Zosimus, New History 5.07

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.


[5.7.1] Rufinus, on learning the calamities which Greece had sustained, was still more anxious to be emperor; for now that the commonwealth was in confusion, there appeared to him no obstacle to such an enterprise. Stilicho, having caused a considerable number of troops to embark, hastened to assist the Achaeans in their distress. Arriving in the Peloponnese, he compelled the barbarians to fly to Pholoe,

[5.7.2] where he might with ease have destroyed them all, through the want of provisions, had he not yielded himself up to luxury and licentiousness. He likewise permitted his soldiers to plunder what the barbarians had left, thus giving the enemy an opportunity to depart from Peloponnese, to carry their spoils with them to Epirus, and to pillage all the towns in that country.

[5.7.3] When Stilicho heard of these transactions, he sailed back into Italy without having effected any thing, except bringing on the Greeks much greater and more grievous calamities by means of the soldiers whom he had taken with him. Upon his return into Italy, he immediately resolved to effect the death of Rufinus in the following manner. He informed the emperor Honorius that he might conveniently send some auxiliary troops to his brother Arcadius, to defend the miserable nations under his dominion. The emperor commanding him to act as he judged expedient,

[5.7.4] he gave orders what troops should be sent upon that occasion, appointing Gainas their commander, to whom he communicated his design against Rufinus. When these troops were arrived near Constantinople, Gainas went forward, and informed the emperor Arcadius of their approach, and that they were come for the purpose of assisting him in his necessity.

[5.7.5] The emperor being pleased at their coming, Gainas advised him to meet them on their entrance into the city, which he observed was an honor usually conferred on the soldiers in similar instances. The emperor, being persuaded to this, went out of the city, and the soldiers paid him the usual marks of respect, which he received with kindness. At length, the signal being made by Gainas, they all fell on Rufinus, and surrounding him struck him with their swords,

[5.7.6] so that one struck off his right hand, another his left, a third divided his head from his body, and went away singing songs of triumph. They even so insulted him after he was dead, as to carry his head round the whole, city, asking every person they met to give something to an insatiable miser.