Thursday, February 2, 2012
from Bohn's Ecclesiastical Library, History of the Church by Sozomen and Philostorgius, 1855
After gaining this victory over Maximus, and after the arrival of Theodosius at Rome, when the emperor was on the point of taking his departure thence, a new and strange star was seen in the sky, which announced the coming of very great calamities upon the world. It appeared first at midnight, near the east, in the very circle which is called the Zodiac. It was large and bright, and in brilliance it was not much inferior to the morning star. After this, a concourse of stars gathered around it on every side, like a swarm of bees gathering in a cluster round their queen. Then, as if impelled by some mutual collision, the light of all the stars mingled together, and shone forth in a single flame, assuming the shape of a double-edged sword, huge and terrible.
But that one star which first appeared seemed like the hilt of the sword above mentioned, or rather like a root shooting up the large body of light, from what appeared to be a star, surmounted with flowers darting up like the flame from a lamp. Such was the novel and wondrous sight exhibited by the star which then appeared. Its course, moreover, was very different from that of the rest of the stars; for from the time of its first appearing in the place where we have said, and moving on from thence, it began to rise and set together with the morning star.
Afterwards, however, receding by little and little, it went up towards the north, advancing slowly and gradually, and following its own course with a slight deflection towards the left of those who beheld it, but in reality it pursued in the same course as the other stars, with which it came into contact from time to time.
When Theodosius had entered the years of boyhood, on the 19th of July, a little after noon-day, the sun was so completely eclipsed that the stars appeared; and so great a drought followed on this eclipse that a sudden mortality carried off great multitudes of men and of beasts in all parts. Moreover, at the time the sun was eclipsed, a bright meteor appeared in the sky, in shape like a cone, which some persons in their ignorance called a comet, for there was nothing like a comet in the phenomena of this meteor as it appeared. For its light did not end in a tail, nor had it any of the characteristics of a star, but it seemed like the flame of a huge lamp, subsisting by itself, with no star below it to answer to the appearance of a lamp.