Zosimus, New History 3.22

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.


[3.22.1] Having thus assigned to his officers their respective charges, he planted his battering-rams against one of the gates, which he broke to pieces. Perceiving that those to whom the care of the mine was committed were slothful, and negligent of their charge, he removed them, as a disgrace for their remissness, and substituted others in their place. 

[3.22.2] He afterwards brought the rams against another gate, which was too weak to bear the shock, when there came a messenger with information, that they who were ordered to construct a mine from the ditch into the town had completed their task, and were just ready to issue through it. The men employed in the mine were of three regiments, the Mattiarii, the Laccinarii, and the Victores.

[3.22.3] The emperor, however, suspended the attack a short time, while he commanded an engine to be brought against another gate, where he planted all his army, to induce the enemy to believe that on the following day he intended with that engine to storm the castle; his real design being to divert the attention of the Persians from the mine. 

[3.22.4] All that were in the castle were therefore wholly occupied in destroying that engine, while the party in the mine, having dug quite through to the surface, issued from it at midnight in the middle of a house, in which was a woman grinding corn. She was immediately killed by the man who first sprang out, because she attempted to cry out. The name of the soldier who did this was Superantius, an excellent soldier in the regiment of Victores, the next to him was Magnus, then Jovianus, a tribune in the regiment of the Notarii. 

[3.22.5] These were followed by many others. The passage being widened, they all presently entered into the midst of the place, from whence they ran to the wall, and surprised the Persians, who in the manner of the country were singing in praise of the valor of their king, and speaking contemptuously of the vain attempt of the Roman emperor, and boasting that he might sooner take the palace of Zeus than their castle. 

[3.22.6] The Romans now attacked them, and killing all they met with by throwing them over the wall, they pursued the rest, and put them to death in various manners; sparing neither women nor children, except a few whom they preserved for slaves. Anabdates, the governor of the castle, being taken while endeavoring to escape, together with his guards, eighty in number, was brought to the emperor with his hands bound. 

[3.22.7] The castle being thus taken, and all the people put to death, except a few who were unexpectedly saved, the soldiers began to plunder, and having taken all they could find, levelled the wall to the ground, with the engines they had placed against it. Nor even then were they satisfied, but pulled down and burnt, all the building; in such a manner, that no one could imagine that there had ever been any in flint place.