Zosimus, New History 3.12

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.


[3.12.1] When the winter was past, having collected his forces, and sent them before him in the usual manner of marching, he departed from Antioch, though without encouragement from the oracle. The reason of this failure it is in my power to explain, yet I pass it over in silence. He arrived on the fifth day at Hierapolis, where he had ordered all the ships to assemble, which used to navigate the Euphrates from Samosata and other places. Having given the command of them to Hierius, one of his officers, he sent him forward,

[3.12.2] but stayed himself in Hierapolis three days. He then proceeded to Batnae, a small town in Osrhoene where the Edesenes met him in crowds, presenting him with a crown, and welcoming him to their city with joyful acclamations. He accepted of their kindness, and entering the city, he made whatever regulations he thought useful, and went on to Harran

[3.12.3] As there were two roads from thence, one across the Tigris and through the city of Nisibis into the provinces of Adiabene, the other over the Euphrates and by Circesium, which is a fortress surrounded by that river on the borders of Syria, the emperor was doubtful which way to chose. In the meantime intelligence was brought that the Persians had made an incursion into the Roman territory. 

[3.12.4] This produced some alarm in the camp. The emperor, however, understood that they were not a regular army but marauders, who took and carried off whatever fell in their way. He therefore resolved to leave a sufficient guard in the places near the Tigris, to prevent the Persians from taking advantage of the army accompanying him by the other route into their dominions, and thus pillaging Nisibis and all that quarter without opposition.

[3.12.5] He therefore thought it prudent to leave in that country eighteen thousand men under the command of Sebastianus and Procopius, while he himself crossed the Euphrates with the main body of his forces in two divisions. He thus rendered them fully prepared to oppose the enemy wherever they should meet with them, and prevent the devastations which they committed wherever they came.