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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

Prodigies, miracles, wonders, portents, phenomena, monsters (I)

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Perhaps some reader has ever wondered where this temptation, so ancient and so modern, comes from believing in marvelous and inexplicable facts, to which the quality of miracles, divine deeds, messages of divinity is given.

In this article you will find dozens of miracles and marvelous and inexplicable facts that were already produced in Antiquity and which were recorded in texts written more than two thousand years ago. And surely this weakness of a being as rational as man came from a past of thousands of years before, as many as mankind. From this and other weaknesses they are fed all kinds of superstitions and religions.

But what is a prodigy, a miracle, a wonder, a portent, a phenomenon, a monster of nature?
First we will use etymology and its significant force to explain the meaning of these terms and some others.

Prodigy: from the Latin "Prodigium", "Portentum" from the Latin "portentum" and "presage" from the Latin "praesagium" come to mean the same thing in Latin: divine sign.

The Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines "prodigy" as "strange event that exceeds the regular limits of nature". And "portentum" as "Thing, action or singular event that by its strangeness or novelty causes admiration or terror"; and “presage”  as: "1. Signal that indicates, prevents and announces an event. 2. Species of divination or knowledge of future things through signs that have been seen or intuitions and sensations".

The etymology of "prodigium" is not secure; it has been related to "prod- agio," and this to  "aio" which means to speak, to say, and for that reason, perhaps Cicero erroneously links it with "pro-dico"; rather it seems to be related to "ago", "to carry, to push, to lead".

"Praesagium" is related to "prae-" before, and sagire, infinitive of sagio ", to perceive, to feel, from which sagax derives, which has given " sagacious ". That is why Cicero says in his De divinatione, 1,31,65:

Now sagire means 'to have a keen perception.' Accordingly certain old women are called sagae,3 because they are assumed to know a great deal, and dogs are said to be 'sagacious.' And so one who has knowledge of a thing before it happens is said to 'presage,' that is, to perceive the future in advance. (Translation. William Armistead Falconer)

“sagire sentire acute est: ex quo sagae anus, quia multa scire volunt; et sagaces dicti canes. Is igitur, qui ante sagit quam oblata res est, dicitur praesagire, id est futura ante sentiré”

It seems more certain the etymology  of portentum, from  "pro- (effect of metathesis or change of position of some phoneme) and tendo: to direct, to tend, .., that defines the Royal Spanish Academy as" Thing, action or singular event that by its Strangeness or novelty causes admiration or terror. "

Marvel (wonder): it is an "extraordinary event or thing that causes admiration". The word comes from the Latin "mirabilia", admirable things, which is the neutral plural of "mirabilis", admirable, which is formed from the root of the verb "mirari", admire, and the adjective "mirus, -a, -um ", marvelous, wonderful, strange, surprising.

From the same root and words they proceed to admire, and their compounds and also "miracle", from "miraculum".

The Royal Spanish Academy defines a miracle as: "1. The fact not explainable by natural laws and attributed to supernatural intervention of divine origin. 2. m. Event or rare thing, extraordinary and wonderful. "

From the same root they come the French "miroir", and the English "mirror".

Phenomenon is a Greek word φαινόμενον phainómenon, which has come to us through the late Latin  phaenomenon; the Greek verb φαινεῖν, phainein means to shine, to make to shine, to appear; to show, to do see. The Royal Spanish Academy  defines it as: "1. All manifestation that becomes present to the consciousness of a subject and appears as the object of his perception. 2.  Extraordinary and surprising thing. 3.  Colloquial:  Monstrous person or animal. "

With these terms are also related "oracle", from Latin oraculum and this from orare, to speak, which etymologically means message, communiqué, parliament.

And also "prophecy", "prediction made by virtue of supernatural gift." Greek word  has come to us  through Latin: prophet, Greek, προφήτης, prophetes, "who says in advance", from προ- (pro -) (before) and φημί, phemí, to speak.

In any case in the Roman world a "prodigy" is a sign of the gods with which they announce to men a future event, good or bad; it includes therefore omens and auguries.

Augury, augur, haruspex,  are terms that deserve another extensive article. Let it suffice now to remember that an "augur" is a priest, from Etruscan origin, who observes the sky and the signs of the gods, signs that are called "auguries" .The haruspices, also Etruscan, analyze the entrails of the animals sacrificed to the gods to observe into them the messages of the divinity.

