Having looked at both the Old Testament texts (here, here, and here), and Jewish Pseudepigraphical texts the writer of Matthew is possibly drawing upon for his framing of the crucifixion narrative, it would be irresponsible to fail to make mention of the use of darkness within the contemporary Roman literature of the day. The use of darkness with Roman histories serves a variety of functions in relation to the death or demise of great men within the Roman empire. Due to the overlapping imagery at work in this motif of darkness it is worth taking the time to examine it in more detail here before moving forward in our analysis.
Craig Keener, Allison, Davies and Allison, and Luz each provide extensive lists to Roman texts in their discussion of the darkness at the cross. These texts are worth noting for their use of the darkening of the sun or moon, primarily described as eclipse, as either a bad omen or in context to the death of great men. Referencing Caius Gallus’ advanced warning to his troops that an eclipse “happened in the course of nature” lest they perceive it as a bad omen, Keener notes while the ancients understood eclipses to be caused by the passing of the moon in front of the sun, many still considered them an ill sign. In other texts, as in the record of the death of Carneades (ca. 213-129 BCE), an eclipse could indicate nature’s mourning, or simply the activities of the gods.
Eclipses upon the death of great men is a common theme throughout Roman literature, being mentioned in regard to the death of Romulus, Pelopidas (364 BCE), Julius Caesar (44 BCE), and Augustus (14 CE). Upon the ἀφανισμός (aphanismos, disappearance) of Romulus Plutarch states:
suddenly strange and unaccountable disorders with incredible changes filled the air; the light of the sun failed, and night came down upon them, not with peace and quiet, but with awful peals of thunder and furious blasts driving rain from every quarter.
though Luz argues that this instance is not applicable to the Gospels and the context is quite different. Before the death of Pelopidas both Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch cite an eclipse as a bad omen of his expedition.
In reference to the murder of Julius Caesar and the following Octavian war Pliny records:
Eclipses of the sun also take place which are portentous and unusually long, such as occurred when Cæsar the Dictator was slain, and in the war against Antony, the sun remained dim for almost a whole year.
Similar events are recorded by Virgil, Plutarch, and even Josephus. Intriguingly, Davies and Allison mention the dimming of the sun following Julius Caesar’s death is confirmed by Chinese writers recording around the same time in the Han dynasty. About Caesar Augustus’ death it is similarly recorded in Dio Cassius:
…not a few omens had appeared, and these by no means difficult of interpretation, all pointing to this fate for him. Thus, the sun suffered a total eclipse and most of the sky seemed to be on fire.
Despite these similarities, no clear connection can be made between the use of darkness within Roman literature and that at the cross. Both the lack of specific linguistic overlaps make a direct connection tedious to support. The traditions stand in close enough proximity to warrant mention, though it cannot be seen as the primary influence the evangelist draws upon.
As later Rabbinic texts make clear, darkness accompanying the death of a rabbi was at least plausible within Judaism, making it unlikely that Matthew went outside the confines of Judaism for symbolism to understand the death of Jesus. The strength of the symbolic, textual, and linguistic relationship between Matthew’s gospel and both the Old Testament passages and Pseudepigraphical texts mentioned in previously provide a clearer parallel to Matthew’s imagery without the additional complexities of moving outside of Jewish sources to Roman ones. Strong enough sources for the imagery of darkness exist within first century Judaism as to make moving outside of the Jewish tradition without a sufficiently stronger impetus unnecessary.
 Keener, Matthew. 685.
 Allison Jr., End. 28-29.
 Davies and Allison Jr., Matthew XIX-XXVIII. 621-623.
 Luz and others, Matthew. 543.
 Livy 44.37.5-7
 Diog. Laërt. Lives 7.1.145-146; 10.96; Pliny N.H. 2.7; Dio Cassius 60.26.1-5
 Plut. Aemilius Paulus 17.5 (as a cause for sacrifice); Arrian Alex. 3.7.6; 3.15.7; Herodotus 7.37; Diod. Sic. 20.5.5 “an eclipse of the sun that utter darkness set in and the stars were seen everywhere; wherefore Agathocles’ men, believing that the prodigy portended misfortune for them, fell into even greater anxiety about the future” (of military defeat). Keener, Matthew. 685.
 “At the time he died the moon is said to have been eclipsed, and one might well say… thereby gave token of her sympathy.” Diog. Laërt. Lives 4.64
 Plut. Tim. 28.2; Ibid. 685.
 Plut. Rom. 27; cf. Ovid, Fasti 2.492-495; Cicero, Rep. 2.10; 6.22; Livy 1.16
 Luz and others, Matthew. 543.
 Diodorus Siculus, 15.80; Plutarch Pelop. 31 =295
 Pliny, N.H. 2.30.97
 Virgil, Geog. 1.466-67; Plut. Caesar 69.3-4; Jos. Ant. 14.309
 Davies and Allison Jr., Matthew XIX-XXVIII. 623.
 Dio Cassius 56.29.3
 b. Sukk. 29a where the death of the Ab Beth din was accompanied by darkness since he was not properly mourned; Allison Jr., End. 28; cf. b. Mo’ed Kat. 32a; Davies and Allison Jr., Matthew XIX-XXVIII. 622.