Zosimus, New History 4.51

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.


[4.51.1] Of the magistrates whom he had appointed, Rufinus was considered the chief, who was by birth a Celtic Gaul, and commanded the court guards. Upon him the emperor reposed the entire confidence of all his affairs, and held no other person in great estimation. This gave offence to Timasius and Promotus who, after having subjected themselves to so many dangers for the public good, were placed only in the second rank of favorites. And Rufinus was by this rendered so haughty and assuming, that in a public assembly he uttered some very strong expressions against Promotus. 

[4.51.2] Promotus, unable to endure these, struck Rufinus in the face with great violence and wounded him. On this Rufinus immediately repaired to the emperor, and showing him his face, excited him to such a rage that he declared if their envy against Rufinus should not diminish, they should very shortly see him emperor. Rufinus, who for other reasons was an enemy to many other persons, through his excessive ambition of being superior to all, on hearing this, persuaded the emperor to send Promotus from the court to some place where he might exercise the soldiers. 

[4.51.3] Having obtained his desire, he employed some barbarians to wait in ambuscade as he was entering Thrace. These, as they were commanded, attacked him by surprize, and killed him. He was a man superior to the desire of wealth, and had behaved with sincerity both toward the commonwealth and the emperors, but was justly rewarded for his folly in serving those who conducted the public affairs with so much negligence and impiety.