With a more restricted sense, prodigy refers to any strange incident or marvelous apparition that is supposed that it announces a misfortune and therefore appears in calamitous circumstances for both the collective society and the individual.

Cicero tells us in De divinitatione, I, 42 (93) and ss. that prodigy is synonymous with ostentum, monstrum and portentum ":

Indeed, the inherent force of these means of divination, as you like to observe, is clearly shown by the very words so aptly chosen by our ancestors to describe them. Because they 'make manifest' (ostendunt), 'portend ' (portendunt), ' intimate ' (monstrant),'predict ' (praedicunt),they are called ' manifestations,' ' portents,' ' intimations,' and 'prodigies.' (Translation by William Armistead Falconer).

“Quia enim ostendunt, portendunt, monstrant, praedicunt; ostenta, portenta, monstra, prodigia dicuntur”.

I widen the quote a bit because it serves as the perfect setting for what we are dealing with. But first I want to refer to the term "monster", which derives from the verb "monstrare", to demonstrate, to teach, to show, it is "nothing but an unexpected and unprecedented being, phenomenon or event that precisely for this reason produces a major commotion in the person who sees or feel it, "that is," indicate, show, warn of something special ". Today in Spanish  the word “monstruo”, "monster" has more often a pejorative meaning, referring to something bad or inadequate, but it is not always so and it also maintains the meaning of something especially positive, as when we say of an artist, each one choose his idol, that he is a "monster of nature"

Extended text Cicero, De divinatione, I, 42 (93) y ss.

"Now, for my part, I believe that the character of the country determined the kind of divination which its inhabitants adopted. For  example, the Egyptians and Babylonians, who live on the level surface of open plains, with no hills to obstruct a view of the sky, have devoted their attention wholly to astrology. But the Etruscans, being in their nature of a very ardent religious temperament and accustomed to the frequent sacrifice of victims, have given their chief attention to the study of entrails. And as on account of the density of the atmosphere signs from heaven were common among them, and furthermore since that atmospheric condition caused many phenomena both of earth and sky and also certain prodigies that occur in the conception and birth of men and cattle—for these reasons the Etruscans have become very proficient in the interpretation of portents. Indeed, the inherent force of these means of divination, as you like to observe, is clearly shown by the very words so aptly chosen by our ancestors to describe them. Because they 'make manifest' (ostendunt), 'portend ' (portendunt), ' intimate ' (monstrant),'predict ' (praedicunt),they are called ' manifestations,' ' portents,' ' intimations,' and 'prodigies.'

But the Arabians, Phrygians, and Cilicians, being chiefly engaged in the rearing of cattle, are constantly wandering over the plains and mountains in winter and summer and, on that account, have found it quite easy to study the songs and flights of birds. The same is true of the Pisidians and of our fellowcountrymen, the Umbrians. While the Carians, and especially the Telmessians, already mentioned, because they live in a country with a very rich and prolific soil, whose fertility produces many abnormal growths, have turned their attention to the study of prodigies.

"But who fails to observe that auspices and all other kinds of divination flourish best in the best regulated states? And what king or people has there ever been who did not employ divination? I do not mean in time of peace only, but much more even in time of war, when the strife and struggle for safety is hardest. Passing by our own countrymen, who do nothing in war without examining entrails and nothing in peace without taking the auspices, let us look at the practice of foreign nations The Athenians, for instance, in every public assembly always had present certain priestly diviners, whom they call manteis. The Spartans assigned an augur to their kings as a judicial adviser, and they also enacted that an augur should be present in their Council of Elders, which is the name of their Senate. In matters of grave concern they always consulted the oracle at Delphi, or that of Jupiter Hammon or that of Dodona.

Lycurgus himself, who once governed the Spartan state, established his laws by authority of Apollo's Delphic oracle, and Lysander, who wished to repeal them, was prevented from doing so by the religious scruples of the people. Moreover, the Spartan rulers, not content with their deliberations when awake, used to sleep in a shrine of Pasiphaë which is situated in a field near the city, in order to dream there, because they believed that oracles received in repose were true. (Translation by William Armistead Falconer, 1923)

