Constantinople and its Inhabitants in the "New History" by Zosimos


For Zosimos Constantinople was a vital city, a city that owed a lot to Constantine the Great; all that despite the fact that both that ruler and his successors did not find much appreciation in the historian’s eyes. The new Capital city may have its problems, such as overpopulation, lack of room and safety, but it is also the place where one can easily find a job. Its inhabitants, whenever needed, can face serious threats (Gainas’ struggle with Goths), but their reactions are unpredictable and difficult to tame (Procopios’ usurpation, city unrest accompanying the deposition of John Chrysostom from bishopric). Constantinople is the place where the events essential for country’s existence take place, where there is a furious struggle for power, where one can fali with ease from the peaks of power down to the very bottoms (like e.g. Ruffinus of Eutropios). It is the place of the Imperial court, criticized so much by Zosimos himself because, as he says, of the monarchs’ weakness, but also due to bossy eunuchs, advisors and court cliąues. Such views may have resulted from the religious beliefs of the author, who could not agree to the apostasy of the rulers from religious traditions of the past. Constantinople is also the place with Christian temples and followers, led, according to the author, by arrogant individuals, for this is the way he perceives John Chrysostom. These individuals can riot the City against its rulers, while their followers from the mob may be a threat to law and public order.


Constantinople; Zosimos; New History; Inhabitant

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Published : 2008-06-15

Leszka, M. (2008). Constantinople and its Inhabitants in the "New History" by Zosimos. Vox Patrum, 52(1), 573-584.

Małgorzata B. Leszka
Uniwersytet Łódzki  Poland