Zosimus, New History 3.25

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 Zosimus' New 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.


[3.25.1] While this was in agitation, a great force of Persians, both horse and foot, was collected on the opposite bank, to prevent their passage should it be attempted. The emperor, discerning these preparations of the enemy, was anxious to cross over to them, and hastily commanded his troops to go on board the vessels.

[3.25.2] Perceiving, however, the opposite bank to be unusually lofty, and a kind of fence at the top of it, which formerly served as an inclosure to the king's garden, but at this time was a rampart, they exclaimed that they were afraid of the fire-balls and darts that were thrown down. The emperor, however, being very resolute, two barges crossed over full of foot soldiers, which the Persians immediately set on fire by throwing down on them a great number of flaming darts.

[3.25.3] This so increased the terror of the army, that the emperor was obliged to conceal his error by a feint, saying, "They are landed and have rendered themselves masters of the bank. I know it by the fire in their ships, which I ordered them to make as a signal of victory." 

[3.25.4] He had no sooner said this, than without further preparations they embarked in the ships and crossed over, until they arrived where they could ford the river, and then leaping into the water, they engaged the Persians so fiercely, that they not only gained possession of the bank, but recovered the two ships which came over first, and were now half burnt, and saved all the men who were left in them. 

[3.25.5] The armies then attacked each other with such fury, that the battle continued from midnight to noon of the next day. The Persians at length gave way, and fled with all the speed they could use, their commandors being the first who began to fly. Those were Pigraxes, a person of the highest birth and rank next to the king, Anareus, and Surena

[3.25.6] The Romans and Goths pursued them, and killed a great number, from whom they took a vast quantity of gold and silver, besides ornaments of all kinds for men and horses, with silver beds and tables, and whatever was left by the officers on the ramparts. 

[3.25.7] It is computed, that in this battle there fell of the Persians two thousand five hundred, and of the Romans not more than seventy-five. The joy of the army for this victory was lessened by Victor having received a wound from an engine.