, and God will not depart from you.Don’t dishonour your begetters by shameful actions; for certainly those who begot you will be thought to be like you, also.It is a great thing to have some slave or freeman who is trustworthy. Even if you have one, and trust him don’t let him even be acquainted with your daughter, as far as possible, and you will have security. For, if criticism is spoken, whether it is true or whether it is false, you don’t know, but even your child will become suspect to you, even if she is from your own loins - and then alas!Don’t entrust to anyone a story that brings you danger, even if he is shiningly virtuous; for the nature of men is fluctuating and changeable, and sometimes changes from good to bad, sometimes turns from bad to good.The man who has buried his wife has lost the half - or even more - of his life, as well, if she is a good woman. And if he will be continent, he will be great before God and men; he himselfwill live in much security and happiness, bringing up his children well, and his children will be carried along as if on a carriage, and his house will be in a peaceful state. But, if he is pierced by the sting of lust, especially if he appears to be continent, as he enters and leaves the house he weeps, as if indeed remembering his wife, of blessed memory, and puts forward as an excuse the neglected state of his house, and the bad condition of his children; he will befriend women who have experience in procuring - whom they call ‘gossips’; he will think them worthy of being invited to his table, and the wretched man will honour the dishonourable. When he has given them what they require, he sends (messages) promising great things, if they will procure him a beautiful wife. They promise (him) the best; then, having been paid in advance for this by a woman, they go to her and say: 'We have found you the sort of man you wanted - enjoy his goods'. Then they return to the poor man, extolling her. After enchanting his ears, and, every day, conversing with her and with him in a pleasing way, and enjoying the goods of both of them, they persuade him. For those who have been pierced by the sting (of lust) tend to fall as a result of what they hear. Then he took her, and his childrenwere neglected. She yearned after other men, while desiring to subjugate her husband, and, using enchantments, she changed him completely and destroyed him. <or ‘she procured and destroyed one after another’>. But if she is one of the decent sort of women, she lay on the marriage-bed, and remembered the husband she had as a virgin, and groaned loudly, and (her husband) perhaps <or: ‘equally’> thought of his first bride, and wept, and their marriage became a sorrow. If they should both have children as well, what could be worse? Strife andquarrels from morning till night, implacable enmity, and daily disturbance. Those whom once their father loved tenderly, and in whose sight he delighted, now that he has been vanquished by a woman, he considers as enemies, and says: ‘I can’t bear to be disturbed by you’. I had many things to say to you on this subject, but this is enough, if you don't choose to turn a deaf ear. I only say this: blessed is the man who observes this.I give you this advice too; even if you are living as a private citizen at home, but the people of the area are subject to you, be on guard in case the people should behave impudentlytowards you whether justly or unjustly, and you should be seriously injured both in soul and in body. This happens even as a result of extreme justice. For, if you are just, you don’t tolerate seeing unjust or shameful behaviour, and, spurred on by this fine virtue, you get angry, with righteous rage, and punish the wrongdoers as they deserve; but, when you have done this to all those who have done wrong, you have antagonised them and their sympathisers, and, having plotted against you, they have risen in revolt from you. So you must be extremely just and true; only, punish the wrongdoers in this way: punish and penalise some yourself, but take others, and assemble the people, and recount the crime to them, and say to them: ‘Judge them’. Even if they are sympathetic to them, yet they will not be able to avert justice, but, put to shame, or rather compelled and reproved by justice, they will say that they should be penalised. And, after their sentence, make the penalty lighter and more favourable to (the prisoners), as though feeling compassion towards them, saying: ‘Your friends and companions have condemned you very severely, but I have had pity on you, and have made the judgement lighter, since it is not wise to punish with harshness.’ Then you will be praisedby everyone, even by the men themselves who are undergoing the penalties. Restore the rest to order by frightening them with words of reproof, admonish others with kindness and gentleness, as a father (does) his own children, and in this way you will be able both to check the crime, and to maintain yourself out of reach of every plot, by the grace of God. As for the very small misdemeanours, pretend that you have not even heard of them, especially <the ones> committed against you and those against your men; out of a hundred (misdemeanours) punish one, so that those who have offended against you may be frightened, but pretend ignorance towards the rest. If you want to repay everyone according to their offences, you won’t be able to do this, neither you, nor anyone else; the Emperor - and why do I say ‘Emperor’? - not even God will do this. For David says: 'If you observe crimes, Lord, who shall stand? For mercy is with you' , and: 'You have not dealt with us according to our crimes'. The prophet Elijah, who was just, and an eager supporter of the law, from an extreme sense of justice called on God to bring a fitting punishment on the wrongdoers, as a result of which even his natural goodness failed him a little, and he took fright, and fled before the face of a woman - he who previously had considered the King as nothing. In saying this, I am not saying that you should not stick by what is just - for the man who does not stick by it is godless - but (that you should do so) with understanding and fear of God. If you choose to punish with severity, and harshness, as if indeed sticking by what is just, then they will behave impudently in an insulting and obstinate way - perhaps they will even go as far as murder. If you are able to punish them, they will be hurt by you, but you will be hurt more, very seriously, in your soul, and you will be blamed by everyone; your actions will be despised, and you will be dishonoured.If some people contrive plots against you, misleading the people towards killing you, if you wish to perform a god-like action, forgive them their sin, and your sin will be forgiven you; but, if you wish to disobey the command of the Peaceful One, as though indeed not tolerating the plot, and to punish them, hear how you can punish them. Don’t resist them - for, being many, they will fall on you and kill you - but be long-suffering, and, if they insult you, don’t answer back yourself. They won’t always be of the same mind, and, when you see them at odds with one another, and divided, even losing, interest, attack them wisely, and use guile in bringing them to their senses - some by fining and some by beating, others with insults and reproaches, but the rest with a friendly manner, since it’s impossible for you to kick against the pricks. But, if they even go as far as war and slaughter against you, unjustly, resist them, and don’t be frightened. You will have performed an action which was human, and not god-like. But if they rose up against you through a fault of yours, set it right; for God does not help those who do wrong, but those who suffer it.Pray not to fall into temptation, but, when you have fallen in, stand firm; take courage, no-one is free from temptation. Being human, you have fallen, in a human way, among misfortunes; only, every wave comes to a calm end.Let your strength be, not in your possessions, but in your intellect, or rather, in God; for through Him we live and move and have our being. If you are treated well by someone, help him in the time of his affliction; but, when you have done good to someone, don’t ask him to share your troubles in the time of your affliction. Misfortune is a dark and grim experience; I consider it as part of the punishment (that is to come) hereafter. Rejoice in good fortune, but don’t be elated; I saw a ruling Emperor, in his pride in the morning, but in the evening worthy of lamentation. The man who is gloomy of his own accord is superior to sorrows.Don’t buy office with gifts; for the man who buys it doesn't know how to administer truly and justly. How, indeed, shall he administer justly? When he has brought the right to administer, he certainly tries to make up what he gave to (the amount of) the original sum, and then he goes on to (make) a profit. So, from this, he becomes hated and a burden to everyone. I advise, not only generals and judges to do this, but also those who are living privately at home; for some people, who don’t have the honour that comes from God, nor, below that, the rank that comes from the Emperor, endeavour, through money and gifts, to be honoured by the rulers of the themes; when they have been given intimacy and honour by them, they arrange by stealth for themselves to receive some sordidly profitable contract from them, so that, when they have ill-treated the poor and made a profit, they may return to (giving) gifts. So, from this, result the inequalities in life. My children, don’t you ever buy an office with gifts, but always ask for it from God; for the apostle says that all office is from God. If you are a private citizen, work the land in the sweat of your brow, according to Him Who said so, and it will give you its produce. It is not suitable for you to be a tax-gatherer and to pledge yourself to give to the rulers what you get from the poor, and for you to reap sins, while those who receive