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1081)

Pompey the sublime or extravagant idea of a bridge. Before the (May, A.D. general embarkation, the Norman duke dispatched Bohemond

with fifteen galleys to seize or threaten the isle of Corfu, to survey the opposite coast, and to secure an harbour in the neighbourhood of Vallona for the landing of the troops. They passed and landed without perceiving an enemy; and this successful experiment displayed the neglect and decay of the naval power of the Greeks. The islands of Epirus and the maritime towns were subdued by the arms or the name of Robert, who led his fleet and army from Corfu (I use the modern appellation) 84 to the siege of Durazzo. That city, the western key of the empire, was guarded by ancient renown and recent fortifications, by George Palæologus, a patrician, victorious in the Oriental wars, and a numerous garrison of Albanians and Macedonians, who, in every age, have maintained the character of soldiers. In the prosecution of his enterprise, the courage of Guiscard was assailed by every form of danger and mischance. In the most propitious season of the year, as his fleet passed along the coast, a storm of wind and snow unexpectedly arose: the Adriatic was swelled by the raging blast of the south, and a new shipwreck confirmed the old infamy of the Acroceraunian rocks. 85

The sails, the masts, and the oars were shattered or torn away; the sea and shore were covered with the fragments of vessels, with arms and dead bodies; and the greatest part of the provisions were either drowned or damaged. The ducal galley was laboriously rescued from the waves, and Robert halted seven days on the adjacent cape, to collect the relics of his loss and revive the drooping spirits of his soldiers. The Normans were no longer the bold and experienced mariners who had explored the ocean from Greenland to Mount Atlas, and who smiled at the petty dangers of the Mediterranean. They had wept during the tempest; they were alarmed by the hostile approach of the Venetians, who had been solicited by the prayers and promises of the Byzantine court. The first day's

84 (Corfu, of course, is not a corruption of Kerkyra, but is the medieval Greek name Kopup, which, originally applied to the hill-town (kopuoh), was extended to designate the island.]

85 Infames scopulos Acroceraunia, Horat. carm. i. 3. The præcipitem Africum decertantem Aquilonibus et rabiem Noti, and the monstra natantia of the Adriatic, are somewhat enlarged ; but Horace trembling for the life of Virgil is an interesting moment in the history of poetry and friendship.

86

action was not disadvantageous to Bohemond, a beardless youth, who led the naval powers of his father. All night the galleys of the republic lay on their anchors in the form of a crescent; and the victory of the second day was decided by the dexterity of their evolutions, the station of their archers, the weight of their javelins, and the borrowed aid of the Greek fire. The Apulian and Ragusian vessels fled to the shore, several were cut from their cables and dragged away by the conqueror; and a sally from the town carried slaughter and dismay to the tents of the Norman duke. A seasonable relief was poured into Durazzo, and, as soon as the besiegers had lost the command of the sea, the islands and maritime towns withdrew from the camp the supply of tribute and provision. That camp was soon afflicted with a pestilential disease; five hundred knights perished by an inglorious death; and the list of burials (if all could obtain a decent burial) amounted to ten thousand persons. Under these calamities, the mind of Guiscard alone was firm and invincible: and, while he collected new forces from Apulia and Sicily, he battered, or scaled, or sapped, the walls of Durazzo. But his industry and valour were encountered by equal valour and more perfect industry. A moveable turret, of a size and capacity to contain five hundred soldiers, had been rolled forwards to the foot of the rampart; but the descent of the door or draw-bridge was checked by an enormous beam, and the wooden structure was instantly consumed by artificial flames.

While the Roman empire was attacked by the Turks in the the army East and the Normans in the West, the aged successor of Michael of the enisurrendered the sceptre to the hands of Alexius, an illustrious Alexius. captain, and the founder of the Comnenian dynasty. The prin-tember cess Anne, his daughter and historian, observes, in her affected style, that even Hercules was unequal to a double combat; and,

a on this principle she approves an hasty peace with the Turks, which allowed her father to undertake in person the relief of Durazzo. On his accession, Alexius found the camp without soldiers, and the treasury without money; yet such were the vigour and activity of his measures that, in six months, he

and march

April-Sep

Tôv 8è els Tov túywva autoll DUBploávrwv (Alexias, 1. iv. p. 106 (c. 2)). Yet ibe Norrans shaved, and Venetians wore their beards ; they must have derided the Ten-beard of Bobemond : an harsh interpretation! (Ducange, Not. ad Alexiad. p.

assembled an army of seventy thousand men, and performed a march of five hundred miles. His troops were levied in Europe and Asia, from Peloponnesus to the Black Sea; his majesty was displayed in the silver arms and rich trappings of the companies of horseguards; and the emperor was attended by a train of nobles and princes, some of whom, in rapid succession, had been clothed with the purple, and were indulged by the lenity of the times in a life of affluence and dignity. Their youthful ardour might animate the multitude; but their love of pleasure and contempt of subordination were pregnant with disorder and mischief; and their importunate clamours for speedy and decisive action disconcerted the prudence of Alexius, who might have surrounded and starved the besieging army. The enumeration of provinces recalls a sad comparison of the past and present limits of the Roman world : the raw levies were drawn together in haste and terror; and the garrisons of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, had been purchased by the evacuation of the cities which were immediately occupied by the Turks. The strength of the Greek army consisted in the Varangians, the Scandinavian guards, whose numbers were recently augmented by a colony of exiles and volunteers from the British island of Thule. Under the yoke of the Norman conqueror, the Danes and English were oppressed and united: a band of adventurous youths resolved to desert a land of slavery; the sea was open to their escape ; and, in their long pilgrimage, they visited every coast that afforded any hope of liberty and revenge. They were entertained in the service of the Greek emperor; and their first station was in a new city on the Asiatic shore: but Alexius soon recalled them to the defence of his person and palace; and bequeathed to his successors the inheritance of their faith and valour. 88

The name of a Norman invader revived the memory of their wrongs: they marched with alacrity against the national foe, and panted to regain in Epirus the glory which they had lost in the battle of Hastings. The Varangians were supported by some companies of Franks or Latins; and the rebels, who had Aled to Constantinople from the tyranny of Guiscard, were eager to signalise their zeal and gratify their revenge. In this emergency, the emperor had not disdained the impure aid of the Paulicians or Manichæans of Thrace and Bulgaria; and these heretics united with the patience of martyrdom the spirit and discipline of active valour.89 The treaty with the sultan had procured a supply of some thousand Turks; and the arrows of the Scythian horse were opposed to the lances of the Norman cavalry. On the report and distant prospect of these formidable numbers, Robert assembled a council of his principal officers. "You behold,” said he, “your danger; it is urgent and inevitable. The hills are covered with arms and standards; and the emperor of the Greeks is accustomed to wars and triumphs. Obedience and union are our only safety; and I am ready to yield the command to a more worthy leader.” The vote and acclamation, even of his secret enemies, assured him, in that perilous moment, of their esteem and confidence; and the duke thus continued: “Let us trust in the rewards of victory, and deprive cowardice of the means of escape.

87 Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. ix. p. 136, 137) observes that some authors (Petrus Diacon. Chron. Casinen. l. iii. c. 49) compose the Greek army of 170,000 men, but that the hundred may be struck off, and that Malaterra reckons only 70,000 : a slight inattention. The passage to which he alludes is in the Chronicle of Lupus Protospata (Script. Ital. tom. v. p. 45). Malaterra (1. iv. c. 27) speaks in high, but indefinite, terms of the emperor, cum copiis innumerabilibus ; like the Apulian poet (1. iv. p. 272).

More locustarum montes et plada teguntur. 88 See William of Malmsbury, de Gestis Anglorum, 1. ii. p. 92. Alexius fidem Anglorum suscipiens præcipuis familiaritatibus suis eos applicabat, amorem eorum filio transcribens. Ordericus Vitalis (Hist. Eccles. I. iv. p. 508, 1. vii. p. 641) relates their emigration from England, and their service in Greece.