Ac mihi quidem videntur e locis quoque ipsis, qui  a quibusque incolebantur, divinationum oportunitates esse ductae. Etenim Aegyptii et Babylonii in camporum patentium aequoribus habitantes, cum ex terra nihil emineret, quod contemplationi caeli officere posset, omnem curam in siderum cognitione posuerunt, Etrusci autem, quod religione inbuti studiosius et crebrius hostias immolabant, extorum cognitioni se maxume dediderunt, quodque propter aëris crassitudinem  de caelo apud eos multa fiebant, et quod ob eandem causam multa invisitata partim e caelo, alia ex terra oriebantur, quaedam etiam ex hominum pecudumve conceptu et satu, ostentorum exercitatissimi interpretes exstiterunt. Quorum quidem vim, ut tu soles dicere, verba ipsa prudenter a maioribus posita declarant. Quia enim ostendunt, portendunt, monstrant, praedicunt, ostenta, portenta, monstra, prodigia dicuntur. Arabes autem et Phryges et Cilices, quod pastu pecudum maxume utuntur campos et montes hieme et aestate peragrantes, propterea facilius cantus avium et volatus notaverunt; eademque et Pisidiae causa fuit  et huic nostrae Umbriae. Tum Caria tota praecipueque Telmesses, quos ante dixi, quod agros uberrumos maximeque fertiles incolunt, in quibus multa propter fecunditatem fingi gignique possunt, in ostentis animadvertendis diligentes fuerunt. 
  Quis vero non videt in optuma quaque re publica plurimum auspicia et reliqua divinandi genera valuisse? Quis rex umquam fuit, quis populus, qui non uteretur praedictione divina? neque solum in pace, sed in bello multo etiam magis, quo maius erat certamen et discrimen salutis. Omitto nostros, qui nihil in bello sine extis agunt, nihil sine auspiciis domi [habent auspicia]; externa videamus: Namque et Athenienses omnibus semper publicis consiliis divinos quosdam sacerdotes, quos μάντεις vocant, adhibuerunt, et Lacedaemonii regibus suis augurem adsessorem dederunt, itemque senibus (sic enim consilium publicum appellant) augurem interesse voluerunt, iidemque de rebus maioribus semper aut Delphis oraclum aut ab Hammone aut a Dodona petebant. Lycurgus quidem, qui Lacedaemoniorum rem publicam temperavit, leges suas auctoritate Apollinis Delphici confirmavit; quas cum vellet Lysander commutare, eadem est prohibitus religione. Atque etiam qui praeerant Lacedaemoniis, non contenti vigilantibus curis in Pasiphaae fano,  quod est in agro propter urbem, somniandi causa excubabant, quia vera quietis oracla ducebant. Ad nostra iam redeo. Quotiens senatus decemviros ad libros ire iussit! quantis in rebus quamque saepe responsis haruspicum paruit! Nam et cum duo visi soles sunt et cum tres lunae et cum faces, et cum sol nocte visus est, et cum e caelo fremitus auditus, et cum caelum discessisse visum est atque in eo animadversi globi, delata etiam ad senatum labe agri Privernatis, cum  ad infinitam altitudinem terra desedisset Apuliaque maximis terrae motibus conquassata esset (quibus portentis magna populo Romano bella perniciosaeque seditiones denuntiabantur; inque his omnibus responsa haruspicum cum Sibyllae versibus congruebant); quid? cum Cumis Apollo sudavit, Capuae Victoria? quid?  ortus androgyni nonne fatale quoddam monstrum fuit? quid? cum fluvius Atratus sanguine fluxit? quid? cum saepe lapidum, sanguinis non numquam, terrae interdum, quondam etiam lactis imber defluxit? quid? cum in Capitolio ictus Centaurus e caelo est, in Aventino portae et homines, Tusculi aedes Castoris et Pollucis Romaeque Pietatis: nonne et haruspices ea responderunt, quae evenerunt, et in Sibyllae libris eaedem repertae praedictiones sunt? 

Naturally it is believed that the catastrophic announcement can be avoided by the proper offerings and rites that overturn the omen.

The rites are collected and explained in "books of practices" which are necessary for the purpose. They  are also from Etruscan origin. If the phenomenon is especially serious one has to resort to some soothsayer of recognized prestige, to the Sibylline Books or to the famous oracles like that of Delphi. We will speak of the Sibyls another time.

The ancients in general and in a special way the Romans were very superstitious, and by that reason all their social, religious and cultural life is plagued of rites and preventions of all type.

So much these phenomena, today we would say them "paranormal", attracted them, that there exist sacerdotal schools specialized in the interpretation of them; they are the augurs who watch permanently the sky and the flight of the birds and the haruspices who permanently analyze the bowels of the animals that so often are sacrificed  to their gods, as I mentioned before.

