How Stupid Must Zosimos Be? Proposals for a New Assessment
But as philological historians we do not have to adhere to the cliches. We can interpret and explain them so that very often they do not seem like cliches any more. Yet contradictions remain.
Everyone agrees Zosimos did not finish his His tor ia.3 There is equal unanimity that Photios’ statement that Zosimos did not write a history, but
1 See e.g., B. Paschoud, ed. Zosime, Histoire NouvelleI (Paris, 1971) p. lxvi (hereafter Paschoud). After recounting all the errors noticed earlier by L. Mendelssohn, ed. Zosimi... Historia Nova (Leipzig, 1887) (hereafter Mendelssohn), Paschoud goes further, ‘Cette appreciation est plus incomplete que fausse*. For the same viewpoint, see Paschoud 10A (1972), cols 795-841, s.v. Zosimos 8, hereafter Paschoud RE, at 838: ‘This judgement [by Mendelssohn] is not wrong, but incomplete*, and ibid., ‘His achievement as a historian is therefore very modest*. See also A. Demandt, Der Fall Roms. Die Auflosmg des romischen Reiches im Urteil der Nachwelt (Munich, 1984), p. 15: ‘. .. we have for Rome’s expansion a much more reliable informant in Polybios than in his imitator Zosimos for the disintegration o f Rome.’