from you reap money.The man who pays attention to fortune-tellers is uneducated and ignorant, even if he appears to be sensible. For there are many treasures buried in the earth, and, if the fortune-teller had knowledge, he would have dug them up and taken them. The interpreter of dreams, and the observer of birds, the enchanter, and the man who tells fortunes from pulse-beats, are like the skills to which they are attached, in that they are futile. Plan and perform the higher things; if you fail you will not be injured at all.The man who is undistinguished in his own skill will not achieve distinction in anything. The unfortunate man is not the one who falls under life's troubles, but the one who worships vanity is unfortunate.It is impossible not to be grieved through the things in which you take pleasure. Let me tell you the old saying of a Larissan man; John was his name, and he was a bishop. He said to someone: 'If you take pleasure in a friend or a slave, remember that he is a man, and is going to die, like a man, and, when he has gone, don’t be thrown into confusion; it will do you no good. If you enjoy a vessel, of gold perhaps, or silver, or glass, while you have it, consider that one gets lost, the other breaks, and, when this happens, don’t be thrown into confusion.Consider each thing in this way, and you won’t fall very seriously'. This man said other things worth remembering also; it’s because I know him, myself, and have met him - when I had a command, at that time, in the area of Hellas - that I have referred to him, only on this subject.When you have taken up a book, read it while you are at leisure; when you have read a little, don’t try to count the pages, or pick out what you think are the better bits, and read them - it won’t do you any good - but begin from the one cover which contains the beginning of the writing, and read it until there is no writing left in it, and it will do you a great deal of good. It’s the act of a gossip-monger, not to go through the whole book twice and three times, but to pick out a few bits for chattering.Don’t be harsh towards your household, only let the people in it fear you; for if they fear you they will behave decently. And you, too, fear your superiors; for fear is beneficial.Avoid a friendship which is harmful to you, and don’t be ashamed to do so, even if anyone criticises you.Consider lunch away from home an imposition; for you will eat and drink not according to your own choice. I considered it more severe than any imposition, if I ever went to lunch away from home.When evening has come, examine yourself, at night, in what you have done, and said, and heard, during the whole day. If they are good things, give thanks to God; if the opposite, be on guard in order that you shall not slip the next day. People who converse aimlessly, and without understanding, are like a man who is travelling in a strange land, during a storm, without an aim and is wandering among ravines, and suddenly, without realising, has fallen into a chasm. Slipperiness catches at the feet, but the tongue (involves) the head (and life) itself. Decay and stink are unpleasant,but unsuitable and undisciplined speech is more unpleasant.Ignoble cowardice is dangerous.When a man has lied, he has also lost even the (reputation for) veracity that he had, and the words of his mouth are suspect. The thief is examined and questioned, not only about what he did steal, but also about things he didn’t even see. A man who has been convicted once of immorality is not accepted in evidence, if he says anything.When a man has lost a valuable pearl, or stones of the translucent and precious kind, he has found better ones, and bought them; but, when he has lost a man - a slave, perhaps, or a free man, or a friend, who was trustworthy and good, it is impossible to find (another).It is dangerous to quarrel with women, but more dangerous to make friends with them; you will be harmed by (doing) both.To have as a friend a snake and a bad man is one and the same thing; from the mouths of both of them comes deadly poison.I never liked to have a companion, nor have I ever lived with a man who was my equal, unless out of necessity. For, when trouble has come, and the companion has also been involved in it, partly or entirely, he will blame his companion, and shake his head, and, even if he doesn’t speak openly, he will say, in his heart: ‘My friendship with him hasn’t been good for me and, see, through him I am caught in difficulties’. His companion, seeing him, grieves in his heart, suffering affliction from both sources, from his companion’s grumbling, and from his own misfortunes. In small mishaps a friend will be found, but in great and enduring misfortune, let no-one deceive you - there will be no friend. But the man you live with, when you want to eat, will, perhaps, have no appetite, or, indeed, vice-versa; or, if you wish to sleep, he will be awake; you perhaps wish to have lunch with a friend of yours, and he will grumble. In short, one person has one rational desire, and another. Just as men’s faces are not the same, but ones that are the same are impossible to find, among all of them, so in our judgement we also differ from one another, even if one man seems somehow to come close to the judgements of another.Don’t quarrel with your brother, even if you seem to have been harmed by him, since both you and he will be considered brother-haters. If your own brother is insulted, don’t tolerate it; for the insult runs back to your father and mother.Those who want to go to law are longing to get into trouble.The man who recognises his own fault is wise; I praise the brave man; but the man of many plans, even if he is wicked, surpasses everyone, for he is useful, not only to himself, but to many others also.The man who falls into temptation undeservedly is blessed; there is no temptation which does not benefit the man who is tempted, either physically <or spiritually>, if the man temptedbears it with gratitude.The man who has designs on other people’s property will, not long after, be banished from his own.Moderate sleep is natural, but much sleep is harmful and blameworthy; the former does good, the latter even does a great deal of harm. For yourself, whether you are living privately or exercising authority, have a man appointed for this, that, when you are asleep, if someone should need you, he will wake you up; for many people, enjoying sleep in this way, have failed greatly, and others have even got into danger. Don’t enslave yourself to sleep and self-indulgence, or, by not working hard, from being rich you have become poor and needy.The man who sees his own brother in trouble, and doesn’t share in his adversity, is accursed; for what could be more hard-hearted than this?Remember your mother’s labour-pains, and do not forget her breast, and repay her with good; for, even if you should be Lord of the whole earth, and all treasures were in your hands, you could not repay her a fair amount. Remember how she comforted you in her arms, and comfort her. Ask God that the prayer of your father and mother may reach you.Remember that there is nothing more desirable for men than children, and, if you have not begotten any, learn from me. Some people tell a true story, how, on Mount Etna, there was a father cutting wood with his son, when suddenly the fire of Etna shot up, and was, as it were, poured out, and enveloped the mountain track, and the two found themselves in the middle of the fire. So, immediately, the son seized his father, who was old, set him on his shoulders, and hastened to escape, disregarding himself by comparison (with his father). The fire, by divine decision, respected the young man's virtue, because he disregarded himself and wanted to save his father, and was checked, and yielded a way out for them, and they were both saved. People deserve remembrance and praise who, even after their parents’ departure from this world, propitiate God on their behalf with money and alms.Don’t play around with a fool; he will insult you, and perhaps even seize your beard, and consider how great the disgrace for you will be. If you allow him (to do this), everyone will laugh; but if you strike him, you will be criticised and reviled by everyone. The same thing will happen to you, also, with people who make a pretence of being idiots. I tell you that you should pity and provide for them, but avoid playing and laughing with them, since it is unprofitable. I have seen other people who, while laughing and playing with a man of this sort, have killed him with their games. Don’t either insult or strike an idiot, whatever kind he may be. Listen to whatever the man who pretends idiocy says to you, only don’t underestimate him; perhaps he wishes to do you a bad turn, by means of his idiocy.In a conflagration, don’t get worked up against the fire, but stand back from it instead; many people have been lost in (a fire), as well as in the collapse of a house in an earthquake.The man who follows after wealth, and desires it will never have his fill of it, even if he gets everything. So set a limit within yourself, and stop desiring wealth, and you will have rest. The man who sets up images of wealth and sexual pleasure in his own soul will never achieve anything noble and praiseworthy, while his mind is deluded, or, I should rather say, darkened, by shameful and uncertain delusions.If someone should come to you, set aside everything you are doing, and hear him, (hear) what he is going to say to you, and don't, on the pretext of other work, send him away without having talked with him. But even if because of dicing or some other game you should send him away without having talked to him - why do I say ‘game’? If you have a sacred book in your hands, and are reading it, and someone should come to you, close it, and talk with the man who has come. If you ignore him, and read, you will be considered a hypocrite, and incompetent, and conceited. But whenever you are alone, if possible, let books be your occupation.


