Zosimus, New History 4.58

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.


[4.58.1] Having done this, he took with him his younger son Honorius, quickly passed through the intermediate countries, and having exceded his expectations in crossing the Alps,note arrived where the enemy was stationed:

[4.58.2] Eugenius being astonished at seeing him there whom he so little expected. But as he was arrived there, and consequently was under the necessity of engaging, he judged it most prudent to place the barbarian troops in front, and to expose them first. He ordered Gainas with the troops under his command to make the first attack, and the other commanders of barbarian soldiers to follow him, either cavalry, horse archers, or infantry.

[4.58.3] Eugenius then drew out his forces. When the two armies were engaged,note so great an eclipse of the sun happened, that for more than half the time of the action it appeared rather to be night than day. As they fought therefore a kind of nocturnal battle, so great a slaughter was made, that in the same day the greater part of the allies of Theodosius were slain, with their commander Bacurius, who fought very courageously at their head, while the other commanders escaped very narrowly with the remainder.

[4.58.4] When night came on and the armies had rallied, Eugenius was so elated with his victory, that he distributed money among those who had behaved with the greatest gallantry in the battle, and gave them time to refresh themselves, as if after such a defeat there was no probability of another engagement. As they were thus solacing themselves, the emperor Theodosius about break of day fell suddenly on them with his whole forces, while they were still reclined on the ground, and killed them before they knew of the approach of an enemy.

[4.58.5] He then proceeded to the tent of Eugenius, where he attacked those who were around him, killing many of them, and taking some of them in their flight, among whom was Eugenius. When they had got him in their power, they cut off his head, and carried it on a long spear around the camp, in order to shew those who still adhered to him, that it was now their interest to be reconciled to the emperor, inasmuch as the usurper was removed. 

[4.58.6] All who had survived the engagement immediately came over to the emperor, hailing him with the appellation of Augustus, and entreating him to pardon their offences, to which the emperor readily consented. Arbogast, who had no inclination to make experiment of the emperor's clemency, took refuge in the most craggy mountains. Perceiving there that a general search was making for him, he stabbed himself, preferring a voluntary death to being taken by the enemy.