Zosimus, New History 3.29

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.


[3.29.1] When by this means all were engaged, the emperor, who sometimes rode to the commanders and tribunes, and was at other times among the private soldiers, received a wound in the heat of the engagement, and was borne on a shield to his tent. He survived only till midnight. He then expired, after having nearly subverted the Persian Empire.

[3.29.2] While the death of the emperor remained secret, the Roman army had so decidedly the advantage, that fifty satraps and an immense number of private persons were slain. When the death of the emperor was discovered, and the soldiers returned to the tent where his body lay, a few of the Romans, indeed, continued to fight, and overcame their enemies, while some troops sallying from a Persian garrison engaged with those under the command of Hormisdas. 

[3.29.3] After a smart action Anatolius fell, who was captain of the court-guards. At the same time, Sallustius, prefect of the court, fell from his horse, and was in danger of being killed by the enemy, when one of his servants dismounted and enabled him to escape. With him the two units that were with the emperor, called Scutarii, likewise gave way. 

[3.29.4] Only sixty men, regarding their own and their country's honor, had the courage to expose themselves to death, until they took the castle, from which the Persians had sallied who had thus defeated the Romans. Although these were besieged by the enemy for three days, yet they were preserved by a party that attacked the besiegers.