Zosimus, New History 4.53

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.


[4.53.1] During these occurrences, intelligence was brought that the emperor Valentianian was no more, and that his death happened in this manner. Arbogast, a Frank, who was appointed by the emperor Gratian lieutenant to Baudo, at the death of Baudo, confiding in his own ability, assumed the command without the emperor's permission. Being thought proper for the station by all the soldiers under him, both for his valor and experience in military affairs, and for his disregard of riches, he attained great influence. He thus became so elevated, that he would speak without reserve to the emperor, and would blame any measure which he thought improper. This gave such umbrage to Valentinian, that he opposed him on several occasions, and would have done him injury had he known how to effect it.

[4.53.2] At length Valentinian, no longer able to submit to his correction, when Arbogast was approaching him as he sat on the imperial throne, looked sternly upon him, and presented him with a writing, by which he dismissed him from his command.

[4.53.3] Arbogast, having read it, replied, "You neither gave me the command, nor can deprive me of it;" and having said this, tore the writing to pieces, threw it down, and retired. From that period their hatred was no longer kept to themselves, but appeared in public.

[4.53.4] Valentinian sent frequent letters to the emperor Theodosius, acquainting him with the arrogant behavior of Arbogast towards the majesty of an emperor, and requesting him speedily to send assistance, or that he should suddenly make him a visit. Meantime Arbogast, hesitating how to proceed, at length formed the following resolution: