Zosimus, New History 4.54

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.


[4.54.1] There was in the court a person named Eugenius, a man of learning, who was a professor and teacher of rhetoric. He had been recommended to the notice of Arbogast by Richomer as a person of a kind and obliging disposition, with a desire that he would make him his familiar friend, being one who would be serviceable to him in any circumstances where the assistance of a real friend would be needful. 

[4.54.2] When Richomer was departed to the emperor Theodosius, by daily conversation Eugenius became the sincere friend of Arbogast, who had no secret which he did not confide to him. Recollecting Eugenius, therefore, at this juncture, who by his extraordinary learning and the gravity of his conversation seemed well-adapted for the management of an empire, he communicated to him his designs. But finding him not pleased with the proposals, he attempted to prevail on him by all the arts he could use, and entreated him not to reject what fortune so favorably offered. 

[4.54.3] Having at length persuaded him, he deemed it advisable in the first place to remove Valentinian, and thus to deliver the sole authority to Eugenius. With this view he proceeded to Vienna, a town in Gaul, where the emperor resided; and as he was amusing himself near the town in some sports with the soldiers, apprehending no danger, Arbogast gave him a mortal wound. 

[4.54.4] To this audacious action the soldiers quietly submitted, not only because he was so brave and warlike a person, but because they were attached to him through his contempt of riches. As soon as he had performed this action, he declared Eugenius emperor, and infused into them the most favorable hopes that he would prove an excellent ruler, since he possessed such extraordinary qualifications.