Zosimus, New History 4.10

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.


[4.10.1] After the death of Procopius, the emperor Valens sacrificed to his resentment the lives of many persons, and confiscated the property of many others. His intended expedition into Persia was obstructed by the incursions into the Roman territories of a Scythian tribe residing beyond the Ister. Against these he directed a competent force, arresting their progress and compelling them to surrender their arms. He sent them to several of his towns on the Ister, with orders for them to be kept in prison without chains. These were the auxiliaries that were sent by a Scythian chief to Procopius. 

[4.10.2] Their chief therefore demanding their dismissal from the emperor, on the ground that they had been sent at the request of ambassadors from the person who then held the sovereign authority, Valens refused to listen to this demand. He replied, that they had neither been sent for nor taken by him as friends, but as enemies. This produced a war with the Scythians.

[4.10.3] The emperor, perceiving that they designed to invade the Roman dominion, and were for that purpose collecting together with the utmost speed, drew up his army on the bank of the Ister. He himself was stationed at Marcianopolis, the largest city of Thrace, where he paid great attention to the discipline of the army, and to the supplies of provisions. 

[4.10.4] He then appointed Auxonius prefect of the court, Sallustius having, by reason of his age, obtained permission to resign that office, which he had twice held. Auxonius, though on the eve of so dangerous a war, acted with the strictest justice in the collection of the tributes, being careful that no person was oppressed with exactions more than it was his right to pay. He likewise procured many transport-vessels, in which he conveyed provisions for the army through the Euxine Sea to the mouth of the Ister, and thence, that the army might be the more easily supplied, by boats to the several towns on the side of the river.