Both these men were clever at foreseeing everything, and in grasping the essentials’ and there was no strategic trick unknown to them; they were conversant with every kind of siege, ambuscade and regular battles in the open field, swift and brave in actual fighting, and of all the leaders in the world they were the adversaries most alike in intellect and courage.
The Emperor Alexius had, however, a slight advantage over Robert in that while younger he was no whit inferior to the other who was already in his prime, and used to boast that he could almost make the earth quake and throw a whole army into a panic by one single shout!
But these details can be left for a different kind of writing, and are sure to be mentioned by encomiasts. The Emperor Alexius allowed himself a short rest in Achrida, and after regaining his physical strength, went to Diabolis. Here he sought as far as possible to reinvigorate the survivors from their sufferings in the battle, and he sent for his remaining followers from all parts and told them to assemble at Thessalonica.
Great negligence and cowardice
Now that he had made experience of Robert and the boldness of his large army, he condemned his own leaders for great negligence and cowardice (I will not add the soldiers for the majority of those who had been in the battle had had neither training nor military experience), and therefore he needed allies. But how was he to get them without money?
For there was none in the Imperial Treasury which had been depleted so thoroughly and for no useful purpose by his predecessor, Nicephorus Botaniates, that the gates of the treasure-house were not even locked now, but carelessly left open for anyone who liked to walk through them; for all its contents had been squandered. Hence the present embarrassment of the Roman state, which was oppressed simultaneously by weakness and poverty.
At such a moment then what was the young ruler to do who had only lately put his hand to the helm? He must either in sheer desperation throw everything overboard and resign his command, so that, being blameless, he might not be blamed for being an inexperienced and unskilful general, or else in this extremity he must gain as many allies as possible and collect from some quarter or other sufficient money to pay them; he must also recall the scattered remnants of his army by offering bribes which would raise their hopes and cause those who were with him to stand firmly by him, and those away to become more eager to return, and then they would be able to put up a braver resistance to the Frankish hordes.
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