When the moon blotted out the sun in 1133, Britain's King Henry I was traveling aboard a ship.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle records that ``the second day as he lay and slept on the ship, the day darkened over all lands. Men were greatly wonder stricken and were affronted, and said such a great thing should come hereafter.''

``So it did,'' the Chronicle added, ``for the same year the king died.''

From the earliest times, solar eclipses were seen as portents of doom.

The first written reference to an eclipse, in April 2094 B.C., is found in a series of astrological tablets from Ur in ancient Babylon.

The word itself comes from a Greek word meaning abandonment and many ancient cultures believed the sun was forsaking the Earth to the demons of darkness.

The Florentine Codex of the Aztecs records that men and women cried out that demons were about to come down ``to eat us.''

Many ancient legends include a celestial monster that devoured the sun. For Norse tribes, it was a wolf called Skoll. Indians feared a dragon or demon's head, and the Vietnamese a giant frog. For the people of Siberia, it was a vampire.

The Chippewa Indians fired flaming arrows into the sky in hopes of rekindling the sun, and the Chinese used cymbals, drums and skyrockets to drive away the dragon that devoured the sun.

The Aztecs sacrificed hunchbacks and dwarfs to placate Xolotl, the sun's assistant.