Harald Hardrada in the Strategikon of Kekaumenos

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Harald Hardrada in the Strategikon of Kekaumenos
by Kekaumenos, translated by Wikisource
The Strategikon is a work thought to have been written by the Byzantine general Kekaumenos in the last quarter of the 11th century. The following translation is an excerpt of the part dealing with the later Norwegian king Harald Hardrada, who was in Byzantine service as the leader of the Varangian Guard from c. 1034 to 1042.

Araltes[1] was the son of the king of Varangia[2], and brother of Julavos[3], who had inherited the kingdom after his father. Araltes came next after him in dignity. But Araltes, who was young and who admired the power of the Romans[4], left his country and wanted to come in our service, show respect for the blessed master Emperor Michael Paphlagonia and see with his own eyes the customs and governance of the Romans. He brought with him a group of 500 brave men and entered service to the emperor, who received him in a dignified manner, and sent him to Sicily since the Roman army was there to conduct warfare on the island. Araltes went there and did many remarkable things, and when the war was over, he went back to the emperor who gave him the title manglavites. Somewhat later, Delianos started a revolt in Bulgaria, and Araltes then participated in the emperor's campaign and performed great feats against the enemy, such as it behooves a man of his lineage and great abilities. When the emperor had forced the Bulgarians to surrender, he returned (to Constantinople). I[5] participated myself and fought as best I could for the emperor. So, when we came to Mosynupolis, the emperor decorated him[6] for his fighting courage and gave him the title spatharokandidatos. After Emperor Michael was dead and the next emperor, his sister's son (had taken over), Araltes wanted to return to his country in the days when Constantine Monomakhos was emperor. He asked for permission to leave, but was refused permission and it was difficult for him to leave. Nonetheless, he managed to escape in secret and became king in his own country instead of his brother Juvalos. He was neither angry for just having been appointed to manglavites or spatharokandidatos, but instead, when he became king, he maintained the loyalty and friendship with the Romans.

Notes[edit]

  1. i.e. Harald (Hardrada).
  2. i.e. Norway.
  3. i.e. Olaf (Haraldsson).
  4. i.e. the East Romans or Byzantines.
  5. i.e. the author of the Strategikon.
  6. i.e. Harald.
This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.