But scarcely had [Zak'aria] gone a day's journey when messengers came in haste to the lodging-place where he was spending the night, to demand the letter back; for the foolish [Georgi] had regretted his action. They took it and left. Now [Zak'aria] went on to the emperor and related to him what had occurred. The emperor inquired about the troops, about their organization and preparedness for war. Zak'aria responded: "[Georgi] has more troops than anyone. He is militarily strong, and ready for battle." When the emperor heard this, moved to anger he said: "You have come from the rebels to terrify me." And he ordered that [Zak'aria] be lead off to Constantinople, saying: "Go and remain  there until I come to you as a fugitive." But he commanded those taking him to cut out his tongue. [Zak'aria] went and never again returned to his place. No, he remained [in Constantinople] until the day of his death [g36].
After these [events] the emperor left his camp at Salk'ora and went with his troops to the forward position called Shghp'ay. When the Abkhaz [Georgi] learned about this, since they had not yet encamped or secured themselves with a rampart, he attempted the following wily scheme: he sent one of his bishops as an emissary, then he, with the troops, proceeded after the emissary so that coming upon [the Byzantines] unexpectedly, he could put them to flight in terror. Those who arrived riding spirited horses did not proceed in war formation, but rather as if they were out for looting. It was [then] just as it had been in antiquity, in the days of Yovram when the Moabites having come against Israel were themselves subjected to the sword of bitterness. So now [the Abkhazes] encountered the same [fate]. Although they arrived boldly on their horses, they were exhausted from the weight of their iron weapons, and from the rapid and lengthy journey. Immediately and without trouble,  the Byzantine troops surrounded them and killed a countless multitude. The survivors, together with their king, fled to the stronghold of Abkhazia. The [Byzantine] troops which pursued them [continued] killing until sunset. Then the emperor ordered that the heads of the slain be gathered together at one spot, and that everyone who brought a head would be given one dahekan. Searching everywhere they collected the heads of the fallen in one place, before the emperor. He commanded that [the heads] be made into piles and placed along the road, to shock and terrify the beholders.
After this, when Georgi saw himself stripped of all hope, he beseeched the emperor to come to terms. Hearing this, [Basil] pitied him, and wrote [to Georgi] an edict having the following import: "Do not think that having vanquished you, I shall demand more from you than previously. Rather, give me the patrimony ("my patrimony") which the Curopalate had given me [g37], and give me your son as a hostage, and there will be peace between us." [Georgi] consented to this. The emperor set up princes over the district who divided [it up] House by House, village by village, and field by field, just as it had been before.  Emperor Basil took the hostages, promising to return them after three years. Then he and his troops circulated around Armenia (zHayovk'), camping in the extensive plain of Her. He commanded the troops to cut down the city's orchards. He who was prince of that city beseeched the emperor that [he permit him] to be tributary and subject to him.
While [Basil] was occupied with this proposal—since the entire land of Persia was in terror and quaking and [the people] were seeking some means of salvation—suddenly the sky became thick with clouds, and torrents of rain poured down to earth. Then the bitter north wind blew, turning the rain to hail, snow, and ice, falling heavily and covering the face of the country. This was the time for [such a downfall], since winter had arrived. With the prolongation of the snowstorm and [the continued] severity of the icy cold, herds of horses and mules became numbed and were unable to move. As for the army's infantrymen, the cold caused their fingers and toes to fall off, as if scorched by fire. Furthermore the cords and stakes for the tents could not be moved, since they had become stuck to the ground from the severity of the bitter storm. It seems to me that this was recompense for the merciless  sword which they had let loose on the Christians. For although [the Abkhazes] were subjected to this [treatment] because of their sins, nonetheless, they should have been pitied, as God had said to the [g38] Babylonians "I gave My people into your hand; you showed them no mercy" [Isaiah 47.6]. Consequently, they were tormented with the bitter cold, not on lofty mountains but on deep and very temperate plains, in full view of their enemies. [Her] was just as Egypt had been in Moses' day—afflicted with hail and drizzling rain—quite out of keeping with the nature of the area. Thus did the barbarians clearly realize that it was the hand of the All-Mighty which was warring with them. Now when this had so transpired, those who had any power and strength left, mounted their horses, together with the king, and crossed over to the Arcrunik' district, forgetting about their belongings, and driven by the cold as if pursued by enemies. When [the inhabitants] of the city [of Her] saw [the Byzantine departure], they suddenly rushed forth and joyfully pounced upon [what had been left], filling up with booty of horses, mules, tents and other stuff which [the Byzantines] had been unable to concern themselves with, being dazed by the cold. Now the emperor, ridiculed by the looters,  clearly realized that the hand of the Lord had given the Georgians into his hand, as is written in the book of Kings "The mighty does not wax strong by his own might; rather the lord weakens his adversary" [I Kings 2.9]. Then the emperor and his troops moved on, passing numerous lodging-places, and reached his city of Constantinople. After three years he released the son of the Abkhaz [king] with many gifts. He himself grew ill with the pain of death.
However, since [Basil's] brother and co-emperor, Constantine (Kostandin), was in the district of the Nicaeans, the emperor ordered that messengers be sent so that [Constantine] would come to him speedily. Now those who were [the military] commanders, although they verbally consented [to the order], nonetheless concealed the emperor's command amongst themselves, because [g39] they did not want Constantine to be emperor. After issuing many commands, the emperor perceived their guile and he ordered his attendants: "Bring me a horse!" Getting out of bed, [Basil] mounted the horse, and rode outside the palace in view of the city. When many [people] saw this, in dread they went and submerged themselves in dark [underground] chambers.  Then the messengers, having picked up Constantine, quickly brought him [to Constantinople]. When the emperor saw this, he placed the crown of the kingdom on [Constantine's] head and confirmed him as emperor. He instructed him, as David [had advised] Solomon not to leave alive those who were stirring up the realm and those who had not wanted him to rule over them. But not as David, [rather] he should seek other causes [for putting them to death]. Then [Basil] took himself to bed, and grew weak, and after two days, died [A.D. 1025]. He had reigned for fifty years. While he was dying a certain marvellous sign appeared in the heavens. In the evening, as he was breathing his last, a lightning bolt of fire split the upper Ether and suddenly fell down. Everyone saw it and said that it presaged the emperor's death.
Now when the emperor heard about this, he did not do anything immediately to punish [Komianos], rather, he bided his time for an entire year until he was more in control.  Then, at the commencement of the second year, he sent an executioner who came and blinded [Komianos] and the some eight men who were with him. It is very worthy of repentance that such an honorable man and one worthy of good remembrances should have fallen into such wicked deeds. For it was [Komianos] who had placed [the city of] Archesh with its estates under Byzantine control.
Now when the second year had come, the emperor sent to the East a certain eunuch named Nikit, who was to be overseer of the land. He arrived and crossed through the district of Georgia. Through deception he expelled from their patrimonies numerous azats of the land, and sent them to the emperor's court. Seeing this, in joy, [the emperor] honored them with very great gifts and princely station, bestowing upon each in accordance with his worth villages and awans by signed and sealed documents, as perpetual inheritance. At the start of the third year, the eunuch Simon, who held sway over half the kingdom and was styled in Greek para-koimonemos (parhekimanos), came to the East with numerous troops. Having arrived [g41], he crossed the land of Georgia. But he was unable to do anything, since the bad news of the emperor's death  followed. As soon as [Simon] heard about this, taking the troops, he immediately returned to Constantinople.
[Romanus], in the first year of his reign, assembled troops and set out for the area of the Antiochans, wanting to go against the city called Aleppo (Halp), to take and destroy it. He came upon the mountain called Seaw (Black) where he saw a multitude of monks and  cenobites who, although possessed of physical bodies, were more like incorporeal [beings]. [With respect to dress], they were satisfied with a wrapping or jacket of goat hair, similar to John [the Baptist], but [with this difference, namely] that he had eaten locusts and wild honey, while they, with iron hoes in hand, fatiguingly labored to ready their daily meal from barley seeds. They left to those [g42] who love this world the diverse delicacies, delicious foods and the joy-producing wine supplied by the vine. Having climbed to the mountain's summit, they became conversants with the first prophet [Moses], and were always speaking with God.
When the emperor saw them, he asked of his worthies: "What is this multitude of heretics?" They replied: "They are flocks who pray, always asking for peace for the world, and for your health." The emperor returned: "I do not need their prayers. Record all the monks as bowmen for service in my realm." For [Romanus] greatly approved of the declaration of Chalcedon, and hated all orthodox [Monophysite] believers. He took the Syrian bishop to Conntantinople, subjecting him to ridicule and ignominy. He ordered that his beard  be shorn off, and that he be led around the squares and streets seated on an ass, to be spat upon. Later he ordered [the bishop] taken into exile, where he died. The emperor was just such a fool. He did not think about how previous kings had displayed concern toward those peoples under their sway. Instead, with a capricious order he wanted to introduce changes into God's churches, not remembering the Lord's unerring command: "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him" [Matthew 21.44]. Consequently, the righteous verdicts of God quickly came upon him. For on the [g43] very road [which Romanus] was travelling, an army of Tachiks arose. [This army, comprising] not more than 800 or 1000 men, pounced upon the numberless (biwrawor) [Byzantine] hosts. They killed an inestimable number [of men], took as booty the treasures of the emperor and his soldiers, and returned to their city.
