Both sides were prepared for the war and had a long experience of confrontation behind them. They carefully gathered and analyzed all possible information about each other and tried to use it in their battle-plans as well as during the battle itself. Victory was destined to fall into the hands of the one who did the analysis better that the other: in 1176 this was the Seljuks, while the following year it was the Byzantines.
In any case, both sides clearly had sophisticated procedures of estimating the enemy. How can this “idea of the real enemy” be reconciled with the representations/images of the same enemy in the main contemporary sources? To find out, one should first analyze the mechanism of the construction of the enemy in each source. This is the main task of the next chapter.
Chapter 3. Representation and Images
1) Introduction to the question
The depiction of the enemy in narratives about the battle differs greatly from his real behavior on the real battlefield. Even in the times of the “father of history,” the very depiction, as Hartog has shown, was already a literary construct, to a certain degree independent from reality.167 The Byzantine literature of the Middle Ages developed a synthesis of the heritage of Classical epoch and Christian culture. Were the components of the representation of the enemy in the sources for the battle at Myriokephalon traditional? If they were, to what degree? What were the relations between the image of the enemy drawn by Byzantine authors and that drawn by the single source which has probably some elements of the representation constructed by “other side”? Can one speak at all about “Seljuk representation” of Byzantines in Chronicle of Michael the Syrian? To find answers to these questions one must analyze each contemporary source that speaks of the battle of Myriokephalon separately. This analysis will reveal common points and differences and will produce a basis for more general comparisons, which will be presented in the conclusion of this chapter. The sources are divided into two groups--Byzantine and Syrian (limited to one single source).
2) The Byzantines
a. The case of John Kinnamos
As was said above, the only manuscript containing the work of this imperial secretary breaks off exactly at the moment of the beginning of the expedition of 1176. The narrative about the battle itself was clearly present in the Deeds, but has not survived. Its absence forces one to use only the surviving part of the work, which deals with the events before 1176. Luckily enough, in the narrative of Kinnamos one can find two small phrases, which, according to Brand, refer to the battle at Myriokephalon. The first is introduced in one of the descriptions of the personal bravery of Manuel:
For it is beyond the belief that entire thousands should be defeated by one man and numerous fully armored men overcome by a single lance. Such things I used to leave to be spun out ….by those in high office, until the facts of the matter came to my attention, as I was thus by chance encompassed amidst the foe and observed from close at hand that emperor resisting entire Turkish regiments. 168
The second is part of the description of the visit of Kilic Arslan II to Constantinople in 1161:
Glorying in magnitude of his successes , the emperor made preparation for a triumphal procession from the citadel itself to the famed church of Hagia Sophia, so as to march in procession with him [Kilic Arslan II]; yet he did not accomplish what he had intended. For [the patriarch] Loukas who was the in charge of ecclesiastical matters was opposed to the action…When it was late at night an immense upheaval suddenly shook the earth. The Byzantines, deeming that Loukas’ counsels had been transgressed, declared that the undertaking was contrary to God’s will…The conclusion of the affair, however, clearly produced an explanation of what had happened. For when, after many years had passed, Kilic Arslan became careless of his engagements towards the emperor, he caused the Romans to attack the Turks in full forse. By some chance the army fell into difficult terrain, lost many of aristocracy, and came near a great disaster, save that in warfare the emperor was there seen to surpass the bounds of human excellence.169
At first sight, in this version there is no mention whatsoever of the Seljuks’ role in the battle. The focus of narrative is limited to the Byzantine army, while the name of the enemy at Myriokephalon is somehow missing. Why does the author, who was one of the participants in the battle, refuse to identify the enemy in this small passage ?
