Zosimus, New History 4.03

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.


[4.3.1] Affairs being thus disposed, Valentinian deemed it most prudent to place the east as far as Egypt, Bithynia, and Thrace, under the care of his brother, and to take charge of Illyricum himself. From thence he designed to proceed to Italy, and to retain in his own possession all the cities in that country, and the countries beyond the Alps, with Spain, Britain, and Africa. 

[4.3.2] The empire being thus divided, Valentinian began to govern more rigorously, correcting the faults of the magistrates. He was very severe in the collection of the imposts, and particularly in observing that the soldiers were duly paid. Resolving likewise to institute some new laws be began by prohibiting the nocturnal sacrifices, intending by that measure to restrain and prevent vicious actions. 

[4.3.3] However when Praetextatus, the proconsul of Greece, a person endowed with great virtues, represented to him that the Greeks could not subsist under such a law, by which they were withheld from the performance of those sacred mysteries, which were to them the great bond of society, he allowed them to be celebrated in the usual manner, without regard to his own edict, and look care that every thing should be performed according to the ancient custom of the country.

[4.3.4] Meantime the barbarians beyond the Rhine, who while Julian lived held the Roman name in terror, and were contented to remain quiet in their own territories, as soon as they heard of his death, immediately marched out of their own country, and prepared for a war with the Romans. 

[4.3.5] Valentinian, on bring informed of this, made a proper disposition of his forces, and placed suitable garrisons in all the towns along the Rhine. Valentinian was enabled to make these arrangements by his experience in military affairs;