If someone should revolt, and declare himself emperor, don’t enter into his plot but leave him. If you should be able to fight and overthrow him, fight on behalf of the Emperor and the public peace; but if you are not able to fight him, leave him - as I said - and, after seizing some fortification with your men, write to the Emperor, and endeavour, as far as you can, to do (the Emperor) some service, so that you may be honoured, both yourself and your children, and your men. If you don’t have any men to seize a fortification, abandon everything and flee to the Emperor. But if perhaps, because of your household, you don’t dare flee, be with (the rebel), but let your mind be (inclined) towards the Emperor, and, whenever you are able, demonstrate some praiseworthy action. While you are with (the rebel), lure away some of the people whom you consider especially dear friends, and deal with him; and keep faith towards the Emperor in Constantinople, and you will not fail in your hope - but write to him secretly. If you are living in a fortress, in the East, or in the West, which has a citadel, and a rebellion should take place, rise up, and collect some men, and fight the rebel; but, if all around you they wish <to> rebel, collect the produce and the fodder that you have, and bring them inside the citadel, and buy up more produce as well, and bring it in there, and have enough produce stored up as is sufficient for you, and your household, and your slaves, and the free men who have to ride the horses and go out to battle with you. Let the others, both small and great, do the same thing, on your advice. When you have the produce inside, I know well that, when your adversaries attempt to fight you, by God’s grace you will overthrow them, and make them flee.The story of the siege of Larissa, c. 976-986But, if you don’t do as I have instructed you, you will suffer what the parents of Nikoulitzas suffered at Larissa, in the time of Samuel. For, while my pappos, Kekaumenos, of blessed memory, was in Larissa, with the command of Hellas, the Bulgarian tyrant, Samuel, tried frequently, by fighting and also by treachery, to take Larissa, and was unable to. He was repelled and made fun of by (my pappos), who, on one hand, fought and defeated him, and, on the other, also propitiated him, and those around him, with gifts; and, while so doing, sowed the ground, and harvested in safety, and preserved his own people by (assuring) their self-sufficiency. But, when he saw that (Samuel) had got complete control, he acknowledged him, and, having managed him again in this way, he sowed and harvested. He also wrote to the porphyrogenitus lord Basil: 'Sacred master, I, coerced by the rebel, gave orders to the Larissans, and they acknowledged him, and sowed and harvested, with God’s help. And, for the defence of your Majesty, I have gathered crops to supply the Larissans sufficiently for four years - and see, they are your Majesty’s servants again'. When the Emperor learned of this, he approved the ruse of my pappos. After three years he appointed another general to HellasMypappos was not residing in Larissa, but was in the City, nor indeed was the (new) general so active in devising any tactics. When Samuel came, he did not allow them to harvest; in the seed-time he gave them freedom to sow, but in the summer he didn’t permit them to go out at all. He did this for three years, so that, when their food failed, they tried eating dogs, and asses, and some other foul meats, and, when even they were running out, they collected skins which were lying on the garbage-heaps, cooked and ate them, wishing to assuage their hunger. Indeed, a woman, when her husband had died, even ate his thigh. From the pressure of the unbearable hunger Samuel captured them without bloodshed, and enslaved all the Larissans except for the family of Nikoulitzas. Them alone he resettled unharmed and free, and even with their possessions, saying this: ‘I am very grateful to the porphyrogenitus lord Basil, because he recalled your relation by marriage, Kekaumenos, from Hellas, and freed me from his ruses’.If you realise, my child, that you are not able yet to fight the men in revolt from the Emperor, nor are at liberty to sow or harvest, join, and let the people under you acknowledge the rebel. Manage him partly with gifts, and partly with cunning, and write to the Emperor about everything, and procure your own safety. Whenever the Emperor writes to you, do whatever he writes to you, and you will not lose the Emperor's fortress, and men.The story of the Larissaean revolt (1066-1067)Let me tell you what happened to Nikoulitzas the Larissan in the time of the Emperor Doukas of blessed memory. The Emperor favoured him, and trusted his words. One day he said to him: ‘Sacred master, a revolt is due to take place in Hellas, and, if you command, I shall recount to you how it is due to take place’. But he instructed him to be silent. (Nikoulitzas) supposed that it was because of the people standing by that he ordered him to be silent then, and left the subject for the moment. So, after several days, he went to the Protosynkellos, lord George the Corinthian, and suggested to him that he should speak to the Emperor, and meet him privately (to talk) about the impending insurrection; but he put him off day after day. After he had spent thirty days in the City because of this business, and got no answer, he was angry, and left. Furthermore, a comet also appeared at that time, which the experts on these things said was a ‘disc’; they pronounced it maleficient. This thing was large like a disc, and was returning every evening like the moon. It was also being rumoured at that time that Robert the Frank was preparing to come against us.(Nikoulitzas), partly grieved, because the Emperor had not wished to talk with him, and partly afraid, both because of the ominous rumours, and because of the appearance of this sort of star, left.After he went off, therefore, to his home in Larissa, and learned more exactly about the conspiracy, he wrote to the Emperor, (describing) this entire conspiracy. But he - how, I can’t say - did not give him an answer. The people who were preparing this conspiracy did not dare to reveal anything at all to him. After not receiving an answer from the Emperor, of blessed memory, I (he) was grieved; and, wishing to seize the leaders of the evil plot, he reckoned like this: if he should seize them, and didn’t blind or behead them immediately, their companions would, necessarily, be in a position to rise up against him - for they had made a confederacy with the Vlachs and the people of Trikala - and perhaps they would even overcome him, and wipe him out. But, even if he chose to resist them, and a war should take place between them, and some people were killed, or he even seized some and blinded them, the Emperor would certainly say to him: ‘The land is mine, and not yours; you mentioned to me about these things, even once or twice, and, if I chose, I would have heard you.How have you, without having my command, dared either to blind or to kill men? But you did this because you envied their prosperity’. For the Emperor, of blessed memory, was lenient towards things like this. So, after reckoning these things, and how, if he should do this, it would not turn out well for him, as having acted against the Emperor's command - for certainlythey would burn his home, as being that of a rebel, and murder his two sons, and his two brothers, Theodore and Demetrius, and his daughters, and, after leading him into the City,would leave him to suffer, and to be destroyed by hunger - he stayed on in his home, as though he knew nothing, although he had many spies, through whom he even learned their plot, which was this: they were plotting in this way concerning him: ‘If we choose to do anything without him, we certainly won’t be able to complete our plot; but if we choose to kill him, even so we won’t be able to accomplish anything, and we are liable to be badly treated by him - for he has men, and his own people, and the fortress and the land obey him in whatever he says. But let us reveal to him what we have decided’; which indeed they did.They sent to him their leaders, John Gremianetes, the ex-protospatharios, and Gregory Bambakes, and revealed everything to him. He pretended to be ignorant of it all, and said to them: ‘Certainly, if you do anything, I will do it too.’ But his whole object was, once they should all come together, to divert them, if he could. They held their assembly the next day, at the home of Beriboes, the Vlach. Then they announced to the Vlachs: ‘The protospatharios Nikoulitzas Delphinas has also joined our plot’ - for he was a protospatharios then; they were very delighted, and wanted all of them to go to him. He did not delay, but anticipated them and went off to where they were assembled. When they saw him they immediately dismounted, and all came to meet him deferentially, and, when he had got off his horse, they welcomed him, and led him into the midst of them, saying to him: 'We hold <you> as our father and master, and without you we didn't want to do anything; for it is not right. And, since you have come, tell us about this plot, what we have to do'. He said to them: ‘This is no good; for we are offending, first, against God, making him an enemy, then, against the Emperor, who indeed can rouse up many peoples against us, and annihilate us. But, also, it is already the month of June; and how can we harvest if there is turmoil?’ and he said to the Vlachs: ‘Where are your herds, and your women, now?’ They said: ‘In the mountains of Bulgaria’. For this is their custom, that the herds of <the Vlachs and> the Bulgarians, and their households, are, from the month of April to the month of September, in high mountains and very cool places. ‘Then indeed’, he said, ‘won’t the people there capture them - those people, that is, who are on the side of the Emperor?’ When the Vlachs heard this, they were persuaded by his words, and said: ‘We are leaving this plot, and accept this advice’. They put everything aside, however, and reclined for lunch.When they had got up from lunch, and had a rest, at midday they came to him again, all together, the Vlachs and the Bulgarians, after having been subverted by the Larissans. For the Larissans, his fellow-townsmen, said to them: ‘This plot from now on is not concealed, especially as his two sons, Gregoras and Pankrates, are in the City; certainly he is delaying us so that the Emperor may learn of this, and seize us’. So, persuaded by these words, they say to him: ‘Everything that you say is very fine, only it doesn’t suit us to put this (business) aside’. They all ran together and seized him, and said: ‘From today we hold you our head and master, and we choose you, in the present rebellion, to give us orders as to what we ought to do’.He fended them off once, and twice, and several times, with the excuse that he was devoted to peace. Then some of his friends came, and, swearing to him by God, said: ‘If you do not join their plot, you die by their hands’. As a result, even though not wanting to, I (he) became their head, and, while wanting to catch them, I (he) was caught. So they all imposed their evil plot on him and made him estranged from the commands of God. But, in order that their entire land should not be ruined and destroyed, and the people slaughtered and enslaved, I (he) rose up, as if for this business; and he applied himself to caring for everything.He left his house for Pharsala and the Pleres. This Pleres is a river which has a big plain on either side, and which, indeed, goes through the middle of the Vlachs, dividing them on either side (of it). When he had pitched his tent there, he collected together the Vlachs and Bulgarians that lived nearby, and a large number of men mustered to him. He also sent one detachment to Kitros, having ordered them to destroy that fortress, which was done. He wrote to the Emperor: ‘I certainly told you, by word of mouth, that a revolt was due to take place, and I wrote to you again about this when I came to my home; and now I declare to your Serenity - at least believe me now - that they have revolted, and made me their head. So thank God that I have the people safely, and am in a position to destroy this revolt, if you will hear me, and will cancel the tax-increases and tax-declarations that you have created for them’. For he had created tax-increases of many nomismata. (The Emperor) sent the most solemn oaths, (declaring): ‘Whatever I have created since the day that I became emperor, and until today, I remit it all. No man from your side will be banished or exiled, or be sued for any public or private damage, but I remit everything, in the fear of God’.Before receiving this oath, (Nikoulitzas) started off against the fortress of Servia. This fortress is situated among very high rocks, and encircled by wild and very deep ravines. So he went off there; the men there did not wish (to fight) with him, nor did those in revolt (wish) to fight them, but, when he had gone off there, he drew up his forces. When he had encamped in front of them, on the plain below the fortress, he told them to come down to him. They all came down together, and got off their horses, and stood in front of him, in the middle of the camp, with their hands bound, saying: ‘We are your slaves, and, if you so order, we will proclaim <you> (emperor) now’. He said to them: ‘I know that, if I release you, and you go off, from the moment that you enter the fortress, you will not observe what you have agreed on with me, and it would be convenient for me to keep you here; but, since it is an ancient law of warfare that the man who goes off voluntarily, either to an emperor, or to a sovereign, or a general, should not be retained by him against his will, but should go off again freely to his own, for this reason I too release you; go off cheerfully to your homes - and, if you deceive me, I will not spare you’. They made thousands of promises to him, and left. But, after he had warned them, they went up into the fortress and began to pay insults, of the sort that boorish people habitually pay. He was grieved at their (bad) conscience, and began to besiege them, because of their insults; for he did not even want to fight them - because I (he) didn’t even undertake the revolt willingly, in order to struggle for his own acclamation, but because of the people, so that they should not be offended, and destroy him like a criminal. Because of their insults and their arrogance I (he) went against them, and, after fighting them for two days, captured them on the third day.After this both the oath of the Emperor, of blessed memory, arrived, and an icon, with oaths, promises of dignities, and many other things. Only, those who serve the Emperors, even if they speak in accordance with their wishes, are not upright, but deceit and injustice (are) in their mouth, and treachery lurks on their lips. For they wished that there should not be peace then, but that the earth should be defiled with the slaughter and blood of Christians. But my relation by marriage, even though he fell into this misfortune unexpectedly, prayed to God that he might be rescued from it, and might settle the business peacefully; and the good God pitied him, and, by His grace, he was able to settle everything that he wished peacefully. So, he took the oaths, and the holy icon - of our Christ and God, and the Mother of God, and many other saints, who were in the icon - (and) gave thanks to God, Who ordains peace; he summoned the people, and brought out the icons, even in front of everyone, and showed them, and read out to them the oath as well, and advised them to be at peace, and each to go off to his own home. But they did not want to, but said: ‘You have stirred up war - don’t seek for peace’. When he opposed arguments for peace (to them), they did not agree; they uttered great cries, as an undisciplined crowd is bound to do. So he commanded that, from the Vlachs, their chosen leader, Sthlavotas Karmalakes, and, from the Larissans, Theodore Skribon Petastos, should be imprisoned. All the rest, when they saw these men being led away on the road to death, trembled, and fell down before him, and all asked him to forgive them, saying: ‘We will do whatever you command us’. So he was swayed by their appeals, and forgave them, and, taking the chiefs of the Vlachs and of the Larissans, he went off to the Katepan of BulgariaAndronikos Philokales, who sent him the Emperor’s oath. He found him cowering in Peteriskos, and fearing him very much; for he did not expect him to be speaking the truth about (making) peace. From there he went to the Emperor, of blessed memory, in the City, who received him well, and for four <months> he went about freely in the City, with the chief Vlachs and Larissans who had come with him.After this, (the Emperor) sent him to <the> Patriarch of Constantinople, lord John Xiphilinos, of blessed memory, so that, if the Patriarch should reject the oath, and invalidate the agreements by this means, then he would deal with (Nikoulitzas) and those with him. But when the most holy Patriarch confirmed the oath instead, and forgave him, and all those with him as well, and released him from the accusation, the Emperor was openly angered, and exiled (Nikoulitzas) to the Armeniac theme, to the fortress of Amaseia, and shut him up in the so-called Marble Prison. While he sat there, he wrote to my papposKekaumenos, (describing) what had happened to him in his whole life. When the Emperor died, Romanos Diogenesreigned in his place, a man who had a memory for friendship. Directly he was proclaimed emperor, that day he wrote to the protosynkellos, George of Corinth, the praetor of the Armeniac theme, telling him) not to prevent (Nikoulitzas) from coming to the City. For Diogenes, of blessed memory, was a friend of his from the beginning, when he was Katepan. He wrote to him, as well: ‘Rejoice and be glad that God has raised me to the imperial power, and come very quickly, so that you may receive benefits from my Majesty’. Which he did, and went quickly to the imperial City, and did obeisance, and thanked (the Emperor) for having remembered him. Only he did him no other good, except (that) he gave his son Gregory, who was a spatharocandidate, the rank of protospatharios, and increased the salary of (Gregory’s) brother, Pankratios. But, because of people’s envy, he ordered him to go off to his house,and do whatever he wanted; for he had a good opinion of him. So he spent four years in his house, resting, and thanking God and the Emperor; although there were many people who slandered him, yet (the Emperor) believed none of them. (or: although there were many people who slandered (the Emperor), yet he believed none of them.)So, after (the Emperor) of blessed memory was captured by the Persians, (and was) a prisoner, (Nikoulitzas) came to the imperial City again. For, at that time, the most renowned sebastophorus, lord Nikephoros, was judge of Peloponnesos and Hellas. He was a man who excelled in everything, and was very sensible, and very accurately trained in military and civil experience, even though he was a eunuch, great-hearted, very quick, thinking and speaking very acutely. He knew (Nikoulitzas), and had met him, and wanted to compliment him - for, when he had been succeeded in office <he passed> through Larissa - and he advised him to go to the City, because the very gentle and mild lord Michael had recently become Emperor. So,after considering himself that the advice was good, he went to make his obeisance to the Emperor, and the Emperor received him. He was idle for many days, and suffered,because he had pressing business matters. But, after this, the Emperor appointed him chief and registrar of the spearmen and the sailors. For God saw that the revolt did not take place because of any wickedness of his, and He put into the heart of the most pious emperor, lord Michael, (the idea of) pitying and favouring him.Revolts never succeedNo-one has ever dared to create an uprising against the Emperor, trying as well to destroy the peace of Romania, who has not been destroyed himself. So, for this reason, I advise you, my beloved children, whom God has given me, to be on the side of the Emperor, and in his service. For the Emperor who sits in Constantinople always wins.About the VlachsI give you, and your offspring, this advice. Since the race of the Vlachs is entirely untrustworthy, and corrupt, and keeps true faith neither with God nor with the Emperor, nor with a relative or a friend, but endeavours to do down everyone, tells many lies and steals a great deal, swearing every day the most solemn oath to its friends, and violating them easily, performing adoptions of brothers and baptismal alliances, and scheming by these means to deceive simpler people, it has never yet kept faith with anyone, not even with the earlier emperors of the Romans. After being fought by the emperor Trajan, and entirely wiped out, they were captured, and their king, the so-called Dekabalos, was killed and his head wasfastened on a spear in the middle of the city of the Romans. These are the so-called Dacians and Bessi They lived formerly near to the Danube river, and the Saos, the river which we now call the Sava, where Serbs live now, in secure and inaccessible places. Being confident in these (places), they pretended friendship and service to the earlier emperors of the Romans, and used to go out of their strongholds and plunder the lands of the Romans; as a result they were angered with them, and, as has been said, destroyed them. They left those parts, and were scattered throughout all Epirus and Macedonia, but most of them inhabited Hellas. They are very cowardly, with the hearts of hares, but with bravado - and even this comes from cowardice. So I advise you not to trust these people at all. And, if a revolt ever takes place, and they pretend friendship and trust, swearing by God to keep it, don’t trust them. It is better for you not to make them swear at all, nor to give them an oath, but to watch them, as evil men, rather than swearing or receiving an oath. So you mustn’t trust them at all; only, pretend yourself to be their friend. But, even if, sometime, an uprising takes place in Bulgaria, as has been said before, even if they profess to be your friends, or even swear, don’t trust them. But, even if they bring their women and their children into the fortress belonging to Romania, encourage them to bring them, only let them be inside the citadel; let (the men) be outside. If they wish to go in to their households, let two or three go in; when they come out, you let others in turn come in. Pay great attention to the walls and to the gates. If you do so, you will be in safety. But, if you allow many to go in to their households, the fortress will be betrayed by them, and you will be bitten by them as if by an asp, and then you will remember my advice. But, if you observe this, you will have them as your subjects, and will also have freedom from worries.Since the ancients dug the ground and made big pits and holes - for they used the earth for tombs - you must be on your guard against this too, so that the enemy don’t make ambushesin them, and jump out of them suddenly, and injure your men. For you know that the pits are big, with room, some for three hundred, some for four hundred, some even for five hundred horsemen.If the enemy comes to besiege (you), don't insult him at all, but speak to him in a friendly way from the wall; when he comes to fight, then fight him. For by insulting him you rouse him to anger and schemes against you; what good is there to you from insulting and speaking abusively? Even if you see and hear some boorish person paying insults, bridle him, and put him to shame.After adding a few things more I will end my discourse, with this advice to you: do nothing rashly, or in anger, but, in every word and action let understanding and wisdom and fear of God be your guide. And, if a prayer accompanies these as well, then prosperity will go before you as a good angel, and you will be blessed. I am devoid of learning; for I have not studied Greek culture, so that I might obtain tricks of speech, and be taught eloquence. I know that some people will criticise me, catching at my lack of learning; but I have not compiled this as a piece of poetry, for other people, but for you and your brothers, my children, those from my loins, whom God has given me. I have compiled these things, not just in elegant words, and elaborated stories, which have no value, but I have set out the things which I did, and experienced, and saw, and learned, true matters, which are done and which happen every day. Even if the words are perhaps uncultured, yet, if you pay attention honestly to what is said, you will find them very true.Indeed, I tell you this, as well: whenever you want to perform any action, reason with yourself and consider scrupulously. And, if you are confident of completing it, do it; but if there are many things hindering you, and (hindering) the still undecided success or failure of the matter, don’t do it; it is better for you not to begin it at all.


