Norman West part 30

    However they did attack the Scythians, and many were killed in the fight and Branas himself fell, mortally wounded. The Domestic fought desperately and made fierce onsets on the foe, but was dashed against an oak and killed on the spot. And the rest of the army scattered in all directions. On receiving these tidings the Emperor mourned for all the fallen, both individually and collectively. But he was most grieved at the Domestic’s death and shed floods of tears, for he loved him exceedingly even before his elevation to the throne.

    Yet in spite of it all he did not lose heart, but called Taticius and sent him with sufficient money to Adrianople to give the soldiers their pay for the year and to collect troops from all quarters so that he might raise a fresh army large enough for the war. He ordered Hubertopoulos to leave an adequate garrison in Cyzicus and taking the Franks only with him to lose no time in joining Taticius.

    When Taticius saw the Latins and Hubertopoulos, he took courage and as he had already collected a sufficiently large army, he immediately marched straight against the Scythians. When near Philippopolis he pitched his camp on the edge of the river which flows by Blisnus. But when he beheld the Scythians returning from a raid and bringing back much booty and captives, although the baggage had scarcely been brought into the camp, he selected a division of his army and sent it to attack them, then he armed himself, bade all do the same, drew up his lines and then followed the soldiers he had sent ahead.

    Returned victorious to Philippopolis

    As he observed that the Scythians with their spoils and captives were rejoining the main Scythian body on the bank of the Eurus (?), he divided his army in two and bidding both divisions raise the war-cry he attacked the barbarians amidst loud shouts and clamour. As the conflict grew fierce, the majority of the Scythians were slain but many saved their lives by running away. Then Taticius gathered up all the booty and returned victorious to Philippopolis. There he quartered his whole army and then meditated from what direction and in what manner he could best attack the barbarians again.

    As he knew that their forces were innumerable he sent out spies in all directions, so that through them he might be kept informed of the Scythians’ movements. The spies returned and reported that a great multitude of the barbarians was near Beliotaba and ravaging the country. Taticius who expected the Scythians to come, and had not sufficient forces to pit against such numbers, was at a loss what to do and in great perplexity. Nevertheless he whetted his sword and put courage into the army for a battle. Soon a spy ran in, announcing the approach of the barbarians and adding that they were already close at hand.

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