Zosimus, New History 4.37

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.


[4.37.1] The reign of Gratian being thus terminated, Maximus, who now considered himself firmly fixed in the empire, sent an embassy to the emperor Theodosius, not to intreat pardon for his treatment of Gratian, but rather to increase his provocations.

[4.37.2] The person employed in this mission was the imperial chamberlain (for Maximus would not suffer an eunuch to preside in his court), a prudent person, with whom he had been familiarly acquainted from his infancy. The purport of his mission was to propose to Theodosius a treaty of amity and of alliance, against all enemies who should make war on the Romans, and on refusal, to declare against him open hostility.

[4.37.3] Upon this, Theodosius admitted Maximus to a share in the empire, and in the honor of his statues and his imperial title. Nevertheless, he was at the same time privately preparing for war, and endeavoring to deceive Maximus by every species of flattery and observance. He gave instructions to Cynegius, the prefect of his court, whom he bad sent into Egypt in order to prohibit there all worship of the gods, and to shut up their temples, that he should show the statue of Maximus to the Alexandrians, and erect it in some public place, declaring to the people that he was associated to himself in the empire. In this Cynegius obeyed his commands, closing up the doors of the temples throughout the east, Egypt, and Alexandria, and prohibited all their ancient sacrifices and customary observances.