Zosimus

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For the pope of this name see Pope Zosimus

Zosimus, Greek historical writer, flourished at Constantinople during the second half of the 5th century A.D. According to Photius, he was a comes ("count"), and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury. His New History is in six books, the earlier books being mainly a compilation from previous authors (Dexippus, Eunapius, Olympiodorus),: the first sketches briefly the history of the early emperors from Augustus to Diocletian (305); the second, third and fourth deal more fully with the period from the accession of Constantius and Galerius to the death of Theodosius; the fifth and sixth, the most useful for historians, cover the period between 395 and 410. For the end of his period, 395 - 410, he is the most important surviving non-ecclesiastical source. The work, which is apparently unfinished, is believed to have been written between 450 - 502.

The style is characterized by Photius as concise, clear and pure; other historians have judged his accounts confused or muddled, and valuable only because he preserves information from lost histories. The historian's object was to account for the decline of the Roman Empire from the pagan point of view, and in this undertaking he at various points treated the Christians with some unfairness; at the same time, Zosimus is the only non-Christian source for much of what he reports.

The single good manuscript, in the Vatican Library (MS Vat. Gr. 156 ), was held unavailable to scholars until the mid-19th century. Ludwig Mendelssohn (Leipzig 1887) edited the first dependable text. The modern standard edition is F. Paschoud Zosime: Histoire Nouvelle (Paris 1971) which has a French translation, introduction and commentary.


External links

it:Zosimo fi:Zosimos

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