Text #3547

Seneca. Natural Questions. Series: The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca
[Bk. 7 Ch. 15 Verse 1 p. 124]

After the death of Demetrius, king of Syria, whose children were Demetrius and Antiochus, shortly before the Achaean war, a comet shone brightly, no smaller than the sun. At first it was a fiery, reddish circle, emitting bright light sufficient to overcome the darkness; then gradually its size contracted, and its brightness faded, and finally it disappeared totally1.

  1. Demetrius I Soter died in 150 BC, and the war between the Achaean confederacy and Rome was in 146–145 [nE]

Text #3548

Obsequens. "A Book of Prodigies After the 505th year of Rome"


  1. P. Africano C. Livio coss. AUC 607/147 BC

At Amiternum a boy with three feet and one hand was born. At Rome and around many places were struck by lightning. At Caere the land flowed with a river of blood and at night the sky and earth seemed to be on fire. At Frusino mice gnawed the sacred gold. At Lanuvium between the third and fifth hour two variegated halos encircled the sun, the one with a red line, the other with a white one. A star blazed for thirty two days. and when Carthage was besieged, because of Hasdrubal there was cruelty inflicted on the Roman captives according to barbarian custom, then Carthage was razed by Aemilianus.

Text #8749

Abraham Sachs, Hermann Hunger. Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia
[pp. 95--0]

BM 34609 + 34788 + 77617 + 78958


33’ – That month1, a little redness occurred again and again in the east and in the west.

  1. September-October.

Text #8750

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

The comet of August 1471 was accompanied by a redness in the sky, witnessed from Babylon to Rome. The Astronomical Diaries record two of these events in September–October 145 and in July–August 144. This is the only report of such a persistent red sky phenomenon in the nearly continuous record of well-dated astronomical and meteorological events reported at Babylon during the last four centuries BC. The redness was most likely due to cometary dust. A moderate acidity peak in a Greenland ice core crops up at around 149-1472.

  1. Ramsey J.T., A Catalogue of Greco-Roman Comets from 500 BC to AD 400, JHA, 38, 2007, p. 175-197

  2. Stothers R, Cloudy and clear stratospheres before A.D. 1000 inferred from written sources , J. Geophys. Res., 107(D23), 4718, doi:10.1029/2002JD002105, 2002

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