If you own fortresses, or perhaps villages, on your own land, and are a toparch, and hold power in them, don’t let wealth or titles or big promises from the Emperors lead you astray, and give your land to an emperor, and get money and possessions in exchange for it, even if you are going to get four times as much, but own your land, even if it is small and insignificant;for it is better for you to be an independent friend than a slave, and a dependant. You are likely to be noble, valued and praised and honoured by the Emperor, and by everyone, just as long as you are on your land, and in your position of power - both you, and your children, and their descendants. But, when you abandon your land, and fall from your office, for the moment you will befriended by the Emperor, (but), after a little time, you will be despised by the Emperor, and considered by him (to be) worth nothing, and you will know that you are a slave, and not a friend. Then even your subject will be frightening to you; for, if you annoy him, he will go off to the Emperor, and accuse you of plotting evil things against him, or wanting to escape, and go off to the land, that was formerly yours - and you have probably not even contemplated the thing of which he has accused you. Then a frightening tribunal will sit (in judgement) on you, and they will cross-examine you like an evil and treacherous slave. And you, when you are speaking the truth, will not be believed; but your sometime subject, and slave, when he lies, will appear to be saying convincing things, and will receive honours from the Emperor, but you will be silenced, and will not even be able to answer, and either a sentence of blinding will be pronounced on you, by the ruler, or (he will say): ‘My Majesty forgives you’, but you <will be deprived> of your possessions, and exiled, or shut in prison by him. And then you will remember that little land of yours, and your power, and how, from among free men, you voluntarily became a slave; and you, who once used to judge and punish others justly, will then be unjustly condemned and punished. Perhaps the Emperor, even if he knew that you were accused falsely, yet, in order to get back again what he gave you, and what he promised, will overlook justice. It is better for you to be in your land.Honour and love the Emperor, and all those who speak for you. And, if you are sensible, don’t choose to lie to the Emperor, and consider cheating him with convincing words and procuring gifts from him; for it will not turn out well for you.The story of DobronasLet me tell you about one toparch, (and) what happened to him, leaving aside many (others). Iadora and Salona are cities in Dalmatia, where a certain Dobronas was ruler and toparch, a sensible and very competent man. He once chose to go and do obeisance to the Emperor Romanos Argyros, of blessed memory, who honoured him with gifts and titles, and dismissed him to his own (home) with great wealth. So, delighted by these benefits, he did it again; and, once again, he was honoured - not as before, but sparingly - and left. After this Emperor had died, the Emperor lord Michael the Paphlagonian, of blessed memory, reigned, and again (Dobronas) came to the City; but, as he had become familiar, he was despised. When he asked to leave, he was not granted this, and was annoyed, and began to grumble. So, when the people managing the affairs of the Palace learned that he was grumbling, they reported (this) to the Emperor, and, thought up a plan like this: ‘As we have him in our hands already, let us become masters of his land, with no-one opposing us’ - which did happen. When they had shut him up in the prison of the Praetorium, they took his land without trouble. They transported his wife and his son, and brought them to the Praetorium as well. Dobronas and his wife spent all the years of their life in prison, in the Praetorium, and died there, under the Emperor Monomachoshis son, who was despised, and considered worthless, was only just able to escape. And that is the story about them.The story of ApelzarachThere was also a tribal chief, who was called Apelzarach. He too went to the aforesaid Emperor, Romanos, and was honoured with considerable gifts and titles and was dismissed to his own land by the Emperor. And he did this again, but the second time he was despised. After being despised, he wished to leave, and was not permitted to by the Emperor. He spent two years in the imperial City, daily expecting exile and ruin. However, after a period of two years, the Emperor dismissed him to go off to his own (home). After leaving, and crossing the Iron Bridge, the other side of Antioch, he summoned all his men and his household, and, taking his own head in his two hands, said to them: ‘What is this?’. They laughed, and said: ‘Your head, our master’. ‘I thank God’, he said, ‘ that, with my head actually on its body, I crossed to Chrysopolis, and have now reached the borders of Arabia’. For those who try to cheat (others) fall, entangled by their own skill. So, for this reason, you must speak and act honestly, and be satisfied with your own possessions.But, if you ever desire to go and do obeisance to the imperial power, partly to do obeisance in the holy churches, partly to see the fine organisation of the Palace, and of the City, do this once; only, from then on, (if you do this again), you are a slave, and not a friend. But let your envoys go to the Emperor; only, your letters to him should tell the truth, and, in the same way, the men you send should, be sensible, and truthful, and intelligent, understanding what indeed they hear from the Emperor, and saying the things that need to be said to him; and they should not be busybodies. Only, it is better for you to be the friend of the Emperor, while you are in your own land, than (a slave) who takes the trouble to go to the Emperor, and is despised.If anyone visits you, welcome him, and see him off kindly. If you have a sea-coast in the land under you, give harbour and rest to the ships which come, either deliberately, for business, or involuntarily, at the command of the waves. If you live like this, you will be praised by neighbours and strangers, and they will all become your true friends, and your land will be free of intrigues against it, and, you will have freedom from care. But if you become abusive, you will be the object of intrigues by land and sea, and you will be badly treated, both yourself and your land.I tell you to have friendly relations both with your neighbours and with strangers, and, as far as possible, to give harbour and good treatment to everyone, only not to trust them - for you don’t know what they are plotting against you, and your land, in their hearts. But give scrupulous care and attention to your land by night and day, not only when you have to deal with someone, , but also when profound peace surrounds you. They attack all the more then, when you are enjoying profound peace. For our Lord and God, tells (us), in the divine gospels, to be alert at all times. ‘For, if’, he says, ‘the master of the house had known at what time the thief was coming he would have been awake, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into’. Even if he was, perhaps, talking about spiritual things, yet, if you also accept and observe this in worldly things, you won’t go wrong. For they will attack you in the day of your happiness, and will plunder your land, and will kill you; but, if you are able to escape, you will run away naked, deserted, and your land will be in the power of him who once seemed to be your friend. So you must be alert at all times, and be vigilant. It’s not only for you that alertness and vigilance are safe but also the shepherd, and the farmer, and the businessman, and the sailor, and all people who undertake anything, at all in life, if they are a little relaxed, or careless, are ruined; and this is not only true of men of the world, but also of saintly men,full of virtue.If a frontier-commander sends you gifts, take them, and send (something) yourself as well, from what you have; only, know that he is behaving like this in order that, through gifts, you may befriend and trust him, and, when you are free from anxiety, he will attack your fortress or your land, and become master of it. You must guard against your friends more than your enemies.


