Zosimus, New History 5.28

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.


[5.28.1] After the autumn was terminated and winter had commenced, Bassus and Philippus being chosen consuls, the emperor Honorius, who had long before lost his wife Maria, desired to marry her sister Thermantia. But Stilicho appeared not to approve of the match, although it was promoted by Serena, who wished it to take place from these motives.

[5.28.2] When Maria was about to be married to Honorius, her mother, deeming her too young for the marriage-state and being unwilling to defer the marriage, although she thought that to submit so young and tender a person to the embraces of a man was offering violence to nature, she had recourse to a woman who knew how to manage such affairs, and by her means contrived that Maria should live with the emperor and share his bed, but that he should not have the power to deprive her of virginity.

[5.28.3] In the meantime Maria died a virgin, and Serena, who, as may readily be supposed, was desirous to become the grandmother of a young emperor or empress, through fear of her influence being diminished, used all her endeavors to marry her other daughter to Honorius. This being accomplished, the young lady shortly afterwards died in the same manner as the former.