Zosimus, New History 3.33

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.


[3.33.1] When peace was made with the Persians in the manner I have related, the emperor Jovian and his army were returning home securely, but met with many difficulties, through the badness of the roads, and the want of water, besides the loss of many men in the enemy's country through which he passed. He therefore sent Mauricius, a tribune, to fetch from Nisibis provisions for his army. He also sent others to Italy, with intelligence of the death of Julian, and of himself being created emperor.

[3.33.2] Having arrived after many difficulties near Nisibis, he would not enter the city, because it was surrendered to the enemy, but remained all night before the gate, and the next morning received the crowns and compliments that were presented to him. The inhabitants intreated him not to forsake them, and compel them to degenerate into barbarism, after having lived so many ages under the Roman laws. 

[3.33.3] They likewise suggested to him that it was dishonorable to him, that while Constantius, who had been engaged in three Persian wars, and was defeated in all, had notwithstanding always protected Nisibis, and even when it was besieged and in extreme danger, had exerted all his power to preserve it, yet that he, when no such necessity existed, should yield that city to the enemy, and exhibit to the Romans an occurrence which they had never before witnessed, being compelled to suffer such a city, and such a province, to fall into the: hands of an enemy. The emperor on hearing this excused himself from complying with their desires by stating to them the articles of the treaty. 

[3.33.4] Then Sabinus, who was the chief of their council, repeated what the people had before said in their petition, adding, that to carry on a war against Persia they were not in need of money or of any foreign aid, but were able with their own bodies and their own purses to defend themselves; assuring him at the same time, that whenever they should prove victorious and recover their liberty, they would again become subject to the Romans, and obey their commands as before.

[3.33.5] To which the emperor replied, that he could not infringe his covenant. The citizens then urged him a thousand times not to deprive the empire of such a bulwark.