The answer lies, I think, at least partly in the very aims of the imperial secretary. Kinnamos is clearly writing his Deeds to glorify two emperors--John and Manuel Komnenus. He draws attention to the personal actions of the emperors in various situations, usually in combat, where their conduct is described with an abundance of detail, which are used to create a “real background” for the heroes. At the same time, Kinnamos is not a simple writer, as he is described in some scholarly literature. The heroes of his Deeds remain human, and the author at some points even criticizes them.170
Nevertheless, I think that the other persons, objects, and events appearing in his work are just complex decorations, a background against which Kinnamos’ emperor fulfills his duties. A reading of the whole chronicle shows that the Seljuks (called “Persians” by Kinnamos in the Classicizing tradition) are among the most important decorations of the show.171 The scene is organized in the traditional Byzantine way, which goes back to Herodotus; the main dichotomy is that between the Greeks and the barbarians.172 For Kinnamos, the Seljuks were enemies par excellence, the main object on which John, and later Manuel, exercised their strategic and tactical talents. They occupied Roman lands and provinces, which were to be returned. The land of the Seljuks was the dangerous territory of Chaos, filled with mountains and dangerous passes, which was to be changed by the activity of the emperor. The example of such activity is given at the very end of the book in the description of the rebuilding of Dorylaion. The terms used for the description of the Seljuk nobles underline their Otherness; Kinnamos calls them, in a classicizing way, “satraps” and “phylarchs.”173
Thus, all the complexity and “Otherness” of the Seljuks are just proof of the might of Manuel and John, who won many victories over them. This is probably the key to the research question; despite the fact that the battle of Myriokephalon, in which John probably participated himself, was not a clear victory, panegyric has its own laws. The hero must be a hero. Even a failure should be represented as a heroic deed and mistakes of military planning treated as a natural disaster. The role of the enemy in such a case is the same. By introducing a danger, caused by the Seljuks (“the army fell into difficult terrain, lost many of aristocracy, and came near a great disaster”), Kinnamos enhances Manuel’s stature, who managed to save the situation (“emperor was there seen to surpass the bounds of human excellence ”).174 The description of the exact details is not important here--it could (and probably was) given later in the lost part of the work.
To sum up, one can surely speak about representation of the enemy in the two pieces of evidence about the battle at Myriokephalon in the work of John Kinnamos is based on the genre of the panegyric. The role of the enemy is limited and clear--they are a threat, which, being overwhelmed by the main hero--constitutes a basis for the following laudatio which the author dedicates to him. The imperial secretary probably took part in the battle himself, but at the time of writing The Deeds literary elements were much more important for him than the actual facts which he had seen with his own eyes. Still, his evidence is not that complex because of the length of the surviving passages and because of the character of the source itself. The situation is different when the source is written with different purpose--such as in the case of the Letter of Manuel Komnenos to Henry II Plantagenet.
b. The Letter of Manuel Komnenos
As was argued in chapter 1, the Letter of Manuel is an Auslandsbriefe, a “Diplomatic letter.” Diplomatic letters make up a special genre. The composer of such a document was required take into consideration many important things: The names and titles of the sender and of the addressee, their status and the relation between them, the information which should be mentioned, the information which should be avoided, the courtesy formulas of politeness,175 etc. At the same time, the writer obviously had to keep in mind the audience for which the letter was written and represent all the details so as to make it understandable to them. The case of the letter sent from Byzantium to England is a good illustration of all features of this tricky genre.176 The image of the enemy is introduced already in the third sentence of the letter:
Thus, from the beginning [of our reign] our imperial majesty had nourished hatred in his heart against the Persians, the enemies of God, when we have beheld them vaunting over the Christians, triumphing over the name of God, and holding sway over the lands of Christians. Wherefore, at another time, without delay, we made an attack upon them, and, as God granted it, even so we did … But before we begin battle with the barbarians… 177
The Seljuks, thus, are characterized by their religion, and later by their language and culture. They are “the enemies of the God,” barbarians who are opposed by the people of the Lord, the Byzantines. The naming of the enemy and their religious characteristics are thus continued by the introduction of the enemy space and where they recruit their forces. The place which the author of letter of Manuel is describing can be interpreted as a reference to another important geographical term of the time, that of “Khurasan,” the fatherland and the bastion of the Saracens in the chroniclers of the First Crusade.178 A short piece of information about the military organization of the enemy is also present. The Seljuk warriors of the Epistola are armed with bows and are divided into infantry and cavalry. After this the text is dedicated to the description of the deeds of Manuel, where the Seljuks play a decorative role. The only thing which can be learnt about them from the text is that they were shocked by the bravery of the emperor. This feature of the Byzantine leader led to the peace treaty with Kilic Arslan II (who appears here for the first time in the text): the latter had to beg Manuel to be so good as to grant him peace.179
The enemy is thus depicted with the help of the traditional vocabulary: the Seljuks are adversus Dei and at the same time they are “barbarians.” This is the tradition of depicting the nomadic Other; the same definition of the “barbarians” and “enemies of God” of northern Scythians has been identified by H. Ahrweiler in the work of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.180 This is nearly all; other features of enemy--its multitude, its respect for Manuel’s bravery, and even the submission of their leader, seem to be part of a panegyric construction similar to that found in Kinnamos. I doubt whether one can speak here about conscious representation – what is present is rather an image of the enemy which is simple and much less complex than that drawn by other contemporary writer--Nicetas Choniates.
