The Emperor himself was not altogether at his ease (I speak humanly, without regard to the fact that he trusted every thing to God), for considering the mixed character of the meeting he feared that they might be meditating some unforeseen and horrible thing against him. However he composed himself by vigorous reasoning and once he had braced himself to the struggle lie began his speech to them (whilst they stood more dumb even than fish, as if their tongues had been cut out). He said, “You know that Diogenes never suffered any ill-treatment at my hands.
For it was not I that snatched the sceptre of this Empire from his father’s hand, but another; nor have I ever done anything to cause him hurt or pain. And when this Empire was transferred to my hands by the entire will of God, not only did I guard him and his brother alike, but I loved and treated them like my own children. And as often as I have detected Nicephorus plotting against me, so often have I granted him pardon.
Naturally treacherous disposition
And although he would not better his ways, I bore with him and concealed most of his outbursts against me, being aware of the general dislike in which they were held. Yet not one of my kind deeds towards him has changed his naturally treacherous disposition, but in return for all of them he decreed my death.” At these words all broke into shouts crying that they did not wish to see another man in his place on the imperial throne. This was not the true feeling of the majority. but they made fawning speeches as they were devising by these means to escape from the immediate danger.
The emperor grasped the opportunity by the forelock and granted a general pardon to the majority, because the ringleaders of the plot had previously been condemned to banishment. At this a mighty noise arose, such as no ears have heard before or since, so say those that were present, for some were praising the King and marvelling at his forbearance and gentleness, while others traduced the men who had been banished and declared that they deserved to die, for such is the way of men.