Zosimus, New History 5.35

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.


[5.35.1] After the death of Stilicho, all the affairs of the court were managed by Olympius at his own pleasure and inclination. He also possessed the office of magister, or governor of the court, while the other offices were disposed of by the emperor at his recommendation. 

[5.35.2] Meanwhile, not only all the friends of Stilicho, but all others who had any regard for him, were searched out. Among these, Duterius, who commanded the guard of the imperial bed-chamber, was examined, as was likewise Petrus, tribune of the Notarii. These were publicly put to the torture to force them to some confession relative to Stilicho; yet as they would state nothing either against him or themselves, Olympius was disappointed of his views. He, however, caused them to be beat to death with cudgels. 

[5.35.3] Although many others, who were suspected of being the adherents of Stilicho, and acquainted with his designs, were examined and put to torture to induce them to confess a knowledge of his ambition to be emperor, yet since none of them would make such a confession, the inquirers at length desisted from their enterprise. In the mean time, the emperor Honorius commanded his wife Thermantia to be taken from the imperial throne and to be restored to her mother, who notwithstanding was without suspicion. He likewise ordered Eucherius, the son, of Stilicho, to be searched for and put to death. 

[5.35.4] Having found him in a church at Rome, to which he had fled for refuge, they did not molest him, through respect to the place. At the same time, Heliocrates, the treasurer, produced in Rome the emperor's letter, commanding the confiscation of the property of all who had borne any office in the time of Stilicho. 

[5.35.5] But as if all these circumstances were not sufficient to satisfy the evil genius that held mankind in bonds of wickedness, and confounded all things through the neglect of sacred observances, the former disasters were heightened by an additional one, which thus happened. The soldiers who were in the city, on hearing of the death of Stilicho, fell upon all the women and children in the city, who belonged to the barbarians. Having, as by a preconcerted signal, destroyed every individual of them, they plundered them of all they possessed. 

[5.35.6] When this was known to the relations of those who were murdered, they assembled together from all quarters. Being highly incensed against the Romans for so impious a breach of the promises they had made in the presence of the gods, they all resolved to join with Alaric, and to assist him in a war against Rome. Having therefore collected to the number of thirty thousand men, they fixed themselves in whatever place they pleased.