Certain gossip-mongers, or rather, people fabricating the truth, say that there is some living creature, a satyr, depicting it as a sort of little man, endowed - they say - with reason, and performing the actions of men. So they also bring forward some story of how the blessed Antony was going through the desert to a certain monk, Paul the Theban, and, he says, the satyr pointed out (the way) with his finger, having conversed with him, and led him to a cave, (and) spoken a great deal to the blessed Antony. You must not therefore believe them; for what we have said about dragons, we also say now. God made two rational natures, angels, I mean, and men, and, beyond these, we have not heard of anything rational. As for the angels, some of them remained in the light, and in sanctification, and are there; but the one who, by his brightness, was the dawn-bringer, became darkness through his arrogance. As for men, being endowed with reason, they erred from the right way of thinking, (and) wandered away from the truth. But God, not tolerating our loss, came down, through His tender mercy, being perfect God, and became also perfect man, without sin, in order to save the world, and humbled Himself unto death, death on the cross, and died willingly, and rose by His own power, and made us rise with Him, and honoured us, who had willingly been dishonoured. We find nowhere that He came also to satyrs, or raised satyrs. If the satyr is rational, let them tell us: 'What prophet, or apostle, or teacher was sent to satyrs, and taught (them)? Since they are rational, like men, it is clear that the Lord came also to satyrs, as to men'. Let them show us the ‘Gospel to Satyrs’. But they are really ignorant people, who talk this nonsense. From our blessed and holy Fathers, who practised the ascetic life in the desert, we have heard that the desert supports dragons, and snakes of many kinds, the asp and the basilisk, lions and unicorns, and other animals and species of creatures, and the wild ass; but we have never heard from them of the satyr as a rational man. The fabulous tale of the centaurs is of the same sort, which even the blessed, and holy, and universal teacher, JohnDamascene, examines and shows to be false. So you must not accept (the existence of) any other rational nature beyond angels and men. For he who says this..(? talks nonsense).I say the same also about what’s-its-names, and dragons. Since they also invent dragons, who are changed <into> the forms of men, and are sometimes small snakes, sometimes very big ones, outstanding in weight and bodily size and sometimes become men, as has been said, and converse with men, and dance, and carry off women, and have intercourse with them as men - we will say to them: ‘How many rational natures did God create?’. And, if they don’t know, we will say to them: ‘Two: angels, I mean, and men. The Devil was one of the angelic powers, but he departed voluntarily from the light, and walks in darkness. God made these two rational natures; but since the dragon converses with men, in a changed form, and has intercourse with women, and is sometimes a snake, sometimes a man just like the rest, it is clear that it is rational, and more honourable than man - which neither has existed nor will exist.’ Let them say also who recounts this. For we believe in the doctrines of Moses, or rather of the Holy Spirit, Who spoke through him; and he nowhere says this. But he says: ‘And God brought all the creatures to Adam to see what he would call them; and what he called each one, that was its name’. So the dragon was one of the creatures.I am not telling you that there is no dragon; there are dragons, only they are snakes, born of other dragons. When they are new-born and young they are small, but, when they have grown up and got old, they become big and wide, surpassing the other snakes in weight and size. They say that they grow to over thirty cubits, and that in width they become like a large log. Dio the Roman, who wrote about the empire and the republic of Rome, and told about the famous Carthaginian war, says that, when Regulus the consul of Rome was fighting against Carthage, suddenly a dragon crawled along outside the fortification of the Roman army, and lay there. At (Regulus’) command the Romans killed it, and, after skinning it, he sent its skin to the senate of Rome, a great marvel. When this had been measured by the senate, as the same Dio says, it was found to have a length of one hundred and twenty feet, and its width was in proportion to its length. There is another species of dragon, too, with broad heads and golden eyes; there are no horns on their necks, nor beards on their throats: this species they call ‘good spirit’, and they say that these have no poison. The dragon is a species, like the other animals, too, and has a beard, like the goat, and, on its neck, (something) like a horn, only it isn’t hard, but is flesh, looking like horn. Its eyes are large and golden, and they become both large, and small, and any size. All the species of snakes are also poisonous; only the dragon doesn’t have poison.They also tell this fable, that the dragon, pursued by thunder, is caught up into the air, and killed. But I, when I heard this, laughed, at how sometimes they make him out (to be) in human form and rational, sometimes (to be) a snake, and sometimes (to be) opposed to God, and pursued by God. Really, ignorance is dangerous; for we are most severely injured from not reading the divine books, and searching them, according to the Lord's word. But the soldier says: ‘I am a soldier, and I have no need, of reading’; the farmer puts forward his farming as an excuse, and the rest in turn (do) the same, and we are all deficient.Thunder does not pursue the dragon; but thunders come, as they say, from the cloud, whenever the cloud, which has become wet from moisture, and is being driven along by the air or the wind, is distended. When the air comes inside it, and has burst it, the sound is made; and the noise from above is called ‘thunder’, but if, forced by the air, it is carried to the earth, it is called ‘a thunderbolt’. So then, if it falls on a house or a tree, it breaks and splits them, but if (it falls) on a man, or any other creature, it causes death; and so it is that we often see both men and other creatures killed by thunder, and not dragons.As for flashes of lightning, some are straight, some are curved, some are fiery. They say that the lightning happens at the same time as the thunder; for, as the cloud is burst, immediately (there is) lightning with the thunder. The lightning, being bright, appears straight away, but the thunder delays until the sound of it reaches the earth from the height, and, for this reason,the thunder is heard later than the lightning. Let me tell you, also, an illustration of this sort of thing. Watch when someone is standing at a distance from you, in a high place, and makes a signal; you see his hand striking the wood, and, after a certain space of time, the sound of the striking is heard at your ear.Let me tell you another example about thunder - inelegant, but true. Take a pig’s bladder, which they call an urethra, and fill it with air; then, after binding it and shutting the air inside, jump, and put your feet on top of it, all of a sudden; it bursts immediately, with a screaming sound and a bang. This happens from the air inside, and the blow from the feet, when it is burst and the air is forced out from inside. Imagine the same sort of thing in the case of the cloud; for, when it has been filled with air inside the moisture, which, as it were, has welded together the porousness of the cloud and closed it, and when it is being constricted from outside by the moisture, and is forced to burst by the air, it produces the noise. And, in the case that it happens to strike another cloud, it makes a great noise.Hypostasis is the original composition of each thing’s individual substance.From the first building of the temple of Jerusalem, which Solomon founded, until the destruction, which took place under Titus, the emperor of the Romans, 1130 years, and 7 months, and 15 days. From the later building <under> Cyrus, the emperor of the Persians, which Haggai son of Zerobabel did, 1039 years and 40 days. Those who, in the time of Vespasian and Titus, were captured and died by suicide, [  ̣  ̣  ̣ ?   ̣  ̣  ̣] and those killed were 90 thousand; there were were captured alive eleven hundred thousand, and there died of famine during the entire siege [  ̣  ̣  ̣ ?   ̣  ̣  ̣], in all, with those who were killed, twenty-seven hundred thousand; just as Josephus says, that there were three millions in the city, and they were all lost in the siege.


