Zosimus, New History 3

Zosimus (Greek Ζώσιμος): Early Byzantine, pagan author of a history of the Roman Empire, published in the first quarter of the sixth century CE.

Book 3


Zosimus devotes an entire book, the third one, to the reign of Julian the Apostate: how he became caesar, how he went to Gaul and defeated the Germans, how he fell out with Constantius, how he was proclaimed emperor ("in Paris, a small town in Germany"note), how civil war broke out. After the death of Constantius, Julian is sole ruler. After a brief stay in Constantinople and a visit to Antioch, he attacks Sasanian Persia. Zosimus offers many details, but is a lesser historian the Ammianus Marcellinus, whose account of this campaign is to be preferred.

Disaster strikes, for which Zosimus (or his source, the Universal History by Eunapius, which is based on the account of Julian’s physician Oreibasius) blames Julian’s successor Jovian. He concludes a peace treaty with the Persians, brings back the army, and dies, "without having been able to render the public any essential service".note The new ruler, and the hero of Book 4, is Valentinian I.

Except for Eunapius’ Universal History, Zosimus has used Julian’s own writings as his source.


  1. Julian made caesar
  2. Julian sent to Gaul
  3. Battle of Argentoratum
  4. Return of the captives
  5. Sallustius dismissed
  6. Germanic attacks
  7. Charietto
  8. Constantius demands soldiers from Julian
  9. Julian proclaimed emperor
  10. Julian advances to Sirmium
  11. Julian in Constantinople and Antioch
  12. Beginning of the Persian War
  13. Julian advances to Circesium
  14. Capture of a castle
  15. Fight between Hormisdas and Surena
  16. Crossing of the Euphrates
  17. Julian reaches Bersabora
  18. Capture of Bersabora
  19. The Royal Canal
  20. More fights
  21. Siege of a castle
  22. Capture of the castle
  23. Julian reaches Seleucia
  24. Julian reaches the Tigris
  25. The battle of Ctesiphon
  26. Destruction of the ships
  27. Roman retreat along the Tigris
  28. The retreat continued
  29. Death of Julian
  30. Jovian emperor
  31. Peace treaty
  32. Retrospect on Rome's eastern wars
  33. Jovian surrenders Nisibis
  34. Burial of Julian
  35. Death of Jovian
  36. Valentinian emperor