Zosimus, New History 4.18

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.


[4.18.1] After his decease, Sirmium was struck with lightning, which consumed the palace and the market-place. This was thought by persons versed in such occurrences to be an omen of evil to public affairs. Earthquakes likewise happened in many places.

[4.18.2] Crete was very much shaken, as was likewise the Peloponnese, and all Greece, many places being destroyed; indeed almost all were overturned, except Athens and the country of Attica. These were said to be preserved by these means. Nestorius, who was then chief sacrist at Athens, saw a vision, by which he was commanded to pay public honors to the hero Achilles, which would be a protection to the city. 

[4.18.3] Having communicated this to the magistrates, they imputed it to the doting of age, and paid no attention to his communications. Considering therefore within himself, and receiving instructions from the divine influence, he erected the image of the hero in an apartment under the statue of Athena. As often as he offered sacrifices to the goddess, he at the same time performed the rites due to the hero.

[4.18.4] Having thus complied with the desire of the vision, the Athenians were free from the earthquake by which every other place suffered, except the country of Attica, which shared in the favor of the hero. The truth of this is attested by the philosopher Syrianus, who has composed a hymn in honor of this hero. These occurrences I have introduced under the idea that they were not foreign from the design of my history.