Zosimus, New History 5.09

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.


[5.9.1] A native of Laodicea in Syria, named Bargus, who was a retailer of provisions, having been detected there in some misdemeanor, fled from Laodicea to Sardes, where he became famous for his knavery. Timasius having visited Sardes and seen this man, who possessed sufficient wit and cunning to flatter any person into a kindness for him, he made him his familiar, and shortly gave him the command of a cohort. He likewise took him with himself to Constantinople,

[5.9.2] which displeased the magistrates, for Bargus had been formerly expelled from that city for some villainies of which he had been guilty. Eutropius, however, was well pleased with it, having found him a person adapted for his purpose in his false charge against Timasius. He, therefore, made him the informer, employing him to impeach Timasius of treason in aiming at the throne. In this cause the emperor sat as president of the court, but Eutropius stood near him, being the imperial chamberlain, and possessing full authority to pass the sentence.

[5.9.3] But perceiving the people to be all displeased, that a vender of provisions should accuse a person who had been so great and honorable, the emperor left the court, and left the whole affair to Saturninus and Procopius. The former of these was old, and had filled several offices of high importance, yet not without adulation, accustoming himself even in judicial cases to humor those who were the chief favorites of the emperor. On the other hand, Procopius, who was father-in-law to the emperor Valens, was a morose inflexible man, and in many instances spoke the truth boldly.

[5.9.4] Upon this occasion, being appointed a judge in the cause of Timasius, he stated to Saturninus these objections: that Bargus was not a proper person to accuse Timasius, that a person who had held so many important offices and a man of so great honor,ought not to perish at the accusation of so mean and worthless an individual, and that it was most improper that a benefactor should suffer from him whom he had patronized.

[5.9.5] But Procopius gained no advantage by speaking with such freedom, since the opinion of Saturninus prevailed and was approved. Timasius was therefore, sentenced to reside in Oasis, and was sent there under a common guard.

[5.9.6] This was a barren inhospitable place, from which no person had ever returned after being carried there. The road to it being through a sandy uninhabitable desert, those who travel to Oasis are ignorant of the course they pursue, as the wind fills up the tracks of the feet with sand, nor is there any tree or house by which they can direct themselves.

[5.9.7] Yet a report was in general circulation, that Timasius was rescued by his son Syagrius, who having eluded those who were sent in search of him, employed some robbers to rescue his father. But whether that report was founded on truth, or was circulated to mortify Eutropius, remains unknown. It is only ascertained, that Timasius and Syagrius have never been seen since that period.