Zosimus, New History 5.14

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.


[5.14.1] When these occurrences were communicated to the emperor, he did not compassionate the general calamity, for indeed he was incapable of understanding what was proper to be done (so extremely feeble was he in mind), but gave the whole administration of the empire to Eutropius. When Eutropius had obtained this, he appointed Gainas and Leo his generals, intending to send the latter into Asia to attack the barbarians, or other promiscuous people who had overrun it; and to send Gainas through Thrace and the Hellespont, if they should be troublesome in that quarter.

[5.14.2] Leo, who was appointed to relieve the emergencies of Asia, was a man devoid of all military conduct, and of every other qualification by which he might deserve to be elevated to his present rank, excepting only that he was the familiar friend of Eutropius. However, for that reason alone he was employed; and Gainas was sent into Thrace, to prevent Tribigild and his followers from crossing the Hellespont, or if there should be occasion, to engage him by sea. When these commanders were thus instructed, they led off their forces to their respective stations.

[5.14.3] Gainas, mindful of the compact between himself and Tribigild and that the time was at hand for the execution of the project, commanded Tribigild to lead his army toward the Hellespont. Had he concealed his design against the commonwealth, and departed quietly from Constantinople with his barbarians, his whole plan would have been accomplished. Nor was there any thing to prevent him from seizing on Asia, and from devastating all the east.

[5.14.4] But as fortune was at that time pleased to preserve those cities to the Roman dominion, Gainas was overpowered by his hot and violent disposition as a barbarian, and left Constantinople with almost all his forces. When he approached Heraclea, he instructed Tribigild how to act.

[5.14.5] But Tribigild resolved by no means to proceed toward the Hellespont, through apprehension of meeting with the forces in that quarter; and, therefore, when he had ravaged all Phrygia, he fell upon Pisidia, where meeting with no obstacle, he pillaged all the country and retired. Though this intelligence was communicated to Gainas, he was unconcerned at the ravages that had been committed, in consequence of the agreement subsisting between himself and Tribigild.