By Tim Severin
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If the court docket chamberlain thinks the customer is impressionable sufficient, the Basileus's throne is made to raise in the course of the proskynesis. whereas the supplicant is face down at the flooring, a group of operators winds a lifting jack hidden in the back of the throne in order that whilst the supplicant lifts his head he sees the emperor seated greater than ahead of. The glance of astonishment at the supplicant's face will be very pleasing. But,' I further hurriedly, 'I don't believe they are going to try out that ruse at the day you could have an imperial viewers. ' Recalling my first conversations with Harald, it happens to me now that i used to be in all probability creating a mistake. i assumed i used to be in basic terms getting ready him for his assembly with the Basileus, yet I worry that Harald was once in reality studying a really assorted lesson: the significance of creating dominion over others, how you can dazzle them. if that is so, in my enthusiasm for Harald's good fortune i used to be getting ready the seeds for my very own later unhappiness. The Orphanotrophus had additionally steered me to familiarise the Norwegian prince with the imperial military, so I took Harald to the naval arsenal at the Golden Horn. There the eparch of the dockyard, fearing espionage, acquired us coolly and insisted that an respectable from the dromos in addition to his personal deputy accompany us on our travel. I confirmed Harald rank upon rank of slipways, the place the warships have been equipped and repaired, warehouses choked with naval shops, mast sheds and sail lofts, and that i defined how lots of the seamen have been recruited from the coastal peoples around the straits in Asia Minor. Harald, who had a professional eye for shipwright's abilities, requested such probing questions of the grasp carpenters that i used to be occasionally at a loss for definitely the right phrases as I translated into Greek. Then he demanded to examine a warship in fee. whilst the eparch's deputy hesitated, Harald insisted. If his males have been to serve at the imperial ships, then not less than they need to comprehend what to anticipate. He pointed at a dromon of the most important measurement, a three-masted fleet battleship which lay at anchor within the Golden Horn, anticipating orders. He want to check out that vessel, he acknowledged. As i used to be to note repeatedly later, whilst Harald Sigurdsson positioned a request, it sounded extra like a command. A naval pinnace rowed us out. pack up, the dromon used to be even greater than I had anticipated. I had by no means been aboard one sooner than, and he or she was once giant, at the very least part as lengthy back because the biggest longship that I had visible long ago and or 3 times as wide. yet what quite made her appear implementing used to be her peak above the water. Our Norse warships are low and glossy, however the imperial battleships are outfitted upwards from the waterline. The purpose is to overawe the enemy and provides a pretty good platform from which archers can shoot downwards. So the dromon loomed over us as we approached, her peak elevated by means of a castle-like constitution equipped amidship. We clambered up her aspect and on her deck instantly got here nose to nose together with her kentarchos, her crusing grasp. Angrily he demanded to grasp who this strange-looking foreigner with the lengthy moustaches used to be who got here hiking aboard his send as if he owned her.