Now with great indignities the emperor took to flight, racing to his capital city. Then, humiliated by his grievous impiety, he managed to recall the words of the Song of David: "It is better to take refuge in the Lord and the saints' prayers than to put confidence in princes and plentiful treasures" [Psalms 117.9]. For in no way can they be of help on the day of wrath.  From that [defeat] onward until the day of his death, [Romanus] never again ventured forth from the royal city.
[Salamay], afraid that the chief [men] of the city would not obey him, sent one of his loyal servants to Maneak, who at that time held sway over the borders of the Byzantine district and resided in the city called Samusat (which they say was built by Sampson). [Salamay] had done this so that [Maneak] would inform the emperor to give [Salamay] princedom and eternal inheritance in the Byantines' land [confirmed] by writ and the royal seal. "And," [Salamay] said, "I shall give him the city, without warfare" [g44].  When emperor Romanus heard this, he wrote [to Salamay] a document of consent, making him an antipatos patrician, and subsequently exalting him with great and prominent honor.
Now the citizens [of Edessa], as soon as they heard the sound of clamor and the blare of trumpets, came forth dismayed and full of trepidation, terrified and agitated, crowded one on the other as waves of the sea. When they were unable to discern any way out, those who were Muslims, departed during the night and hurried to a nearby city where they informed [the people] about the unexpected emergency which had developed. As soon as they [the Byzantines] heard what had happened, an order was given and a multitude of troops assembled at one spot. They came against the city, breached its wall and entered, causing great destruction. Thus many citizens went and secured themselves in the cathedral, others [took refuge] in secure places or towers. The besiegers destroyed many places with the flame and even set fire to the blessed cathedral itself. They opened the treasuries of that house of holiness, which former kings of Armenia had provided with vessels suitable for a temple of the Lord,  and removing everything in great haste, they returned to their places. From that day forth the city [of Edessa] fell into the hands of the Byzantines.
[Michael] himself was wickedly afflicted by a dew, even while he went to the churches and the resting-places of the saints. However, I do not know whether this [affliction] was vengeance for the death of Romanus, who died unjustly, or whether [Michael] was naturally possessed. They say that there were other causes, that because the kingdom was not properly his, he would go to the city of the Thessalonicans to a certain woman witch giving himself in service to the father of all evil, just as in ancient times, in the time of Basil they say, a youth  had done [similar] things by means of a witch. [And they say] that through a demon of prostitution he had inflamed the queen with love for himself, and that she had set him up as emperor of the lands. Now after this deed had been done, [Michael] in accordance with royal custom was obliged to go to church on the Lord's feast-days. But the wicked dew was unable to abide this, thinking that [Michael] was rebelling from him. People who say this confirm it [by the fact that] the emperor was in Thessalonica frequently, probably with the witch. In any case, until his death, [the demon] which tormented [Michael] did not leave him [g47].
During [Michael's] reign [1034-1041], a great destruction of the Byzantine troops occured in the fortified city named Berkri. [This city] which is on the territory of the Arcrunik' land had, together with its estates, long since been ravished by the Persians, who controlled it. The district chief of Vaspurakan, a certain Kawasilas, came [against the city] with numerous troops, took it, and established there cavalry brigades to guard the city. Then another individual replaced [Kawasilas], took the troops and went to a very distant place called Arcak, on account  of the abundance of victuals and other things needed by the cavalry [to be found there]. Now the lord of the city, who was named Xtrik, being shut up in the fortress, informed the chiefs of the land of Persia, and they, quickly spreading the word around, assembled in one place, came against the city, investing it with a rampart. The Byzantine troops, benumbed by wine and by their licentious activities, were unable to take care of themselves. Furthermore the protector of Israel deprived them of His aid. [The Persians] killed with the sword some 24,000 men. This [disaster] occurred not because of the righteousness of the Persians, but because of the impiety of our [Christian] troops which caused the sword of bitterness to be lifted up [for it is] just as the Lord said: "The wicked shall be destroyed wickedly" [Matthew 21.41]. Now those troops which were at Arcak did not arrive to help them [in Berkri]. Then the Persian troops, taking the loot and booty of the slain, went off to their own land. En route, at a lodging-place, since [the Persians] had many captives with them, Xtrik ordered that the ground be dug down to a depth of the human body, and that the captives be slaughtered over that ditch until it was full. Then [Xtrik] got in  and bathed in the blood of the slain, to calm his wrathful heart [g48].
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