Zosimus, New History 4.24

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.


[4.24.1] While he gave the emperor this counsel, his adversaries persuaded him to march forward with his whole army: the barbarians were almost destroyed and the emperor might gain a victory without trouble. Their counsel, though the least prudent, so far prevailed, that the emperor led forth his whole army without order. 

[4.24.2] The barbarians resolutely opposed them, and gained so signal a victory that they slew all, except a few with whom the emperor fled into an unfortified village.note The barbarians, therefore, surrounded the place with a quantity of wood, which they set on fire. All who had fled thither, together with the inhabitants, were consumed in the tlames, and in such a manner, that the body of the emperor could never be found.

[4.24.3] When the affairs of the empire were reduced to this low condition, Victor, who commanded the Roman cavalry, escaping the danger with some of his troops, entered Macedonia and Thessaly. From thence he proceeded into Moesia and Pannonia, and informed Gratian, who was then in that quarter, of what had occurred, and of the loss of the emperor and his army. Gratian received the intelligence without uneasiness, 

[4.24.4] and was little grieved at the death of his uncle, a disagreement having existed between them. Finding himself unable to manage affairs, Thrace being ravaged by the barbarians, as were likewise Pannonia and Moesia, and the towns upon the Rhine being infested by the neighboring barbarians without control, he chose for his associate in the empire, Theodosius, who was a native of a town called Cauca, in the part of Spain called Hispania Callaecia, and who possessed great knowledge and experience of military affairs. Having given him the government of Thrace and the eastern provinces, Gratian himself proceeded to the west of Gaul, in order, if possible, to compose affairs in that quarter.