Zosimus, New History 4.28

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.


[4.28.1] All this was occasioned by the negligence and excessive avarice of the emperor. He it was who introduced so vast an expence at the imperial table, that to serve it with such an extensive variety of dishes, whole legions of cooks, butlers, and other attendants, were employed. 

[4.28.2] The number of eunuchs in the service of the emperor was immense, most of whom, and particularly those of handsome persons, disgraced at their pleasure any magistrate or officer. The whole government was, in effect, at their disposal, the emperor being guided by their pleasure, and changing his sentiments at their desire.

[4.28.3] As he squandered the public money without consideration, bestowing it on unworthy persons, he consequently impoverished himself. He therefore sold the government of provinces to any who would purchase them, without regard to the reputation or ablity of the persons, esteeming him the best qualified who brought him the most gold or silver. 

[4.28.4] Goldsmiths, bankers, and even the meanest professions, were therefore seen wearing the ensigns of magistracy, and selling the provinces to the best bidders.