Zosimus, New History 5.17

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.


[5.17.1] Gainas upon this became afraid lest Tribigild, being enclosed on every side and without strength to engage the enemy, should be destroyed. He therefore sent other barbarian troops who were with him into the Roman camp to enable Tribigild to escape.

[5.17.2] These barbarians, whom Gainas sent to Leo as auxiliaries, fell upon every Roman with whom they met, ravaged the country and killed the soldiers. Nor did they cease to attack all places, until they had cut off Leo and all his army, and converted the whole country into a desert. Thus the design of Gainas met with success. Tribigild, having escaped from Pamphylia, indicted still greater miseries than before on the cities of Phrygia.

[5.17.3] Gainas from hence took occasion to magnify the exploits of Tribigild to the emperor, and so far alarmed the Senate and the whole court, that he persuaded them that Tribigild would advance to the Hellespont itself, and might nearly subvert the empire, unless the emperor should attend to his demands.

[5.17.4] Gainas acted thus from policy, at once to conceal from the emporor his own inclinations, and to acquire by those concessions, which Tribigild should extort, an opportunity of putting his own projects into execution. For he was not so much displeased at being himself neglected, as at the exaltation of Eutropius to the highest degree of power, so as to possess the dignity of consul, bear that title for a considerable time together, and to be honored with the patrician rank.

[5.17.5] This it was that principally excited Gainas to sedition. When his design, therefore, was ripe, he first planned the death of Eutropius. With this purpose, while he was still in Phrygia, he sent to the emperor, and informed him that he despaired of any success, since Tribigild was so artful a warrior, and, moreover, that it was impossible to sustain his fury, or to deliver Asia from the present extremities, unless the emperor would comply with his request, which was, that Eutropius, who was the chief cause of all the mischief which had happened, might be delivered into his hands, to be disposed of at his own pleasure.