Zosimus, New History 2.12

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.


[2.12.1] Maxentius, having escaped this danger, and being of opinion that he was now well enough established in the empire, sent persons into Africa, and in particular to Carthage, to carry his image about that country. But the soldiers in that country forbade it, out of regard to Maximian Galerius, and the respect they had for his memory, until they heard that Maxentius was coming to make war on them on the plea of an insurrection. They then went to Alexandria, but meeting with a great army with which they were not able to contend, they returned to Carthage.

[2.12.2] Maxentius, being disturbed at this, resolved to sail for Africa, and to punish the authors of the commotion. But the soothsayers having sacrificed and given him ill omens, he was afraid to go, not only because the entrails had that appearance, but also lest Alexander, who was prefect of the court in Africa, should be his enemy. 

[2.12.3] To secure his passage thither from all doubt, he sent to Alexander, desiring him to send his son as an hostage. But he, suspecting that Maxentius did not desire his son for the mere purpose of an hostage, but to deceive him, denied the request. After this, Maxentius sending other agents to him to take him off by treachery and stratagem, the plot was discovered; and the soldiers, having then got a favorable opportunity to rebel, conferred the purple robe on Alexander, though he was by birth not only a Phrygian, but a timid cowardly man, and unfit for any difficult undertaking, and was, moreover, of an advanced age.