13/08/2020

War with the Normans part 6

But he persisted and made them written promises of gifts and honours, but even so they did not return. Whilst the Emperor was engaged in these preparations for an advance against Robert, a messenger came to tell Robert that the King of Alamania had all but arrived in Lombardy. Then Robert was in a dilemma and deliberated what would be the best thing to do.

After much reflection, as he had left Roger to be ruler over his Kingdom when he crossed to Illyria, but had not yet assigned any territory to his younger son, Bohemund, he assembled all the Counts and picked men among the soldiers, and summoning also his son, Bohemund, nicknamed Saniscus, he made a public harangue and said, ” You know, Counts, that when I settled to cross to Illyria I appointed my beloved first-begotten son Roger, ruler of my country.

King of Alamania

For I could not have started from there and undertaken a task of great magnitude if I had left my own country without a leader, a ready prize at the mercy of the first comer. But now that the King of Alamania has entered it with hostile intent, it is my duty to defend it as far as in me lies. For certainly the man who attacks the possessions of others, must not in any way be careless of his own. Consequently it is necessary for me to leave you, in order to look after my own country, and engage in battle with the King of Alamania.

Therefore to Uds, my younger son, I hand over Dyrrachium, Valona and all the remaining towns and islands which I have won by my sword since my arrival. And I commend him to you and ask you to regard him as my substitute and to fight for him with all your heart and mind.” Then addressing himself to Bohemund, he said, ” And you, my very dear son, I enjoin you to treat the Counts with all honour and ask their advice on all occasions and not to ‘play the master’ by yourself, but to communicate everything to them.

Above all, take care not to neglect the continuance of the war against the Roman Emperor, but see that you do not relax at all now that he has suffered a severe defeat and all but fallen a victim to the sword, and the greater part of his army has been wiped out in the battle. (And truth to tell,”he continued, “he came near being captured alive and only escaped from our hands after being terribly wounded). Therefore take care lest by gaining a respite he should recover and resist you more bravely than before.

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