Zosimus, New History 3.01

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.


[3.1.1] Constantius, after having acted towards Gallus Caesar in the manner I have related, left Pannonia to proceed into Italy. But perceiving all the Roman territories to be infested by the incursions of the barbarians, and that the Franks, the Alamanni, and the Saxons had not only possessed themselves of forty cities near the Rhine, but had likewise ruined and destroyed them, by carrying off an immense number of the inhabitants, and a proportionate quantity of spoils, and that the Sarmatians and the Quadi ravaged without opposition Pannonia and Upper Moesia; besides which that the Persians were perpetually harassing the eastern provinces, though they had previously been tranquil in the fear of an attack from Gallus Caesar; considering these circumstances, and being in doubt what to attempt, he scarcely thought himself capable of managing affairs at this critical period. He was unwilling, however, to associate any one with himself in the government, because he so much desired to rule alone, and could esteem no man his friend. 

[3.1.2] Under these circumstances he was at a loss how to act. It happened, however, that when the empire was in the greatest danger, Eusebia, the wife of Constantius, who was a woman of extraordinary learning and of greater wisdom than her sex is usually endowed with, advised him to confer the government of the nations beyond the Alps on Julian Caesar, who was brother to Gallus, and grandson to Constantius. As she knew that the emperor was suspicious of all his kindred, she thus circumvented him.

[3.1.3] She observed to him, that Julian was a young man unacquainted with the intrigues of state, having devoted himself totally to his studies and that he was wholly inexperienced in worldly business. That on this account he would be more fit for his purpose than any other person. That either he would be fortunate, and his success would be attributed to the emperor's conduct, or that he would fail and perish and that thus Constantius would have none of the imperial family to succeed to him.