Zosimus, New History 4.26

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.


[4.26.1] The eastern provinces were now in the most imminent danger, from the following causes. When the Huns, as I have related, had invaded the countries beyond the Ister, the Scythians, being unable to withstand their incursions, intreated the emperor Valens, who was then living, to admit them into Thrace, promising, in perfect submission to his commands, to perform the duty of faithful soldiers and subjects. 

[4.26.2] By this promise Valens was induced to receive them; and imagining that it would be a surety of their fidelity to cause all their young children to be brought up in a different country, he sent a great number of infants into the east, and appointed Julius to superintend their maintenance and education, conceiving him to be a person of competent understanding for the fulfilment of both those offices.

[4.26.3] He, therefore, distributed them into various towns, to prevent them, when grown to manhood, from having an opportunity, by being collected in great numbers, of forming an insurrection. However, when they had attained maturity, the intelligence of what their conntrymen had suffered in Thrace reached them in the different towns.

[4.26.4] This gave them much uneasiness; those of one city assembling together and sending private information to those in other places, that they intended to assault the Roman towns in revenge for the sufferings of their countrymen.

[4.26.5] Meantime Julius, discovering the design of the barbarians, was in doubt how to act. At length he resolved not to give Theodosius information of the conspiracy, not only because he was then in Macedonia, but that he had been appointed to that charge by Valens, and not by Theodosius, who scarcely knew him. 

[4.26.6] He, therefore, privately sent letters to the Senate of Constantinople. Being authorised by them to proceed as he deemed most conducive to the public good, he averted the danger with which the towns were menaced by the following measures. 

[4.26.7] He sent for all the officers and, before he disclosed to them his design, required them to take an oath of secrecy. Being informed of it, and instructed how to act, they reported among the barbarians of each town that the emperor intended to bestow on them considerable presents, both in money and land, in order to bind them in gratitude to himself and the Roman people.

[4.26.8] For this purpose they were ordered to assemble on a particular day in the principal cities. This intelligence was so gratifying to the barbarians, that their fury considerably abated. Upon the appointed day they all attended at the places at which they were desired to meet.

[4.26.9] When they were arrived, the soldiers, on the signal being made, mounted upon the roofs of the houses in the respective market-places in which they were stationed and cast at the barbarians such numbers of darts and stones, that they killed every man.