Zosimus, New History 1.07

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.


[1.7.1] After him several worthy sovereigns succeeded to the empire: Nerva, Trajan, and afterwards Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and the brothers Verusnote and Lucius, who reformed many abuses in the state, and not only recovered what their predecessors had lost, but made likewise some new additions. But Commodus, the son of Marcus, on becoming emperor, addicted himself not only to tyranny, but to other monstrous vices, until his concubine Marcia assumed the courage of a man and put him to death, and the empire was conferred on Pertinax.

[1.7.2] But the imperial guards being unable to submit to the strictness of his discipline, which caused them to mutiny and to murder him, Rome was on the point of becoming a seat of anarchy and disorder, while the pretorian soldiers, who were intended for the protection of the palace, attempted to deprive the Senate of the power of appointing a sole ruler. And the empire being now put up as it were to sale, Didius Julianus, at the instigation of his wife, assisted by his own folly, produced a sum of money with which he purchased the empire ; and exhibited such a spectacle as the people had never before witnessed.

[1.7.3] The soldiers who raised him to the dignity, by violence put him in possession of the palace and all that it contained. But he was called to account and deprived of life by the very men who were the means of his exaltation, nor was his life more than a momentary golden dream.