The poet Ovid tells us in his Metamorphoses (otherwise work full of prodigies) how Teages appears, who teaches the Etruscans to reveal the future according to the signs previously mentioned:

Metamorphoses XV, 547 et seq.

The grief of others could not ease the woe
of sad Egeria, and she laid herself
down at a mountain's foot, dissolved in tears,
till moved by pity for her faithful sorrow,
Diana changed her body to a spring,
her limbs into a clear continual stream.
This wonderful event surprised the nymphs,
and filled Hippolytus with wonder, just
as great as when the Etrurian ploughman saw
a fate-revealing clod move of its own
accord among the fields, while not a hand
was touching it, till finally it took
a human form, without the quality
of clodded earth, and opened its new mouth
and spoke, revealing future destinies.
The natives called him Tages. He was the first
who taught Etrurians to foretell events.
They were astonished even as Romulus,
when he observed the spear, which once had grown
high on the Palatine, put out new leaves
and stand with roots—not with the iron point
which he had driven in. Not as a spear
it then stood there, but as a rooted tree
with limber twigs for many to admire
while resting under that surprising shade.

(Translation by Brookes More, 1922)

Non tamen Egeriae luctus aliena levare
damna valent, montisque iacens radicibus imis
liquitur in lacrimas, donec pietate dolentis
mota soror Phoebi gelidum de corpore fontem
fecit et aeternas artus tenuavit in undas.
Et nymphas tetigit nova res, et Amazone natus
haud aliter stupuit, quam cum Tyrrhenus arator
fatalem glaebam mediis adspexit in arvis
sponte sua primum nulloque agitante moveri,
sumere mox hominis terraeque amittere formam
oraque venturis aperire recentia fatis
(indigenae dixere Tagen, qui primus Etruscam
edocuit gentem casus aperire futuros);
utve Palatinis haerentem collibus olim
cum subito vidit frondescere Romulus hastam,
quae radice nova, non ferro stabat adacto
et iam non telum, sed lenti viminis arbor
non exspectatas dabat admirantibus umbras;

And even they elaborate extensive lists, indexes and books in which these "wonders", the "mirabilia" are collected. They are the paradoxographies. Naturally, the Greeks were the first to do so, and within them the first of whom we have certain news that he writes a specific book on this subject, is Callimachus (310 BC - 240 BC). Its development takes place in Hellenistic time in connection with the creation of the great libraries and centers of investigation like Alexandria and Pergamon.

Those who are prone to believe in wonders and miracles will find in the Graec-Roman world hundreds of examples of marvelous facts, which according to some people continue to occur in abundance in our scientifically studied world. The knowledge of these "miracles" so old which  so often occur, should at least serve so many credulous people to question the presumed character of these prodigious facts, many of them explainable by scientific knowledge and other simply fantastic creations of man himself; as Spanish painter Goya painted, "the dream of reason produces monsters."

I will present in several articles some texts of Livy, in whose history there are always present the prodigies, other texts of the poets Lucan and Virgil, and other of St. Augustine and his City of God.

Livy, a historian who lived in the time of the emperor Augustus, wrote a history of Rome from its  foundation; that is why it is called  "Ab urbe condita", "Since the foundation of the city". His account is full of references to these miracles, portents and monsters; there are dozens of passages in which he refers dozens and even hundreds of "wonderful" facts, omens of all kinds. To this subject some important research articles have been devoted.

The credulous Livy seems to collect prodigies as the sources offer them without further consideration, but he differs between major and minor prodigies, public and private, in Rome or outside Rome. I will present later an incomplete classification which will give us an idea of the variety of prodigies.

A moment of special tension and therefore propitious for the appearance of "prodigia" is the time when in the Second Punic War between Romans and Carthaginians, Hannibal comes from Hispania and carries  the confrontation to Italy, traversing the Alps in winter with his elephants; then a great fear and worry spread among the Romans. These circumstances are a good environment for the multiplication of rumors of prodigies of all kinds. Some of them are still produced from time to time nowadays.

I will cite only two passages from Livy of the possible tens as a sufficient sample and I will also offer a broader relationship with the corresponding textual reference in case the reader would like to extend his readings.

