Zosimus, New History 2.37

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.


[2.37.1] Thou among sheep, O King of Thrace, shalt dwell,
But breed a savage lion, fierce and fell,
Who all the product of thy land shall spoil,
And reap thy fruitful harvest without toil.
But thou shalt not enjoy thy honor long,
Torn by wild dogs, which shall about thee throng.
Then a fierce, hungry, sleeping wolf shall thou awake,
to whom thy conquered neck shall bow.
Next a whole herd of wolves Bithynia's land,
By Jove's decree shall ravage, and the hand
To which obedience the Byzantines yield
Shall in short time her royal sceptre wield.
Bless'd Hellespont! whose buildings by the hand
Of heaven were rais'd, and by its order stand.
Yet shall that cruel wolf my forces fear,
For all shall know me, who inhabit here.
My sire's designs no longer I'll conceal
But heaven's intent in oracles reveal.
Thrace shall e're long a monstrous birth produce,
Baneful to all by course of time and use:
A swelling ulcer by the sea shall grow,
Which when it breaks, with putrid gore shall flow.

[2.37.2] This oracle, in an obscure manner, points out all the particular evils that were to befall Bithynia through the heavy impositions laid upon it. And that the government was to devolve on those to whom the Byzantines were then subject, in this distich:

—————————————— and the hand
 To which obedience the Byzantines yield Shall in short time her royal sceptre wield

And though the events foretold did not occur until many ages afterwards, no one can suppose that the prophecy related to any other place; for all time is short in respect of the deity, who exists through all ages. This conjecture I have formed both from the words of the prophecy and from the event. Should any believe that this prophecy has a different import, they have liberty to enjoy their own opinion.