Text #752Roman History .
[AmmMarc. 15.10.1--15.10.3. Translated by C. D. Yonge. George Bell and Sons. 1894 p. 401]
These transactions having been thus concluded, after a long march we arrived at Antioch, where for several days in succession many terrible omens were seen, as if the gods were offended, since those who were skilled in the interpretation of prodigies foretold that impending events would be melancholy.
For the statue of Maximian Cæsar, which was placed in the vestibule of the palace, suddenly lost the brazen globe, formed after the figure of the heavens, which it bore in its hand. Also the beams in the council chamber sounded with an ominous creak; comets were seen in the daytime, respecting the nature of which natural philosophers differ.
For some think they have received the name because they scatter fire wreathed like hair by a number of stars being collected into one mass; others think that they derive their fire from the dry evaporation of the earth rising gradually to a greater height; some fancy that the sunbeams as they rapidly pass, being prevented by dense clouds from descending lower, by infusing their brilliancy into a dense body show a light which, as it were, seems spotted with stars to the eyes of mortals. Some again have a fixed opinion that this kind of light is visible when some cloud, rising to a greater height than usual, becomes illuminated by its proximity to the eternal fires; or, that at all events there are some stars like the rest, of which the special times of their rising and setting are not understood by man. There are many other suggestions about comets which have been put forth by men skilled in mundane philosophy, but I must pass over them, as my subject calls me in another direction.