When people say that the Emperor is not subject to law, but is law, I too say the same. Only, (as long as) whatever he does and legislates, he does well, we obey it; but, if he should say: ‘Drink poison’, certainly don’t do it; if he should say: ‘Get into the sea, and cross it by swimming’, you don't have to do that, either. Know from this that the Emperor, being a man, is subject to laws of piety. So, for this reason, we address this writing to the pious and Christ-loving emperors of the future.Holy Master, God has raised you to the imperial office, and, by His grace, has made you, as the saying is, God on earth, to make and do what you wish. So let your deeds and actions be full of understanding and truth, and justice be in your heart. Look and act with an impartial eye towards everyone, both those in office and the rest; don't maltreat some gratuitously, and benefit others beyond all just reason, but let there be impartiality towards everyone. Let the man who has offended receive a reasonable punishment, according to his offences; but, if you even forgive him, and acquit him of his fault, this is godlike and imperial. Don't hurt the man who has not offended you in anything, but rather - if you choose - be good to him. For the man who has not offended against you is better than the offender; and, if you benefit the offender, and <maltreat the man who has not offended> you <will be> in the position of having done good to the bad, and, bad to the good.Don't pay attention to false accusers. I am not telling you not to listen to them at all; there are some accusers who are speaking the truth. Test the statements of both (sides), and send the false accuser away empty, but not with insulting behaviour, and benefit the man who speaks the truth. If you hear (it said) against one of your officials that he is planning bad things against your Majesty, don't let malice lurk in your soul, and seek to destroy him, , but investigate scrupulously, first secretly, and then, if you find truth (in the accusation), let a court preside against him, also openly; gratuitously [ . . . ] you thereby make him an enemy, from then on, and many others, because of him.Let your benefactions be well thought out, and let men receive them from you who are worthy of benefactions which come from the Emperors. As for the unworthy, , mimes, and those whom they call public men, if you wish to benefit (them), benefit them with a few coins, and not with honourable titles; for an honourable title, by its very name, points to honourable merit. If you honour with the title of protospatharios a mime, or a shameful man, (then), if you honour as a patrician your soldier, who is willing to shed his blood for you, as well as your efficient secretary or clerk, he thinks this worth nothing. I have seen many things of this sort; judges, who deserved ridicule, even prospering, and others, most intelligent and good men, despisedby the Emperors, as well as good soldiers even despised by the Emperors, and liars even flourishing, and I groaned loudly, from the heart, not tolerating the injustice.Take great care of your soldiers. Don't cut their pay; for the soldier who receives from you is selling you his own blood. Give them titles, but not to all of them, but to those who have been efficient. Don't let the foreigners and Romans who are on guard about the Palace get behind in their pay, but let them receive their rations in abundance each and every month, and their provisions, and their pay, intact. Favour them, and you won't be conspired against by them. But, if they are in arrears of pay, they certainly want to go off to where they can feed, and, turning against you, they will become your implacable enemies, and, from then on, they will not desert to you, remembering how they experienced nothing good at your hands; but, instead, they will subvert even those who are loyal to you, and make them revolt from you; and then you will repent, without doing (yourself) any good.Don't promote foreigners, who are not of royal birth in their own land, to great honours, nor entrust great offices to them; for you will certainly injure yourself by doing so, as well as the Romans who are your officials. For whenever you honour the foreigner of the vulgar class, who arrives, as primicerius, or general, what worthy command do you have to give to the Roman? Certainly you will make him an enemy. But, also, in this man’s country, when they hear that he has reached such an honour and office, they will all laugh, and say: ‘We considered him here worth nothing, but, going off to Romania, he has met with such honour. As it seems, in Romania there is not a competent man, and, for this reason, our man has been exalted; if the Romans were efficient, they would not have promoted this man to such a great height’. Don't let your Majesty say: ‘I benefited him for this reason: so that others would see and come as well’. For this is not a good aim; if you wish, I will bring you as many foreigners as you wish, for a bit of bread, and clothing. It is greatly to the advantage of Romania, master, not to bestow great honours on foreigners; for, if they serve for clothing, and bread, be assured, they will serve you faithfully and wholeheartedly, looking to your hands to receive trifling coins, and bread. But, if you honour a foreigner beyond the rank of spatharocandidate, from then on he becomes contemptuous, and will not serve you correctly. Ask and learn, master, how they came in many times of trouble to the previous Emperors, to the lord Basil, the porphyrogenitus, to his father, his pappos and his propappos, and those further back. And why do I speak of ancient (Emperors) ? Not even the lord Romanos Argyropoulus, nor even any of those Emperors, of blessed memory, promoted a Frank or a Varangian to the honour of patrician, but (none of them) was even prepared to make any of them a consul or a stratiotophylax, and scarcely (to make) any of them a spatharios. All these served for bread and clothing, , but the Romans took the great honours and the jobs, and Romania was in a state of prosperity.The story of Peter the FrankLet me tell your Majesty a story about this sort of thing. My pappos, Nikoulitzas, after he had done a lot of hard work on behalf of Romania, came to be favoured with the rank of Duke of Hellas by the rulers, as being trustworthy. He had this authority for his lifetime, by chrysobull, as well as the domesticate of the guards of Hellas. Someone called Peter, the nephew of the emperor of Francia, came to the emperor lord Basil, of blessed memory, in the fourth year of his reign; and he gave him the rank of spatharios, and appointed him domestikos of the guards of Hellas. He wrote to my pappos: "Let it be known to you, Bestes, that Peter, the true nephew of the King of the Germans, has come to the service of <my> Majesty, and, as he says, has decided to be and die a servant of my Majesty. My Majesty has accepted this trust, and has decided that he should be spatharios of the Chrysotriklinion. But, since he is a foreigner, my Majesty was not prepared to appoint him general, in order that we should not injure the Romans, but (my Majesty) appointed him domestikos of the guards who are under you. Since my Majesty knows that you have this (appointment) by chrysobull from my father, of blessed memory, instead of (the command of) the guards (my Majesty) bestows on you the command of the Vlachs of Hellas". See the scrupulous behaviour of the porphyrogenitus towards the foreigner, even if the Emperor was young at the time.The story of SenacheribLet me tell you another story too, Holy Master. Senacherib, who, as you know, was the descendant of ancient emperors, wished to give his land to the emperor lord Basil the porphyrogenitus, in such a way that he himself should be his servant. (The Emperor) accepted his loyalty, and gave him the rank of magister, and nothing more, and that (when he was) the descendant of ancient emperors, and an emperor.The story of HaraldWhen I have told your Majesty another story, I shall end my discourse about this. Harald was the son of an emperor of Varangia, but he had a brother, Olaf, who, after the death of his father, took the ancestral empire, and appointed Harald, his brother, to be second with him in the empire. (Harald), even though he was young, chose to go and do obeisance to the emperor lord Michael, of most blessed memory, and to come and see the Roman establishment. He brought with him troops, as well, five hundred valiant men, and entered (the City),and the Emperor received him suitably, and sent him, with his troops, to Sicily; for the Roman army was there, attacking the island. He went off, and demonstrated great deeds. When Sicily had been conquered, he returned with his troops to the Emperor, and he gave him the title of lictor. After this, the revolt of Delianos took place in Bulgaria. And Harald also went on campaign with the Emperor, with his own troops, and demonstrated deeds against the enemy worthy of his nobility and valour. When the Emperor had subdued Bulgaria, he returned, I too was then exerting myself on behalf of the Emperor, to the best of my ability. When we came to Mesinopolis, the Emperor, rewarding him for his exertions, gave him the title of spatharocandidate. After the end of (the reigns of) the lord Michael, and of his nephew, the ex-emperor, in the reign of Monomachos, (Harald) wanted, and requested, to go away to his land, and was not allowed to, but departure was difficult for him. However, he got away by stealth, and ruled in his land instead of his brother, Olaf. He did not grumble because he had been given the title of lictor, or spatharocandidate, but, instead, even when he was ruling, he kept faith and friendship towards the Romans.But don't choose to do down your city, nor the lands outside which are under you, nor the army, but be a father to all, and they will serve you loyally. A mischievous man of old gave different advice to the porphyrogenitus emperor lord Basil, desiring his downfall, and said: ‘Beggar the people’. (If you do so) they will hate you, or rather rise up in revolt against you; for you are not dealing with animals, but with rational men, who calculate and consider whether they are being treated well or badly. So your Mightiness must act and behave in accordance with the fear of God. Don't let your soldiers be kept waiting for their salary, nor, in the same way, either the senators or the citizens; then each one will serve you, according to his job, as it was established in the beginning, and will not grumble.Don’t let the lands under your Mightiness receive daily tax-increases and tax-declarations, and strange new-fangled devices, and they will not revolt from you; but they will serve you whole-heartedly, if they provide, according to their ability, their yearly taxes to the treasury. Don’t oppress the lands of foreign peoples which are subject to you. Advise the generals to practise self-restraint and piety, and not to act arbitrarily, or to lose their tempers with anyone. Make sure of the judges, so that they will judge with fear of God, and with justice. What is the spectacle that we see now? A fee larger than the total sum (involved), and that not only in suits for recovering debts, but even in unimportant cases.Advise the personal assistants of your Mightiness not to treat anyone unjustly, nor to protect evil men, and enemies of the truth, but rather, if someone comes to them who is being unjustly treated, to protect him. Give them freedom to inform your Majesty about those who are being treated unjustly. Let your relations fear you, and don’t let them have freedom to treat people unjustly.The story of Michael IV and VLet me tell you, master, how the downfall of the Paphlagonian came about. For that (emperor), of blessed memory, did not have honourable parents, but he came of undistinguished parents, of very low class; but he had great virtues. Some ignorant people spread the rumour that he was well-born, and from a great stock, but he was low-born, and humble. - But I say that all men are the children of one man, Adam, both kings, and rulers, and those who seek their bread. I have seen men, snorting with pride, who turned to thefts, and divinations, and magic; these are the ones that I say are ignoble. For man, who is rational, becomes a God, if he chooses, by the grace of God. - So this is how the