Zosimus, New History 5.16

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.


[5.16.1] These he posted on the hills above those places where Tribigild had to march, so that they could see every one who passed that way without being themselves seen, although the enemy should march past in the open day. Tribigild and his barbarians, chosing the plainest way into the lower part of Pamphylia, and entering in the night into the fields under Selge, the barbarians suffered severely by stones of immense size thrown down upon them.

[5.16.2] They had no way of escape, there being on one side of the road a deep lake and morasses, and on the other side a steep narrow passage, which would scarcely admit two men abreast. This ascent being round and winding is by the natives called the Snail, from its similitude to that animal. In this were placed a sufficient number of men under Florentius to obstruct any who should attempt to pass through it.

[5.16.3] The barbarians being blocked up in this place, and great quantities of huge stones continually thrown at them, they were almost all killed, since they were confined in so small a space, that the stones which fell from above could not fail to kill some of them. Being therefore in great perplexity, most of them plunged with their horses into the lake, and to avoid death by the stones perished in the water. Tribigild, however, with three hundred of his men, ascended the Snail, where he bribed Florentius and the guards who were with him with a vast sum of money to permit them to pass. Having by this means effected his escape, he suffered the remainder to be totally destroyed.

[5.16.4] Although Tribigild concluded that he had thus delivered himself from the danger which Valentinus had brought on him, yet he presently fell into far greater peril than the former. Almost all the inhabitants of the several towns, arming themselves with whatever was in their reach, inclosed him and the three hundred men who had escaped with him between the rivers Melanes and Eurymedon, one of which runs above Side, and the other through Aspendus

[5.16.5] Being thus reduced to great embarrassment, he sent to Gainas. This commander, though grieved at what had occurred, yet as he had not disclosed his sentiments with regard to the rebellion, sent Leo, the next in command to himself, to the assistance of the Pamphylians, and to join with Valentinus against Tribigild to prevent him and his men from crossing the rivers. Leo, though naturally pusillanimous and through his whole life devoted to voluptuousness, obeyed his orders.