Zosimus, New History 5.03

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.


[5.3.1] When he had effected this, he returned to Constantinople, where he exerted himself in order to procure an affinity with the emperor. But fortune ordered the affair in a different mannner, and the expectation of Rufinus was frustrated by those means. 

[5.3.2] Promotus had two sons, who while Theodosius was living were brought up with his children. One of these had in his house a young lady of remarkable beauty,note whom the emperor was advised by Eutropius, one of his eunuchs, to make his wife, with great commendations of her beauty. 

[5.3.3] Perceiving that the emperor listened to what he said with some satisfaction, he showed him her picture, by which he inflamed Arcadius with so violent a passion for the lady, that he at length persuaded him to a resolution to marry her, while Rufinus in the mean time was ignorant of the circumstance, and expected that his own daughter would shortly be empress, and that he himself should be an associate in the empire.

[5.3.4] The eunuch, as soon as he perceived that his design was effected, commanded the people to dance with garlands in their hands, as they were accustomed to do on the wedding-day of an emperor. Having procured from the palace an imperial robe and other attire proper for an empress, which he gave to the servants of the emperor to carry, he proceeded through the city attended by the populace. 

[5.3.5] They all supposed that those ornaments were to be presented to the daughter of Rufinus, and ran along with those that carried them, yet on arriving at the house of Promotus, they entered it with the presents, and delivered them to the young lady, who resided there with the son of Promotus. It thus became manifest who was chosen to become the emperor's wife.

[5.3.6] The hopes of Rufinus being thus rendered abortive, on seeing another woman made empress, he employed himself in inventing a method to remove Eutropius. Thus were affairs situated in that part of the empire which was under the government of Arcadius,