c. The case of Nicetas Choniates
Nicetas Choniates is considered to have been one of the most prominent writers of the time. His main work, Historia, is innovative in many ways. First, it is characterized by the presence of a special method of developing the image of a hero, which Kazhdan called Byzantine psychologism.181 Second, it is laced with a cunning network of associations which is built up with elaborate and complex metaphors. The third feature is the “wonderfully rich” vocabulary of the author, which enables him to include charming rhetorical word-plays in the text.182 At the same time, Nicetas is innovative. His approach to different topics was not always in accordance with the approaches of his contemporaries, or was even opposed to them. Magdalino studied this approach in the example of the image of Manuel Komnenos.183 In the following text I will try to make a similar analysis of the depiction of the Seljuks in the battle at Myriokephalon. and find out the main features of the image/representation of the enemy underlined by Choniates. The first thing to begin with is the role of the description of the battle as a whole.
Manuel’s expedition to Ikonion and his war with the “Eastern enemy” occupy the largest part of the sixth book of Nicetas’ narrative. Such a detailed description is a rare thing; the siege of Constantinople, which is the central event of the whole work, occupies much less space in the physical sense. What are the reasons for such a great and detailed description of the battle? Why is it so important to show it in this narrative? To answer these two questions one must first find the relations between the account in the Historia and other contemporary sources about the battle
The first more or less critical approach towards this part of Nicetas’s work was that of Ferdinand Chalandon, who basically suggested that Nicetas’ account was based on some unknown source.184 The study of Choniates’ sources for Myriokephalon stopped at this point for the next fifty years. Kazhdan was the one to open a door for critics by introducing his new approach towards Byzantine historical writing in general, and to the work of Choniates in particular. The main barrier in the way of the researchers was thus removed. In 1995 a radical attack on the quality of the information provided by Choniates was made by a prominent Russian Byzantinist, Jakob Ljubarskij. In one of his last articles he clearly stated that Nicetas probably invented some episodes of the fight for the sake of the Kaiserkritik.185 At the same time, a similar, but less radical, attempt was made by Paul Magdalino, who claimed that the account of Choniates (who was aged nineteen at the time of the battle) is not to be believed.186
These two positions are important. The attack of Ljubarskij pointed out that at least some parts of book six can be considered literary fiction, while Magdalino documented the ambiguous attitude of Choniates towards his main hero. Thus, Nicetas’ account is not just a tale of the events “as they happened,” as was taken for granted by the Chalandon-style historiographers. His description, which is a mixture of reality and fantasy, occupies a place in the conception of the whole work. To find out what this place is one should analyze the story of the writing of Historia.
