Francesco Salviati, Totila, ca. 1549
Francesco Salviati, Totila (ca. 1549)

Τουτίλας δὲ μόνος ἐν μεταιχμίῳ ἐγένετο, οὐ μονομαχήσων, ἀλλὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῖς ἐναντίοις τοῦτον ἐκκρούσων. Γότθων γὰρ τοὺς ἀπολειπομένους δισχιλίους ἄγχιστά πη προσιέναι μαθὼν ἀπετίθετο ἐς τὴν αὐτῶν παρουσίαν τὴν ξυμβολὴν, ἐποίει δὲ τάδε. πρῶτα μὲν οὐκ ἀπηξίου τοῖς πολεμίοις ἐνδείκνυσθαι ὅστις ποτὲ εἴη. τήν τε γὰρ τῶν ὅπλων σκευὴν κατακόρως τῷ χρυσῷ κατειλημμένην ἠμπίσχετο καὶ τῶν οἱ φαλάρων ὁ κόσμος ἔκ τε τοῦ πίλου καὶ τοῦ δόρατος ἁλουργός τε καὶ ἄλλως βασιλικὸς ἀπεκρέματο θαυμαστὸς ὅσος. καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπερφυεῖ ὀχούμενος ἵππῳ παιδιὰν ἐν μεταιχμίῳ ἔπαιζε τὴν ἐνόπλιον ἐπισταμένως. τόν τε γὰρ ἵππον ἐν κύκλῳ περιελίσσων, ἐπὶ θάτερά τε ἀναστρέφων αὖθις κυκλοτερεῖς πεποίητο δρόμους. καὶ ἱππευόμενος μεθίει ταῖς αὔραις τὸ δόρυ, ἀπ’ αὐτῶν τε κραδαινόμενον ἁρπασάμενος εἶτα ἐκ χειρὸς ἐς χεῖρα παραπέμπων συχνὰ ἐφ’ ἑκάτερα, καὶ μεταβιβάζων ἐμπείρως, ἐφιλοτιμεῖτο τῇ ἐς τὰ τοιαῦτα μελέτῃ, ὑπτιάζων καὶ ἰσχιάζων καὶ πρὸς ἑκάτερα ἐγκλινόμενος, ὥσπερ ἐκ παιδὸς ἀκριβῶς τὰ ἐς τὴν ὀρχήστραν δεδιδαγμένος.
(Procopius, Bell. Goth. 8.31.17-20)

But Totila now went alone into the space between the armies, not in order to engage in single combat, but in order to prevent his opponents from using the present opportunity. For he had learned that the two thousand Goths who had been missing were now drawing near, and so he sought to put off the engagement until their arrival by doing as follows. First of all, he was not at all reluctant to make an exhibilion to the enemy of what manner of man he was. For the armour in which he was clad was abundantly plated with gold and the ample adornments which hung from his cheek-plates as well as from his helmet and spear were not only of purple but in other respects befitting a king, marvellous in their abundance. And he himself, sitting upon a very large horse, began to perform the dance under arms skilfully between the armies. For he wheeled his horse round in a circle and then turned him again to the other side and so made him run round and round. And as he rode he hurled his javelin into the air and caught it again as it quivered above him, then passed it rapidly from hand to hand, shifting it with consummate skill, and he gloried in his practice in such matters, falling back on his shoulders, spreading his legs and leaning from side to side, like one who has been instructed with precision in the art of dancing from childhood. (tr. Henry Bronson Dewing)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: