Zosimus, New History 3.08

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.


[3.8.1] Caesar, after he had thus settled affairs, added the Salii, the Quadi, and many of the inhabitants of Batavia to his legions, of whose discipline we still make use. Meanwhile the emperor Constantius was in the east, disposing of the Persian affairs, and intent only on the wars in those countries. All the nations beyond the Alps were in a state of tranquillity, from the prudent management of Caesar; nor were either Italy or Illyricum. in any danger, the barbarians who dwelt beyond the Ister being fearful that Caesar would come through Gaul, and pass the Ister to attack them. They therefore contained themselves within the bounds of moderation.

[3.8.2] Constantius being thus occupied, the Persians, under their king Sapor, at that time ravaged Mesopotamia; and having pillaged all the places about Nisibis, they besieged the city itself with their whole forces. Lucilianus, the commander, was so well provided for a siege, that partly by the happy occasions of which he availed himself, and partly by his own contrivances, the city escaped the dangers that threatened it. The manner in which this was effected, I have thought it superfluous to explain, since Julian himself has given a relation of all the transactions of those times in a particular treatise, in which the render may easily discern the eloquence and ability of its author.

[3.8.3] At this juncture, the affairs of the east appearing tranquil, and the splendid actions of Julian occupying the discourse of the public, the mind of Constantius became the seat of the most bitter envy. Being mortified at the prosperity that attended all that had been done in Celtica and Spain, he invented pretexts, by which he might gradually, and without any dishonor, diminish the authority of Julian, and then deprive him of his dignity. For this purpose he sent a messenger to Caesar, requiring him to send two of the Celtic legions, as if he wanted their assistance.

[3.8.4] Julian, in obedience to his order, immediately sent them away, partly through ignorance of his design, and partly because he wished to avoid giving him the least cause of anger. After this he took every possible care of the affairs of Gaul, while the army daily increased, and the barbarians, even in the most remote part of their country, were in such dread of him, that they did not even dream of making war. Constantius afterwards required more legions to be sent to him from Caesar, and having obtained the demand, sent for four other companies: according to which order Julian gave notice to the soldiers to prepare for marching.