Basileus

Death_of_andronic_I

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Μεθ’ ἡμέρας δέ τινας καὶ τὸν ἕτερον τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ἐξορύττεται καὶ καθεσθεὶς ἐπὶ καμήλου ψωριώσης διὰ τῆς ἀγορᾶς θριαμβεύεται, κατὰ γεράνδρυον ἄφυλλον ᾠοῦ ψιλότερον ἀκαλυφές τε παντάπασι κρανίον προφαίνων καὶ βραχεῖ ῥακίῳ τὸ σῶμα σκεπόμενος, θέαμα ἐλεεινὸν καὶ πηγὰς ἐθέλον δακρύων ἡμέροις ὄμμασιν. ἀλλ’ οἱ εὐηθέστατοι καὶ ἀπαιδευτότατοι τῆς Κωνσταντίνου οἰκήτορες καὶ τούτων οἱ ἀλλαντοπῶλαι πλέον καὶ βυρσοδέψαι καὶ ὅσοι τοῖς καπηλείοις διημερεύουσι κἀκ τῶν καττυμάτων ἀποζῶσι γλίσχρως καὶ ταῖς ῥαφίσι τὸν ἄρτον στενῶς συλλέγουσι, κατ’ ἔθνεα συναθροισθέντες μυιῶν, αἳ τοὺς γαυλοὺς ἀμφιπεριίπτανται ἔαρος καὶ περιχαίνουσι τὰ πιαλέα κισσύβια, μηδένα λόγον θέμενοι, εἰ βασιλεὺς οὗτος πρὸ τρίτης καὶ βασιλείῳ διαδήματι περιδούμενος καὶ ὡς σωτὴρ ὑμνούμενος ὑπὸ πάντων ἀνευφημούμενός τε καὶ προσκυνούμενος καὶ ὡς φρικώδεσιν ὅρκοις τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν ἐνεπέδωσαν πίστιν καὶ εὔνοιαν, ἀλόγῳ δὲ θυμῷ καὶ παραλογωτέρῳ νοῒ φερόμενοι οὐδέν τι τῶν κακῶν ἐνέλιπον, ὃ μὴ εἰς Ἀνδρόνικον ἀνοσίως εἰργάσαντο. οἱ μὲν γὰρ κατὰ κεφαλῆς κορύναις αὐτὸν ἔπληττον, οἱ δὲ βολβίτοις τὰς ἐκείνου ῥῖνας ἐμόλυνον, ἄλλοι διὰ σπόγγων λύματα γαστέρων βοείων καὶ ἀνθρωπείων τῶν ὄψεων ἐκείνου κατέχεον. ἕτεροι αἰσχρορρημονοῦντες ἐκακολόγουν ἐς μητέρα καὶ τὸν λοιπὸν τῶν τοκέων. ἦσαν οἳ καὶ ὀβελίσκοις ἔπειρον αὐτοῦ τὰς πλευράς. οἱ δ’ ἀναιδέστεροι λιθολευστοῦντες κύνα ὠνόμαζον λυσσητῆρα. μία δέ τις πορνικὴ γυνὴ καὶ ἀκόλαστος κεράμιον θερμοῦ ὕδατος πλῆρες ἁρπασαμένη ἐξ ὀπτανείου τῶν ἐκείνου κατεκένωσε παρειῶν. καὶ οὐδεὶς ἦν, ὃς οὐκ ἦν ἐπ᾿ Ἀνδρονίκῳ κακοποιός. καὶ οὕτως ἀτίμως ἐπὶ τὸ θέατρον ἀπαχθεὶς μετὰ γελοιώδους θριάμβου καὶ τοῦ οἰκτροῦ ἐκείνου καὶ παιζομένου ἐπὶ καμήλου ὑψώματος καὶ ὅπερ ἄνωθεν κατέβη αὐτόχρημα ἐκ ποδῶν ἀναρτᾶται, τινῶν ἀναψάντων ἐκ φελλύρας καλώδιον, κατὰ τοὺς περὶ τὰς ἐπικλινεῖς τὸν τράχηλον ἐκ χαλκοῦ πεποιημένας λύκαινάν τε καὶ ὕαιναν ἱσταμένους δύο στυλίσκους καὶ λίθον ἐπικείμενον ἔχοντας.
(Niketas Choniates, Hist. 2, p. 349-350 Van Dieten)

Several days later, one of his eyes was gouged out, and, seated upon a mangy camel, he was paraded through the agora looking like a leafless and withered old stump, his bare head, balder than an egg, shining before all, his body covered by meager rags; a pitiful sight that evoked tears from sympathetic eyes. But the stupid and ignorant inhabitants of Constantinople, and of these more so the sausage sellers and tanners, as well as those who pass the day in the taverns and eke out a niggardly existence from cobbling and with difficulty earn their bread from sewing, even as tribes of flies are gathered together and swarm around milk pails in the springtime and drink deep from the ivy-wood cups filled to overflowing, gave no thought to the fact that but a few short days earlier this man had been emperor. That he had worn the imperial diadem and had been hailed as savior, acclaimed and adored by all; that they had confirmed their loyalty and devotion to him by the most awful oaths was forgotten. Now, carried away by unreasoning anger and an even greater madness, there was no evil which they did not inflict wickedly on Andronikos. Some struck him on the head with clubs, others befouled his nostrils with cow-dung, and still others, using sponges, poured excretions from the bellies of oxen and men over his eyes. Some, using foul language, reviled his mother and all his forebears. There were those who pierced his ribs with spits. The more shameless among them pelted him with stones and called him a rabid dog. A certain incontinent prostitute, grabbed an earthenware pot filled with hot water and emptied it over his face. There was no one who did not inflict some injury on Andronikos. Thus reviled and degraded, Andronikos was led into the theater in mock triumph sitting on the hump of a camel. When he dismounted, he was straightway suspended by his feet by a cord made of cork oak fastened to the two small columns on which rested a block of stone that stood near the bronze she-wolf and hyena whose necks were bent down. (tr. Harry J. Magoulias)

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