Zosimus, New History 3.15

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.


[3.15.1] Some distance from this he found another island in the same river, in which was another strong fortress, which he attacked, but found it unassailable on every side, and therefore demanded the garrison to surrender, and avoid the risk of being sacked. To which they replied that they would regulate their conduct by that of others.

[3.15.2] He therefore proceeded on to other fortresses which he passed by, being satisfied with such promises. For he did not think it profitable to waste too much time in small affairs, but considered it the best course to hasten and prepare for the main business of the war. After a few days march he arrived at Dacira, a town on the right hand, sailing down the Euphrates. The soldiers, finding this place forsaken by its inhabitants, took away a large quantity of corn that was laid there, and many other things. Having put to death all the women that remained in it, they so completely razed the buildings, that no one on seeing the place could imagine a town ever to have stood there. 

[3.15.3] To conclude my account of this place and its vicinity, I must mention, that on the opposite shore was a foundation of bitumen. He from thence advanced to Sitha, Megia, and the city of Zaragardia, in which was a lofty throne made of stone, which the inhabitants used to call the throne of Trajan.

[3.15.4] The soldiers, having with ease plundered and burnt this city, spent that and the following day in recreation. The emperor in the mean time was surprized that his army had advanced so far without meeting with any Persians either in ambuscade or in the open field; and therefore sent Hormisdas with a party to reconnoitre, because he was best acquainted with the country. 

[3.15.5] In this expedition Hormisdas and his soldiers were all near perishing, had they not been unexpectedly preserved by a fortunate accident. A person called Surena, which is a title of disctintion among the Persians, had planted an ambuscade in a particular place, expecting Hormisdas and his troop to pass that way, and intending to surprize them as they passed. 

[3.15.6] This hope would have been successful, had not the Euphrates burst its banks, and running between the enemy and Hormisdas, obstructed the march of his men. Being compelled by this cause to defer the journey, the following day they discovered the ambuscade of Surena and his troops, with whom they engaged. Having killed many, and put to flight others, they admitted the remainder of them into their own army.