Zosimus, New History 4.34

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.


[4.34.1] While Theodosius was thus occupied, the emperor Gratian sent Vitalianus to command the Illyrian legions, a person by no means calculated to raise them from their depressed condition. 

[4.34.2] Meantime the Celtic nations were harrassed by two bands of Germans from beyond the Rhine, one of which was commanded by Fritigern, the other by Allotheus and Saphrax. The emperor was therefore compelled to permit them, on condition of leaving the Celtic provinces, to cross the Ister and to enter Pannonia and the Upper Moesia. His design and endeavor was to free himself from their continual incursions.

[4.34.3] They therefore passed the Ister, with the intention of proceeding through Pannonia into Epirus, and after crossing the river Achelous, to attack the cities of Greece. They first determined to supply themselves with a store of provisions, and to remove Athanaric, the head of the royal family of Scythia, that none might be left in their rear to impede or prevent their enterprise.

[4.34.4] They accordingly attacked him, and easily drove him from the places where he lay. He therefore repaired with great expedition to Theodosius, who was then recovering from a disease which had nearly caused his death. Theodosius gave a kind reception both to him and to the barbarians who followed him, even proceeding some distance from Constantinople to meet him. Nor did he afterwards treat him with less respect, but at his death, which happened shortly afterwards, interred him in a royal sepulchre,

[4.34.5] which was so magnificent, that the barbarians were filled with amazement at its extreme splendor, and returned to their country without offering any further molestation to the Romans, so charmed were they with the liberality and magnificence of the emperor. They who had followed the deceased chief likewise kept a continual guard on the bank of the river, to prevent any incursions being made against the Romans. At the same time Theodosius had additional good fortune.

[4.34.6] He repulsed the Sciri and Carpodaces, who were mixed with the Huns, and so defeated them as to compel them to cross the Ister, and to return into their own country. The success of the emperor revived the courage of the soldiers, who now appeared to recover from their former calamities. The husbandmen had now the liberty of cultivating their lands, and of feeding their cattle with security.