Zosimus, New History 5.46

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.


[5.46.1] The eunuchs of the court now laid before the emperor informations charging Olympius as the occasion of all the disasters, which had happend to the commonwealth, and thus procured his removal from the office he then held. On this, fearing some greater misfortune, he fled into Dalmatia. In the meantime, the emperor sent Attalus, the prefect of the city, to Rome, and being very solicitous that nothing belonging to the treasury should be concealed, he also sent Demetrius to assist Attalus, and made diligent inquiry into the public funds.

[5.46.2] After making many innovations in the magistracy, and in other respects; discharging those who were previously in high authority, and bestowing their offices on others; he appointed Generidus commander of the forces in Dalmatia, who already held the chief command of those stationed in Upper Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, as far as the Alps. This Generidus, although of barbarian extraction, was in disposition inclined to all virtues, and was remarkably devoid of covetousness.

[5.46.3] While he adhered to ancient ordinances, and could not endure to relinquish the old mode of worshipping the gods, a law was promulgated prohibiting all who were not Christians from wearing a girdle in the court. This law being established, Generidus, who was at that time a military officer in Rome, laid aside his girdle and remained in his own house.

[5.46.4] The emperor requiring him, as one enrolled among the officers, to attend at court in his due course, he replied that there was a law which forbade him the use of a girdle, or that any one should be reckoned among the officers who did not reverence the Christian religion. The emperor answered, that the law indeed was obligatory on all others, but excepted him alone, who had undertaken such dangerous enterprises for the commonwealth. Generidus said in reply, that he could not suffer himself to accept of an honor that appeared to affront all who by means of that law had been put out of commission. Nor did he execute his office, until the emperor, compelled both by necessity and shame, completely abolished the law, and gave all persons liberty of enjoying their own sentiments in all offices, whether civil or military.

[5.46.5] Generidus, having commenced with this act of gallantry, employed and instructed the soldiers with continual labor and exercise. He distributed corn among them, suffering no person to deprive them of any part of it, as was formerly the practise. He likewise gave suitable recompenses out of his own public allowance to those who were most deserving. Appearing therefore thus great, he was not only a terror to the adjacent barbarians, but a security to the nations which were under his care.