Zosimus, New History 2.02

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.


[2.2.1] at which the soothsayers themselves were also startled. However, having heard it the second time, he obeyed the command of the gods. Putting his children on board a small river-vessel, he carried the fire along with him. The children were ready to faint through heat, while he sailed to that part of the river where the stream is most gentle, and taking up his lodging at a shepherd's cottage, he heard a voice say that he must stay at Tarentum, for that was the name of the place, which had the same name with Tarentum near the Iapygian promontory.

[2.2.2] On which Valesius, having paid due adoration to the gods for his good fortune, ordered the pilot to put to shore, and, landing, told the whole story to the shepherds. Presently taking some water out of the Tiber, and heating it on an altar erected by himself, he gave it to his children to drink. 

[2.2.3] As soon as they had drunk it they fell asleep and were perfectly cured. But in that sleep they fancied that they saw a vision, which told them to offer black victims to Pluto and Proserpine, and to spend three nights in singing and dancing. This dream they communicated to their father, and that it was a huge man of a godlike presence, who ordered them to do it in the Campus Martius, where the horse-races are held. 

[2.2.4] Valesius, therefore, intending to build an altar in that place, set the masons to dig, who found an altar ready made, on which was inscribed. "To Pluto and Proserpine". By which being more plainly instructed how to act, he sacrificed the black victims on the altar, and kept the vigils in that place.