Zosimus, New History 5.02

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.


[5.2.1] Florentius, who, when the great Julian was caesar, had been prefect of the court in the countries beyond the Alps, had a son named Lucianus, who had used the patronage of Rufinus and had given him the best part of his estate. For this reason Rufinus professed on every occasion great kindness for the young man, and was continually speaking in his commendation to the emperor Arcadius,

[5.2.2] who made him count of the east, a dignity which authorizes everyone on whom it is conferred to superintend the conduct of all the prefects of provinces through the east, and to correct whatever is improperly done. Lucianus, exhibiting toward those under his authority all the virtue that becomes a governor, was celebrated for his justice, temperance, and all other endowments which adorn a worthy magistrate, neither having respect of persons, or any other thoughts than such as were suggested to him by the laws. 

[5.2.3] From this cause, when Eucherius, the emperor's uncle, desired him to perform an action not proper for him to comply with, he repulsed him, and by that exasperated him to such a degree, that he calumniated him to the emperor. The emperor observing that Rufinus was the occasion of it, by having conferred so much power to such a person; Rufinus, as if in resentment for the blame laid to his charge by the emperor, without communicating his design to any person, proceeded with a very small retinue to Antioch. Having entered that city at midnight, he seized on Lucianus, and brought him to trial without any accusation. 

[5.2.4] He afterwards commanded him to be beaten on the neck with leaden balls until he expired. Rufinus then caused him to be carried in a litter, closely covered, to cause the people to suppose that he was not yet dead, and that he should receive some act of humanity. The city was so much disgusted by this unusual manner of proceeding, that he was compelled to conciliate the people by erecting a portico, which exceeds in elegance every structure in the city.