Nobody knows exactly when Nicetas began his work. Kazhdan says only that it was finished after the fall of Constantinople, while Magoulias is totally silent on this question.187 Kazhdan’s idea is a good starting point. If the Historia was begun before the fall of Constantinople, its central idea could not be the fall of188 Constantinople itself. But what could it be then? The main object of Nicetas’ narrative is clearly to show the slow decline of the state, which becomes more and more obvious towards the end of the work.189 The reason for this decline is, from one point of view, the reigns of the Angeloi emperors and, from another, the Komnenoi, who were at the head of every revolt.190 This entire situation was possible because of the dictatorship of Andronicus, which, in turn, was possible because of the weak reign of Alexios II. The latter was a consequence of the early death of Manuel. The latter two events, I think, are tightly connected to the single Classical quotation present in the description of battle of Myriokephalon. The emperor, returning home from the battlefield, refused to destroy Dorylaion and thus broke the oath he had given to Kilic Arslan II on the battlefield. Choniates notes this with a quotation from Herodotus:
Ye hath the Oath-God a son who is nameless, footless and handless
Mighty in strength he approaches vengeance, and overwhelms in destruction
All who belong to the race, or the house of the man who is perjured
But oath-keeping men leave behind them flourishing offspring.191
Thus, the battle of Myriokephalon, which was followed by an oath not kept, can be counted as a reason for all the future troubles of the ruling family (“house of the man”) and even the whole empire (“race”). This is one explanation for the space the description of the event occupies in the structure of the work. The second explanation, which does not exclude the first, is that battle at Myriokephalon was the apex of Choniates’ Kaiserkritik.192
The tradition of “depicting a bad emperor in disaster” goes back at least to Theophanes the Confessor, who carefully describes the ill-fated expedition of Emperor Nicephoros against the Bulgarians.193 A similar episode is present in the later Chronographia of Michael Psellos, where the author criticizes Roman IV Diogenes harshly for refusing to listen to the advice of wiser people (among them Psellos, as he was eager to mention).194 In both cases the motivations of the critics were based on one special feature of the ruler; Theophanes attacked the greed of Nicephoros, whose main aim in the campaign was the treasury of the enemy, while Psellos attacked the pride of the pompous warrior who did not want to hear advice from a prominent courtier. The narrative about Myriokephalon is a combination of both these accusations; the criticism of Choniates is aimed precisely at Manuel’s pride and at his greed. The night before the battle, at the military council in the Byzantine camp, he “did not pay any heed whatsoever to the words of the old men, but instead gave ear to his blood relations.”195 Manuel’s wish for money comes into focus in another episode between Manuel and an unnamed warrior, who accuses him when he drinks water with blood from a small spring: “often in the past you have drunk a bowl of Christian blood, stripping and cleaning your subjects…”196 The love for external effect is mocked by Choniates, who, following the Classical tradition, puts a joke about the color of the robes into the mouth of the Seljuk Ambassador, Gabras. Another point of connection between Theophanes, Psellos, and Nicetas is that all three point out the great abilities of the enemy leaders. In the case of Theophanes it is Bulgarian khan Crum, in the case of Michael Psellos, the sultan of the Seljuks, Alp-Arslan, and in the case of Choniates it is Kilic Arslan II. All three are direct oppositions of the Byzantine emperors who they are opposing. Nicephoros is greedy, Crum is not, Alp-Arslan can create a victorious stratagem, while Romanus Diogenos can’t. In Kilic Arslan, opposition is emphasized; he and Manuel are different in all possible ways. The Seljuk leader is weak in body, but clever in mind. He never goes personally to the battlefield, but prefers to manage the battle with the help of his generals, while Manuel always leads his troops in person.197
Thus, I think that the description of the battle at Myriokephalon is one of the culminations of Nicetas’ Kaiserkritik. At the same time, it would be too much to say that the battle of Myriokephalon was seen by Choniates simply as a moment of punishment. It was a catastrophe ordained by God, whose decisions are not known to humans. For Choniates, it was clear that Myriokephalon was destined to happen--this is emphasized by abundant Biblical quotations which, “destroying the individualization of the given event,”198 connect the battle with episodes of Holy History. The Seljuks, as participants, are analogized to Biblical actors.
An apocalyptic connotation is present in the description of the battle from the moment of the destruction of the regiment led by Baldwin. ”The horse and rider were cast down together”--says Choniates in an allusion to the prayer of Moses in the book of Exodus.199 In the original context, the horse and rider meant the forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh, who tried to return the Jews to Egypt.200 The colorful description of a local Armageddon is continued by Choniates’ most frequently cited battle quotation:
The hollows were filled with bodies. The groves were glutted with the fallen. The babbling, rushing streams flowed red with blood. Blood commingled with blood, human blood with the blood of pack animals. The horrors that took place there defy all description.201
For a while, the description is left unfinished, but then Choniates continues: “Then a strong wind blew, whipping the sandy soil into a violent sandstorm that enveloped both armies. They fell upon one another, attacking their adversaries as though they were fighting in the night and in the darkness that can be felt.”202 The last part of the phrase sends the reader to the book of Exodus, where “darkness which may be felt” is one of seven curses of Egypt.203 The final statement about the character of the whole battle can be found in the speech of one of the unknown soldiers (who, as was stated in chapter 1, could have been invented), who asks the emperor rhetorically: “Are you not the one who squeezed us into these desolate and narrow paths, exposing us to utter ruin, the one who has ground us as though in a mortar between these cliffs falling upon us and the mountains pressing down upon us?”204
The end of the question, which can also be found in the Gospel of Luke, is a direct reference to the Apocalypse in the original context. The battle is thus understood not only as a punishment for the bad emperor, but as an outright apocalypse which was caused by Manuel’s mistakes. Using this example, Choniates shows that an emperor can be a cause of such a catastrophe.205 From another point of view, it may be that Nicetas is demonstrating here the force of the Almighty, whose decisions and ways are unknown to people.206
Thus, the battle is depicted on the three different layers. First, it is an indirect reason for the fall of the house of Komnenoi. Second, it is an arena of Kaiserkritik, where Choniates blames emperor for his mistakes in politics. Third, it is a catastrophe in the Biblical sense.
