The following story seems to have been substantially a deposition taken before the magistrates of Constantinople, and extracted from the witnesses or defendants by torture. The principal deponent is said to have been brought " ad summas angustiasw-to the last gasp almost, before he would confess.
"This unlucky table" he said, "which is now produced in court, we made up of laurel boughs, after the fashion of that which stands before the curtain at Delphi. Terrible were the auspices^ awful the charms, long and painful the dances, which preceded and accompanied its construction and consecration. And as often as we consulted this disc or table, the following was our mode of procedure. It was set in the midst of a chamber which had previously been well purified by the smoke of Arabian gums and incense. On the table was placed a round dish, welded of divers metals. On the rim of the dish were engraven the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, separated from one another by equal and exactly measured spaces. Beside the table stood a certain man clad in linen, and having linen buskins or boots on his feet, with a handkerchief bound around his head. He waved in one hand a branch of vervain, that propitious herb; he recited a set formulary of verses, such as are wont to be sung before the Averruncal gods. He that stood by the table was no ordinary magician. With his other he held and shook a ring which was attached to curtains, spun from the finest Carpathian thread, and which had often before been used for such mystic incantations. The ring thus shaken dropped ever and anon between the interspaces of the letters, and formed by striking the letters together certain words, which the sorcerer combined into number and measure, much after the manner of the priests who manage the oracles of the Pythian and Bran-bhidian Apollo. Then, when we inquired who perchance would succeed to the reigning Emperor, the bright and smooth ring, leaping among the letters, struck together T, H, E, O, and afterwards a final S, so that one of the bystanders at once exclaimed that THEO[DORU]S was the emperor designated by the Fates. We asked no more questions : seeing that Theodoras was the person whom we had sought for".