Let us burn our vessels and our baggage, and give battle on this spot, as if it were the place of our nativity and our burial.” The resolution was unanimously approved ; and, without confining himself to his lines, Guiscard awaited in battle-array the nearer approach of the enemy.

His rear was covered by a small river; his right wing extended to the sea; his left to the hills; nor was be conscious, perhaps, that on the same ground Cæsar and Pompey had formerly disputed the empire of the world.90

Against the advice of his wisest captains, Alexius resolved Battle of to risk the event of a general action, and exhorted the garrison A.D. 1081, of Durazzo to assist their own deliverance by a well-timed sally from the town. He marched in two columns to surprise the Normans before day-break on two different sides: his light

** See the Apulian, 1. i. p. 256. The character and story of these Manichæans has been the subject of the livth chapter.

** See the simple and mastorly narrative of Cæsar himself (Comment. de Bell. Civil. iii. 41-75). It is a pity that Quintus Icilius (M. Guischard) did not live to analyse these operations, as he has done the campaigns of Africa and Spain.

Durazzo.

October 18

cavalry was scattered over the plain ; the archers formed the second line; and the Varangians claimed the honours of the vanguard. In the first onset, the battle-axes of the strangers made a deep and bloody impression on the army of Guiscard, which was now reduced to fifteen thousand men. The Lombards and Calabrians ignominiously turned their backs; they fled towards the river and the sea; but the bridge had been broken down to check the sally of the garrison, and the coast was lined with the Venetian galleys, who played their engines among the

disorderly throng. On the verge of ruin, they were saved by (Sigelgaita) the spirit and conduct of their chiefs. Gaita, the wife of Robert, is

painted by the Greeks as a warlike Amazon, a second Pallas; less skilful in arts, but not less terrible in arms, than the Athenian goddess : 91 though wounded by an arrow, she stood her ground, and strove, by her exhortation and example, to rally the flying troops. Her female voice was seconded by the more powerful voice and arm of the Norman duke, as calm in action as he was magnanimous in council: “Whither," he cried aloud, “whither do ye fly? your enemy is implacable; and death is less grievous than servitude.” The moment was decisive: as the Varangians advanced before the line, they discovered the nakedness of their flanks; the main battle of the duke, of eight hundred knights, stood firm and entire; they couched their lances, and the Greeks deplore the furious and irresistible shock of the French cavalry. 93 Alexius was not deficient in the duties of a soldier or a general ; but he no sooner beheld the

92

91 Πάλλας άλλη κάν μή Αθήνη [Anna Comn., iv. c. 6], which is very properly translated by the president Cousin (Hist. de Constantinople, tom. iv. p. 131 in 12mo), qui combattoit comme une Pallas, quoiqu'elle ne fût pas aussi savante que celle d'Athènes. The Grecian goddess was composed of two discordant characters, of Neith, the workwoman of Sais in Egypt, and of a virgin Amazon of the Tritonian Lake in Libya (Banier, Mythologie, tom. iv. p. 1-31 in 12mo).

99 Anna Comnena (1. iv. p. 116 [c. 6]) admires, with some degree of terror, her masculine virtues. They were more familiar to the Latins; and, though the Apulian (l. iv. p. 273) mentions her presence and her wound, he represents her as far less intrepid.

Uxor in hoc bello Roberti forte sagitta
Quâdam læsa fuit; quo vulnere territa nullam

Dum spera bat opem se pæne subegerat bosti.
The last is an unlucky word for a female prisoner.

23 'Aπό της [μετά] του Ρομπέρτου προηγησαμένης μάχης, γινώσκων την πρώτην κατά TWV évavriwvintaglav Tv Kentwv åvúpolotov (Anna, 1. v. p. 133 (c. 3]), and elsewhere και γάρ Κέλτος ανήρ πας εποχούμενος μεν ανύποιστος την ορμήν και την θέαν εστίν (p. 140 (0.6]). The pedantry of the princess in the choice of classic appellations en. couraged Dacange to apply to his countrymen the characters of the ancient Gauls,

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