All these layers define the representation of the Seljuks which is built up in this part of Chonaites Narrative. The first thing to note here is the relative unwillingness of the author to note such components of the image of the other as linguistic differences and military organization. The enemy language remains vague; in the only scene when the “silent multitude” of Seljuks has a word, the language spoken is not specified and only its characteristic (“piercing”) gives one a chance to suppose that it was not Greek .207 The military organization is also not clear; the term “Turkish phalanx” is often used, but without a clear description of this formation. Still, the warriors are differentiated; among the warriors of Kilic Arslan II Nicetas lists archers (without specifying whether they were footmen or horsemen) and some heavily-armed cavalrymen, whose “phalanx” Manuel had to fight through.208 Moreover, the author also describes some “special forces” of the Seljuks, who attacked the emperor and his companions.
I have two explanations for such unwillingness to talk about these elements; the first is that Choniates did not need to explain to his readers what the Seljuk military and language were and second is that the military and linguistic side here was not important. What was more important was the tradition, the heritage of Classical antiquity with its specific relations to barbarians, which plays a considerable role in the formation of the image of the enemy on the battlefield itself.
Some features of Seljuks as barbarians are clearly underlined by Choniates in his narrative of the battle, first of all, their inclination towards money and plunder. Seljuk leaders persuaded Kilic Arslan II to make peace because of the wish for gold, while during the battle Manuel and his warriors saw their money stolen. Another “barbaric” feature is their delight in cruelty; the most spectacular episode of the whole description is probably the depiction of the fallen warriors with their members cut off. Another feature of the Seljuks, according to Choniates, was their fickleness; they did not obey the treaties and were not people whom one should believe. Even after concluding the peace the Byzantine army was attacked by their cavalry. Their dress and weaponry were strange and exotic; the author seems to be fascinated by the Seljuk elite warriors and depicts them carefully:
All were mounted on Arab stallions, and in appearance they stood out from the many; they carried elegant weapons, and their horses were bedecked with splendid ornaments, in particular with adornments of tinkling bells suspended from horsehair that reached far down the neck.209
I think that here Choniates is not simply introducing the reader to a spectacular detail. One can note rather his attention towards the Other’s exotic outlook, which was already present in Herodotus.210 The Classical comparison of the Seljuks with water was already discussed above. Another Classical element is the depiction of the “fickleness” of Other, which connects the Seljuks with Herodotus’ Scythians and makes the image even more complex (Seljuks= Persians+Scythians=Barbarians?). Some features of Choniates’ Seljuks are common to the “barbarians” of the Byzantine historical literature of the twelfth century. They are greedy neighbors (in most cases of the Latins), always inclined to rob and pillage.211 The depiction of bloody scenes is also a “trademark” of Choniates, who is attentive to food, sex, and blood in the pages of the Historia.212 Thus, the Seljuks as barbarians do not appear in the description of the battle in full Classical robes, but wear some remnants of them.
Choniates’ “barbarians” also imply religious Otherness.213 In the description of the night after the battle, Nicetas, giving notice of the change in the situation, he states that the Lord “who does not allow the rod of sinners to be upon the lot of the righteous, had compassion for the holy nation, not wishing to cast them off forever.”214 This points out another feature of the enemy. They are “sinners.” This is already a religious definition, which, from my point of view, can be seen as an indication of the religion of the enemy. Strangely enough, these are nearly all the mentions of the enemy religion in the description of the battle at Myriokephalon. The only exception is his explanation of the atrocities committed on the fallen warriors: “It was said that the Turks took those measures so that the circumcised could not be distinguished from the uncircumcised.”215 Even if the religion of the enemy and the relations towards it are not well defined here, the fact of the Seljuks belonging to Islam is deliberately stated by the author.
