Documented sightings spanning thousands of years, across cultures, match reported UFO encounters today. The scholarly article “Unidentified Flying Objects In Classical Antiquity” (download here: .2007_Stothers_2) tries to decode the patterns:
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The UFO phenomenon, whatever it may be due to, has not changed much over two millennia. Throughout recorded history, reports of what we today might call unidentified flying objects have been made and preserved. Embedded in the mass of relatively explicable ancient reports, is a small set of unexplained (or at least not wholly explained) reports from presumably credible witnesses.
At Rome in the winter of 218 BC “a spectacle of ships (navium) gleamed in the sky”. In 217 BC “at Arpi round shields (parmas) were seen in the sky”. In 212 BC “at Reate a huge stone (saxum) was seen flying about” In 173 BC “at Lanuvium a spectacle of a great fleet was said to have been seen in the sky” In 154 BC “at Compsa weapons (arma) appeared flying in the sky”.