Zosimus, New History 1.02

Zosimus (Greek Ζώσιμος): Early Byzantine, pagan author of a history of the Roman Empire, published in the first quarter of the sixth century CE.

The translation of ZosimusNew History offered here was printed in 1814 by W. Green and T. Chaplin in London, and was probably prepared by J. Davis of the Military Chronicle and Military Classics Office. The translator is anonymous. The text was found at Tertullian.org. The notes were added by Jona Lendering.


[1.2.1] But it being my design to demonstrate by actual circumstances the truth of my observations, I shall begin by stating, that from the Trojan War to the battle of Marathon the Greeks performed no exploits worthy of being mentioned either against each other or any foreign power. But when Darius with his prefects brought against them an army of immense magnitude, eight thousand Athenians, as if inspired from Heaven, and armed by mere chance, advanced to oppose him, and met with such success as to kill ninety thousand, and compel the remainder to fly from their country.

[1.2.2] And it was this engagement that enabled the Greeks to improve their condition. But Xerxes, after the death of Darius, invaded Greece with a force so much more considerable, that he appeared to carry all Asia along with him into Greece; for the sea was covered with his ships, and the land with his soldiers. Finding it necessary to cross from Asia into Europe, he constructed a bridge over the Hellespont for the passage of his foot soldiers, and, as if the two elements of earth and water were not capable of receiving his army without depriving them of their natural use, cut a channel through Mount Athos, in which his ships rode as in the sea.

[1.2.3] In the mean time the Greeks, though terrified at the bare report of the approach of such an enemy, prepared to oppose him with their utmost strength. In a naval engagement at Artemisium, and another at Salamis, they so far exceeded their former victory, that Xerxes was glad to escape with life, having lost the greatest part, of his army; and the destruction of the remainder of them at Plataea gave such a completion to the renown of the Greeks, that, by the force of the reputation they had acquired, they not only liberated the Greeks that were settled in Asia, but possessed themselves of almost all the islands.