These images of the victory of the Infidels return one to the about the role of the battle in general. As I said above, it is the apex of Kaiserkritik and a mini-Apocalypse at the same time. Choniates, above all, is a Christian – and the Seljuks are for him the “Hand of the Lord.”216 The Turkish archers shoot down Byzantine cavalrymen and in this context Choniates places a quotation from the prayer of Moses, where the Lord “cast down horse and rider.” The Seljuks are seen here as the ones through whom the Lord is fulfilling his will. This quotation from book of Moses has another connotation as well. The instrument which had cast down horse and rider in the book of Exodus was the Red Sea. The Seljuks are, in a way, similar to a wave of water, which, for Choniates, is nearly always a bad thing.217 In the context of the Seljuk situation, however, things are even more complicated; Nicetas is probably alluding to the imagery used by Aeschylus, who, in his Persians, also compared the army of Xerxes with a “huge flood” or “mighty stream.”218 The same image (of on-rushing water) appears again in the description of the “general context” of the Byzantino-Seljuk military conflict at the very end of book 3: “The sultan like a swollen torrent, deluged and swept away everything before him...”219 A similar metaphor can be found in the post-battle description of the dream of Manuel, where the emperor saw himself on a ship which was suddenly crushed by mountains and he barely reached land.220
This image is amplified by another set of allusions, which are triggered by a group of biblical quotations associated with the figure of David They are present in abundance especially in the description of the latter part of the battle. The first one clearly connects Manuel to King David: “But beyond all expectation he escaped the clutches of barbarians, protected by God who long ago had screened David’s head on the day of battle.”221 Afterwards the same image of David is repeated several times. The Seljuk leaders are associated not with Goliath but with Chusi and Achitophel. When the sultan decides to make peace with the emperor, Nicetas notes: “Thus He who sets as naught the counsel of Achitophel by way of Chusi and changes Absalom’s mind by promising ever greater destruction against his enemies, deflected the Turkish ruler from his duty.”222 This comparison is not accidental here. A long time before the description of the battle Choniates states that Kilic Arslan II and Manuel were, on the symbolic level, father and son.223 According to the article of Antony La Bruyer, Hasan Ibn Gabras, who, according to Choniates was a main advisor of Kildj Arslan, could also have been a renegade who defected to the Seljuk side. The the whole comparison with the biblical characters appears to be quite exact. David/Manuel is pursued by his bad son Absalom/Kilic Arslan II, and is given advice by a former general of David--Chusi/Gabras. Thus, in this complex image one can observe a clear statement of the relations between the rulers of two states, who are “father and son,” but what is more important is the emphasis on the fact that it was God’s protection that saved Manuel’s life, not his personal courage
To sum up, the in the case of Nicetas Choniates one should speak about the representation of the enemy. This representation is very complex. Its complexity is closely related to the different roles which the description of the battle plays on the different levels of the narrative of Choniates. First, the “eastern enemy” is one of the sides who took the oath, the violation of which is one of the unspoken explanations for the fall of the house of Komnenus. Their second role is, however, even more important. In Choniates’ theology of history they are weapons in the hand of the Lord, barbarians who punish the “chosen nation” and its rulers for their sins. By the introduction of a single but complex Bible quotation, Nicetas seems to be alluding to the special relations of symbolic kinship which united Manuel Komnenos and Kilic Arslan II. Nicetas seems reluctant to use more basic categories of Otherness; the Muslim nature of the enemy is pointed out only twice and the language they speak is not clearly identified. The military organization was not interesting to author at all, but he describes the general “Turkish” style of warfare and some special warriors quite well. One may note here a Herodotian feeling of ethnological interest towards the Other. The perception of the enemy leader is based on the concept of the mirror: Kilic Arslan II is the complete opposite of Manuel in all possible ways. The most interesting element is the depiction of the converted Christian, Hasan Ibn Gabras, who was even able to produce an example of deep irony.
Thus, the depiction of the Seljuks is no simpler than any other depictions produced by Choniates. It is innovative and complex; barbarians are no just “decorations” of a panegyric as with Kinnamos or the enemies par excellence from the official diplomatic letter. Their image is complex and versatile. In its construction the author used complex schemes of Classical and Christian associations, allusions, and indirect quotations, which has made his work of interest for scholars.