Zosimus, New History 2.48

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.


[2.48.1] He had scarcely concluded this address, when they all rose, and displayed their willingness to continue the war by arming themselves immediately, in order to cross the Saus. The sentinels who were on the watch in Siscia, a town that lies on the Saus, perceived their approach, and gave notice of it to the garrison, who shot some of them as they were landing on the bank of the river, and stopped others who were coming over, so that many of them were slain, but more pushed into the river, either by each other or by the enemy.

[2.48.2] By which means a great slaughter was made amongst them, and while one party fell from the bridge in their haste to escape, the other pursued with the greatest speed: so that Magnentius, who was reduced to his last device, had only one method of avoiding the present danger. He struck a spear into the ground, and beckoned with his right hand to the enemy as if he wished to treat for peace. When he saw that they attended to this, he said he would not pass the Saus without the emperor's permission. As soon as he had said this, Philip told him, that if he would treat for peace, he must leave Italy and Noricum, and go into Illyricum.

[2.48.3] Constantius, having heard what was said, commanded his soldiers to continue their pursuit no longer, and permitted Magnentius to bring his troops into the plains between Noricum, Pannonia, Moesia, and Dacia; having a wish to leave those rugged places, and to contend where his horse would have room to manoeuvre, for in that species of force he had the advantage of the enemy. His design succeeded; and he appointed Cibalis, which he thought a convenient place for his purpose, it being the place where Constantine conquered Licinius.

[2.48.4] In that town, which is situated as I have described in my narrative of those times, he kept part of his army. And having erected a bulwark between the hill on which the town stands, and the plain through which the river Saus flows, he inclosed all that part of it which is not encompassed by the river, with a deep ditch and a strong rampart. He then made a bridge of boats over that part of the river which surrounds the place, which bridge he could disjoin when he pleased, and put together again with the same ease. 

[2.48.5] Here he placed tents for his army, and in the midst of them a royal tent of exceeding magnificence. The emperor then invited his officers to a banquet, at which all except Latinus and Thalassius were present. These were absent, though they were the greatest favorites of the emperor, because they were officiating for Philip, who was detained by Magnentius, notwithstanding his being an ambassador.