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Those who represent the best of the Romans-their very flower-have withered and perished. 66 Decline and Fa12 o f Byzantium The empire, in female hands, is like a weaver’s shuttle spinning awry and twisting the thread of the purple robe. Sovereignty belongs to a babe at the breast barely able to use its mind and tongue in games and stutterings. Political power is in the hands of base and worthless men. Be persuaded by our words and lay claim to the throne. Gird your sword about your thigh. ” 2. Reflecting upon the seditions of the empress and senate, which were motivated against him by envy without any reasonable cause or evidence of treason, Kantakouzenos acceded t o the Romans.

When the gate was thrown open and as many as twenty men came out, some five hundred armed troops from the galleys, who were standing by, entered and massacred the sentinels in the tower. The triremes were left empty, and about two thousand men entered the City fully armed and in battle array. After he had gained entrance, the emperor immediately dispatched some of his household troops t o the dwellings of the Palaiologan families and of his father’s friends t o announce his arrival. They came running under the cover of night.

Francesco ascended one of the towers which was reinforced with guards and lancers, followed by the emperor, who was surrounded with both Latin and Roman men-at-arms. ” The day began to dawn and when the populace heard the noise they ran to the Hippodrome. With the arrival of morning, palace officials and commoners entered in large numbers. Emperor Kantakouzenos went to the monastery of the Penbleptos and was tonsured. After he had donned the black habit, he informed the emperor, his son-in-law, that entrance into the palace had been prepared for him.

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