Text #7862

Philostorgius, "Ecclesiastical History", in Ecclesiastical Historiy of Sozomen and Philostorgius, translated by Walford, Edward
[Bk. 11 Ch. 7 pp. 510--511]


Philostorgius says that in this day there was so severe a pestilence as had never occurred before within the memory of man, in accordance with the portent of the star which appeared in the form of a sword. For not only was the military force destroyed, as in former wars, nor was it only in one part of the world that signal calamities occurred; but men of every rank and degree perished, and the whole of Europe and a very large part of Asia was entirely ravaged. A considerable portion of Africa also, and especially that part which was subject to the Romans, felt the blow. For the sword of the barbarians carried off large multitudes, and pestilence and famine pressed upon them at the same time together with large herds of wild beasts. In addition to this, there were very grievous earthquakes, which overturned houses and entire cities from their foundations, and hurled them into inevitable ruin. Moreover, in certain parts the earth opened and gaped, swallowing up the inhabitants suddenly as in a tomb. There were also im [sic] certain parts deluges of rain from heaven; in other parts fierce droughts and fiery whirlwinds, descending from above, to complete the manifold calamity till it was past endurance. Hail too fell in many places, bigger than a stone which would fill the hand, nay, it was found in some parts of such a size that it weighed no less than eight pounds. Moreover there was a great downfal [sic] of snow accompanied by a very severe frost, which seized upon those who had not been carried off by the other calamities, and deprived them of life, most clearly revealing the anger of God. But to mention the details of these visitations is a task which surpasses human ability.

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