Zosimus, New History 4.50

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.


[4.50.1] Such were the most remarkable incidents which happened to the emperor Theodosius after his return from the defeat of Maximus. When he again arrived at Constantinople, he was elated with pride for his victory over Maximus, but was so much depressed at what his army and himself had suffered from the barbarians in the marshes, that he resolved to bid adieu for the future to all wars. Committing, therefore, the management of those affairs to Promotus, he began to resign himself to his former mode of life, and delighted in splendid banquets, theatrical spectacles, horse-races, and voluptuousness. These opposite features of his character have incited in me a degree of wonder. 

[4.50.2] For although naturally addicted to indolence and other vices which I have before mentioned, and, therefore, when unmolested by any formidable accident, giving way to his nature, yet when roused by any circumstance, by which his affairs were threatened with danger, he laid aside his langor, and reliquishing his pleasures, prepared himself for manly, vigorous, and difficult enterprizes. And notwithstanding he was so resolute as by experience we are informed, yet when free from anxiety, he would again become the slave of his natural vices of indolence and luxury.