Zosimus, New History 2.33

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.


[2.33.1] Constantine altered this good institution, and of one office or magistracy formed four. To one of those prefects he committed all Egypt and Pentapolis in Libya, and all the east as far as Mesopotamia, with Cilicia, Cappadocia, Armenia, and all the coast from Pamphylia to Trapezus and the castles near Phasis; to the same person was given all Thrace and Moesia, as far as the mountains Haemus and Rhodope, and the town of Doberus. He likewise added Cyprus and all the Cyclades, except Lemnos, Imbrus, and Samothracia. 

[2.33.2] To another he assigned Macedon, Thessaly, Crete, and Greece, with the adjacent islands, both the Epiruses, the Illyrians, the Dacians, the Triballi, and the Pannonians as far as Valeria, besides the upper Moesia. To the third prefect he entrusted Italy and Sicily, with the neighboring islands, and Sardinia and Corsica, together with all Africa westward of the Syrtes. To the fourth he committed all beyond the Alps, Gaul, Spain, and Britain.

[2.33.3] Having thus divided the power of these prefects, he invented other methods likewise of diminishing their influence. For as there used to be in all places, centurions, tribunes, and generals, he appointed officers called magistri militum, some over the horse and others over the foot, to whom he gave authority to discipline the soldiers, and punish those that had offended, by which the power of the prefects was diminished. 

[2.33.4] That this innovation was productive of great injury to public affairs both in peace and war I will immediately prove. The prefects had hitherto collected the tribute in all places by their officers, and disposed of it in war expences, the soldiers at the same time being subject to their authority, whose offences they punished at discretion. Under these circumstances, the soldiers, considering that the same person who gave them their pay had the infliction of punishments whenever they offended, did not dare to act contrary to their duty, for fear of their stipend being withheld, and of being duly punished. But now since one person is paymaster and another inspector of discipline, they act according to their own inclination.