I am looking for a word or phrase that could be used to describe events that happen in at the same time as major historical events. Examples include the darkness that occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the comet that appeared in the sky after the assassination of Julius Caesar. The best I could come up with is omen, but I don't think that is correct.

EDIT: After reading a comment, I see that I failed to describe that I am looking for a word in the context of these events being perceived to be related, as if the comet was some sort of a way to show the importance of what had just happened.

  • As Stan and Josh have pointed out, I do not think you are going to get anything more than straight-forward suggestions of a symbol or a symbolic meaning here. Of course these symbols are totally subjective, anything can symbolise anything If I come up with a reason that makes sense to me. E.g. "This question symbolises the hope and aspirations of aspiring lexographers." quite ridiculous in and of itself, but irrefutable from my subjective vantage point none the less. If you had just said 'before' the event. Then omen (or portentious) for instance may well have applied.
    – Gary
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:11
  • The question title, and the beginning of the question, might be misleading in that it does not say there is a relationship between the events. That being the case, they might just be coincident, one of the answers here.
    – anemone
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:36
  • I am indeed looking for a word that supposes the events are related to the main event. That is, a word to describe the darkness, given that it is meant to show the importance of the crucifixion. Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 19:48
  • given that it is meant to show the importance of the crucifixion - please do understand that there is a difference between a coincidence that is attributed meaning by ancient historians (like comets or weather) and a natural occurrence that is related to a historical event (like the Black Plague's effect on class hierarchies, or the weather affecting a military campaign - Napoleon in Russia comes to mind). Omens, or foreboding events describe the former.
    – Fox
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 4:39

5 Answers 5


They are coincident events.

From MW dictionary:

Simple Definition of coincident : happening at the same time

the hard economic times and the coincident increase in crime were a double strain on the city's social services

Common synonyms are simultaneous and synchronous. Also, contemporary, though a synonym, is more of an approximation.


To me omen precedes the event associated with it.

When something happens alongside or immediately following an important event otherwise would be a symbol of the import.

Additionally, the event following or extending the duration could also mark, validate, endorse, authenticate, manifest, and indicate.

  • This isn't the right answer but it sure is a smarter one. Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 22:49

The fact that two events are coincident or concomitant doesn't mean anything per se, your question, as far as I can understand, is about the relationship between the main event (Ceaser's death for instance) and the minor accompanying event (the appearance of a Comet).

Crucifixion darkness and Caesar's Comet are symbolic events in the sense that they help highlight the historical/religious importance of the main events they are related to:

  • representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships. (Wikipedia)

For instance:

  • The Comet became a powerful symbol in the political propaganda that launched the career of Caesar's great-nephew (and adoptive son) Augustus.

A recent symbolic event, Lightning bolt hit Vatican after Pope Benedict XVI 's shock resignation

enter image description here




Simple Definition of concomitant: happening at the same time as something else

Full Definition of concomitant: accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way

Cambridge dictionary

something that happens with something else and is connected with it

Oxford dictionaries

A phenomenon that naturally accompanies or follows something


Portent (noun) : prophetic indication or significance (Merriam-Webster) —this definition is referring to the abstracted process, although the word is often used as a concrete noun (for instance, in the language of describing beliefs in medieval Christianity, among other religious belief systems, and actually Halley’s Comet is a prime example of how portents were used to reinforce the authenticity of imbuing coincidentally synchronous events with symbolic meaning—look up the symbolic interpretation of Halley’s Comet in the death of England’s King Harold II during the Norman conquest of 1066, about which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: the comet was “a portent such as men had never seen before was seen in the heavens.” -https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-halleys-comet-sightings

Hope this helps!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.