emperor, lord Michael, of blessed memory, was; he blossomed, as has been said, with great virtues, but he had many close relations who were poor, and who were provided for by the Orphanotrophos. This man was the Emperor's brother, who also administered <the affairs> of the palace. He wished to make them rich, and gave them freedom to plunder other people's things, while the Emperor knew nothing of it. But even the envoys sent out on service, and the imperial officials, wherever they met a mounted man, whether in an inn, or on uninhabited road, would throw him from his horse or his mule, seize it, and leave. And, partly because of them, but most of all through the wrongdoings of his relations, that marvellous man became hated and well-known, and everyone prayed that his family might be wiped out; and that happened not long after. For, when he had died, in peace and in a good state of repentance, and his nephew had become emperor, the whole City rose up against him, and (so did) those from outside who found themselves in (the City), having found as their pretext against him that he had exiled his aunt, the Empress. And both he and his family were wiped out in one day. Instead of him, Monomachos became emperor, who indeed ruined and made desolate the empire of the Romans. So your Mightiness must observe these things. Let the first man of your empire, who administers everything, inform you on every matter, or else a matter may come to your ears, and you don’t have knowledge of it.If you will observe my poor and worthless words, you will depart from your life in profound peace. But, if you give yourself up <to> strange desires of lust, you will be hampered in many ways during your life. For the Emperor is a model and pattern to all, and all look to him, and imitate his way of life. If (his way of life) is good, they strive to reach and grasp it; but, if it is bad and blameworthy, they do the same. So grasp and possess the four virtues: courage - spiritual, I mean, - justice, temperance and sense. There is sense to a good end, and sense to a bad end, and the same (is true) of courage, but no-one could find any activity to a bad end in temperance or justice. So, when you have got possession of the four virtues, as has been said, you will be exalted from earth to heaven, and there is much praise of you, and the Lord will give you length of days, while justice and truth blossom on your face and in your heart.Have much produce stored up, for yourself, and for the imperial palace, and for your city, to last five years, or even six. Have many offensive and defensive weapons, both spears and breast-plates and helmets, shields and swords and anything else that is suitable for war. Have mangonels, too, and caltrops; for you don't know what the evil men want. I saw something of this sort, and considered life wretched. For I saw the ex-emperor, lord Michael, who had once been Caesar, in the morning, when the sun rose, a mighty emperor, but, by the third hour of the day, pitiful and destitute and blind. Don't be elated, master, at the glory of sovereignty, or rather be over-confident in your power, and say: ‘Who can bring me down from the height of my glory?’ For ‘one moment of time,’ says Gregory the Theologian, great in wisdom, ‘and (there is) change in many matters.’ But let your hope be in God, and let it be in safety. Since God made us rational, we must make ourselves secure by His grace, and provide for ourselves, and obtain our salvation, having trusted in Him.Don't accept being flattered by anyone; instead, have friends who criticise you. Let me tell your Majesty a story about this sort of thing. Augustus, the son of Caesar, who was quick to anger, and harsh, and immoral, and had many blameworthy and evil inclinations, but had natural good sense, said: ‘It is not good for me (to be) without a tutor’. So he sent to Alexandria,and brought, with great honour, a certain Athenodoros, who was poor, and in need, but happened to be sensible and very intelligent; he had been described by some of the people of the Palace as great in good decisions, and intelligence. (Augustus) says to him: ‘Do you know, Athenodoros, why I have brought you here with such great honour?’ He said that he didn’t know. Then Caesar said: ‘I have inclinations contrary to my rank; and, after hearing about you that you are a good man in both decision and action, I wanted to have you as a friend and an adviser, so that, in whatever things that you see me doing or saying that are not good, and deserve censure, you may criticise me, privately; and, if I don't accept correction, do so in public, too’. Athenodoros said: ‘You too, oh mightiest, must not turn away your face when you are criticised, and despise me, and I will be your doctor in this matter’. So he did not stop criticising him, every day, until he had made perfect in virtues. When he asked to depart to his own country, he was not allowed to by Caesar (Augustus), who said to him: ‘Oh truest friend, I am still imperfect’. (Augustus) wanted to see Abgar, the Emperor of Edessa, who was most sensible and intelligent, and adorned with virtues of every kind. And, when he had seen him, and entered into conversation with him, ‘I put myself into your hands’, he said, ‘and you will be to me instead of Athenodoros’, – for Athenodoros, had come to the end of his life - and he held him in great honour, not only like a friend, but like a father, and was corrected by him for many years. This is how Augustus behaved, and was corrected by his friends, and from that time, even until now, he is celebrated for goodness.So you, too, have a man of this sort, and give him freedom to criticise you every day on the unreasonable things that you have said and done. And don’t say: ‘I am intelligent, and understand everything’; for I will say to you: ‘There are many things which you know, but more which you don't know’. Only God has omniscience, but man, whoever he is, is deficient. For the angel said to Zosimas: "No-one among men attains perfection".Don’t allow your army to be broken up or to become poor, or you will become poor yourself, and consider yourself very wretched. The army is the glory of the Emperor, and the power of the palace. If there is no army, not even the Treasury stands firm, but absolutely anyone who wants to will oppose you.Endeavour, at all times, (to see) that the fleet grows, and that you have it at full strength; for the fleet is the glory of Romania. Endeavour, also, to have the commanders of the fleet above any bribe or profiteering. For, if the commanders of the fleet are greedy, and bribe-takers, hear what they do. Firstly, they allow obligations of military service to be bought off, receiving from them, not the amount of money which they used to provide for the demands of the fleet, but twice as much - and a ship is undermanned. (When) the eagle is flying in the air, if his wing fails, his flight is certainly not good; in the same way, too, the warships, if oars fail, do not sail well. The naval commanders do yet another thing when they get bribes from the soldiers; they permit (the soldiers) to be unarmed, and, subsequently, when they have an encounter with the enemy, they are put to flight. And why do I say ‘have an encounter’? When they have not even come in sight of them, they flee, and there is disgrace for the Romans. When the warships go off among the islands, on the prextext of (keeping) reasonable guard, they do nothing except collect, from the Cyclades and both continents, wheat, barley, pulse, cheese, wine, meat, oil, much money, and anything else that the islands may have. They do the same in Cyprus, and in Crete. So you must pay careful attention, master, to these things, and keep your fleet intact and fully equipped, and not grumbling at all.So much for the sailors and the soldiers; but make the same arrangements, too, for the commanders of the fleet, and let them be fully equipped with what they require. If they turn to greed, punish them by beating (them), and shaving (their heads), and fining (them). The commanders of the fleet tend, after remaining for many years in the fleet, to acquire (habits of) laziness, relaxation, and luxurious living, in which complete dullness develops. So you must pay careful attention to the fleet, and, if you see them living and behaving like this, dismiss them from the fleets, and appoint others instead of them. Let me tell your pious Mightiness something; and, if you do this, it won’t be dangerous for you, but you will be in great security. If you see the naval commanders with the inclinations which have been mentioned above, don't place other naval officers in their position instead of them, but find, as counts, drungaries, old men from the companies, whom you are due to dismiss from the regiments as inactive, or who have definitely been dismissed, and make them commanders of the fleet. Address them as follows: ‘You know that you are old men, and inactive, and it would have been suitable for you to rest in your homes; but my Majesty, knowing that, if you go off to your homes, you are liable to be deprived of necessary supplies, because of your earlier labours did not accept that you should be (so) deprived. So (my Majesty) has appointed you commanders of the fleet, so that, being self-sufficient, you may not be careless, but, being dedicated, - as the saying is - you may, with God’s approval, win victories’. And know this, that, if you do so, you won't fail in your aim but your fleet will be in perfect condition.Have archers in the warships. Let the Drungarios and the Protonotary of the fleet be pious, active, competent, intelligent, fearing both God and your Majesty, taking care and examining with close attention even the slightest thing that is done in the fleet; for, when the fleet has suffered the least reversal, you will suffer a reversal, and will fall.I know, mightiest, that the nature of men desires rest. But an unprofitable, or rather harmful, rule has prevailed, that the Emperor does not go out to the lands under him - of the East, I mean, and of the West – but is in Constantinople as if in a prison. Certainly, if someone had confined you in one city, you would be pained and distressed at such treatment; but, since you have done this to yourself, what is there even to say? So go out into the lands which are under you, and into the themes, and see the injustices which the poor suffer, and what the agents sent by you have done, and whether the lower classes have been unjustly treated, and set everything right. The themes of the Romans, and the lands of the peoples under you will know that they have an emperor and a master watching over them, and you will know the strength of each theme and fortress and land, and how it is inclined, and in what it is injured, and in what it is helped, and no revolt will take place, nor will they rise up against the administrators, but the (lands) under you will be <in> a peaceful condition. I know that the people who serve you, in order not (to have) to labour, will advise you that it is not good but that you will oppress the lands and the themes, going through them with troops and an imperial bodyguard. They will say this, too: ‘If you, Emperor, go out from Byzantium, another will become emperor in your place’. But when I considered this, I laughed. For the man who has been left behind by you in the palace, taking care of those who are there under his hand, both foreigners and Romans, will certainly be active and competent, and should stay alert and do what is suitable. But let me tell you something else, too. The sovereigns and augusti of the Romans had entirely the same arrangement that I am telling you about - not only those who ruled in Rome, but also those in ByzantiumConstantine the great, and his son, ConstantiusJulianJovian, and Theodosius. They spent their time sometimes in the East, sometimes in the West, but little of it in Byzantium. And, at that time, all the lands were peaceful; and all Europe, and Libya, and the loveliest part of Asia, as far as the Euphrates area, and the land of the AdiabeniArmenia together with SyriaPhoeniciaPalestineEgypt, and the great and far-famed Babylon itself, were subject to the Romans. But, since great torpor has come upon men, or rather attacked them like some disease, nothing good has happened to the empire of the Romans.


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