Zosimus, New History 4.25

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.


[4.25.1] During the stay of the new emperor, Theodosius, at Thessalonica, a great concourse arrived there from all parts of persons soliciting him on business, both public and private; who having obtained of him whatever he could conveniently grant, returned, to their homes. As a great multitude of the Scythians beyond the Ister, the Gothi, and the Taiphali, and other tribes that formerly dwelt among them, had crossed the river, and were driven to infest the Roman dominions, because the Huns had expelled them from their own country, the emperor Theodosius prepared for war with all his forces. 

[4.25.2] All Thrace being now in the possession of the above mentioned tribes, and the garrisons of the towns and castles not daring to move out of their walls, much less to engage in the open field, Modares, who was of the royal family of the Scythians, and had not long before come over to the Romans, and for his fidelity had been made a general, placed his soldiers on the summit of a hill, which formed a spacious plain, and lay there unknown to the barbarians. Learning from his scouts that the enemy were in the fields below, luxuriously consuming the provisions they had plundered, by which they had intoxicated themselves, he commanded his soldiers to take with them only their swords and bucklers, and not their heavy armor as usual, and to attack the barbarians while they were immersed in voluptuousness. 

[4.25.3] This they performed, and destroyed in a very short space of time all the barbarians, many of them dying insensibly, and others immediately on feeling their wounds. Having slain all they began to rifle the bodies, and from thence proceeded to the women and children. They took four thousand carriages, and as many captives as could be contained in them, besides many who usually walked, and only rode alternately when fatigued.

[4.25.4] The army having made this good use of the occasion afforded by fortune, the affairs of Thrace, which had been on the brink of ruin, were now, the barbarians being crushed beyond all hope, re-established in peace.