Zosimus, New History 1.06

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.


[1.6.1] That this is the case has been plainly shewn by experience, and the train of events that took place soon afterwards, in the reign of Octavian. For the dance called pantomimus, which signifies a dance in imitation of every one, was introduced into Rome at that period; it never having before been in use in Italy, being invented by Pylades and Bathyllus; besides many other innovations, that still are productive of great evil.

[1.6.2] Octavian however appears to have ruled with great moderation, more particularly after he listened to the counsel of Athenodorus the stoic, and when compared to Tiberius his successor. The tyranny of the latter was so severe as to be intolerable to his subjects, who expelled him to an island,note where he secreted himself for some time and then died. To him succeeded Caius Caligula, who far exceeded Tiberius in every species of wickedness, and was slain by Chaerea, who resolved by that bold action to deliver the state from his cruel tyranny. 

[1.6.3] The next emperor was Claudius, who intrusted the management of all his affairs to Libertini (the sons of those who had been slaves) that were eunuchs, and his end was disgraceful. Nero and his successors were then raised to the imperial throne. Of whom I shall not state any thing, in order that the world may not be pained by the repetition of the impious and monstrous enormities of which they were guilty. 

[1.6.4] But Vespasian, and Titus his son, acted during their reigns with greater moderation. On the contrary, Domitian exceeded all his predecessors in cruelty, luxury, and avarice; for which reason, after he had for fifteen successive years tormented the commonwealth, he was put to death by Stephanus, one of his freed men; thus receiving the punishment which his actions merited.