Zosimus, New History 5.30

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.


[5.30.1] Stilicho, after having in this manner made peace with Alaric, prepared very earnestly for his journey, in order to put his designs in execution. The emperor declared, that he would also proceed from Rome to Ravenna, to view and encourage the army, especially as so powerful an enemy was arrived in Italy.

[5.30.2] Yet this he did not say of his own inclination, but was prompted to it by Serena. For she wished him to reside in a more secure city, that if Alaric should infringe the treaty and attack Rome, he might not take the emperor's person. She was the more zealous for his preservation, since her own security depended on his.

[5.30.3] Stilicho, however, being much averse to the emperor's journey to Ravenna, contrived many obstacles to prevent it. As the emperor, notwithstanding, would not alter his intentions, but was still determined on his journey, Sarus, a barbarian, and captain of a company of barbarians at Ravenna, excited a mutiny before the city at the instigation of Stilicho. His design was not really to throw affairs into confusion, but to deter the emperor from coming to Ravenna.

[5.30.4] But as the emperor persisted in his resolution, Justinian, an excellent lawyer at Rome, whom Stilicho chose as his assistant and counsellor, through the sagacity of his judgment, formed a near conjecture of the design for which the emperor made that journey, and that the soldiers in Ticinum, who were disaffected to Stilicho, when the emperor arrived there, would reduce him into circumstances of great danger.

[5.30.5] He, therefore, continually advised him to dissuade the emperor from his present intentions. But when Justinian found that the emperor would not listen to the counsel of Stilicho, he forsook him, lest through his familiarity with Stilicho he should share in his misfortunes.