In the list prodigies we will find rays, meteors and tongues of fire, halos and luminous crowns, multiplication of suns and moons; crevices and sinkings of the earth; strange glows in the sky; rain of blood, stones, earth, milk; rivers that carry bloody water; volcanic eruptions, perspiration of bronze or marble statues; hybrid or monstrous beings, like five-footed horses, man-headed pigs, bicephalous animals; animals or infants who speak, etc., etc.

As I said, the references to prodigies are innumerable in Livy's work. We will see some examples and in the end I will give an incomplete relationship, with some classification, that will allow us to give an approximate idea of its importance. It is a matter of interest to analyze the extent to which Livy believes in these prodigies and the sources of the prodigies, including the pontifical books and the official Annals in which they are reflected following the Etruscan custom.

Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, The History of Rome, Book 22 1,8

Men's fears were augmented by the prodigies reported simultaneously from many places: that in Sicily the javelins of several soldiers had taken fire, and that in Sardinia, as a horseman was making the round of the night-watch, the same thing had happened to the truncheon which he held in his hand; that many fires had blazed up on the shore; that two shields had sweated blood; that certain soldiers had been struck with lightning; that the sun's disk had seemed to be contracted;  that glowing stones had fallen from the sky at Praeneste; that at Arpi bucklers had appeared in the sky and the sun had seemed to be fighting with the moon; that at Capena two moons had risen in the daytime;  that the waters of Caere had flowed mixed with blood, and that bloodstains had appeared in the water that trickled from the spring of Hercules itself; that at Antium, when some men were reaping, bloody ears of corn had fallen into their basket; that at Falerii the sky had seemed to be rent as it were with a great fissure; and through the opening a bright light had shone;  and that lots had shrunk and that one had fallen out without being touched, on which was written, “Mavors brandishes his spear;”  that in Rome, about the same time, the statue of Mars on the Appian Way and the images of the wolves had sweated; that at Capua there had been the appearance of a sky on fire and of a moon that fell in the midst of a shower of rain.  Afterwards less memorable prodigies were also given credence: that certain folk had found their goats to have got woolly fleeces; that a hen had changed into a cock and a cock into a hen.

When the consul had laid these reports before the senate exactly as they had come to him and had introduced into the House the men who vouched for their truth, he consulted the Fathers regarding their religious import.  It was voted that these prodigies should be expiated, in part with greater, in part with lesser victims, and that a supplication should be held for three days at all the couches of the gods;  as for the rest, when the decemvirs should have inspected the Books, such rites were to be observed as they should declare, in accordance with the sacred verses, to be pleasing to the gods. Being so admonished by the decemvirs, they decreed that the first gift should be made to Jupiter, a golden thunderbolt weighing fifty pounds; and that Juno and Minerva should be given offerings of silver;  that Juno Regina on the Aventine and Juno Sospita at Lanuvium should receive a sacrifice of greater victims, and that the matrons, each contributing as much as she could afford, should make up a sum of money and carry it as a gift to Juno Regina on the Aventine and there celebrate a lectisternium ; and that even the very freed-women should contribute money, in proportion to their abilities, for an offering to Feronia. These measures being taken, the decemvirs sacrificed at Ardea in the market-place with the greater victims. Finally-the month was now December —victims were slain at the temple of Saturn in Rome and a lectisternium was ordered-this time senators administered the rite—and  a public feast, and throughout the City for a day and a night “Saturnalia” was cried, and the people were bidden to keep that day as a holiday and observe it in perpetuity. (Translation by Benjamin Oliver Foster)

augebant metum prodigia ex pluribus simul locis nuntiata: in Sicilia militibus aliquot spicula, in Sardinia autem in muro circumeunti vigilias equiti scipionem quem manu tenuerat arsisse, et litora crebris ignibus fulsisse, et scuta duo sanguine sudasse, et milites quosdam ictos fulminibus,  et solis orbem minui visum, et Praeneste ardentes lapides caelo cecidisse, et Arpis parmas in caelo visas pugnantemque cum luna solem,  et Capenae duas interdiu lunas ortas, et aquas Caeretes sanguine mixtas fluxisse fontemque ipsum Herculis cruentis manasse respersum maculis, et Antii metentibus cruentas in corbem spicas cecidisse,  et Faleriis caelum findi velut magno hiatu visum, quaque patuerit ingens lumen effulsisse; sortes adtenuatas unamque sua  sponte excidisse ita scriptam: “mavors telum suum concutit;”  et per idem tempus Romae signum Martis Appia via ac simulacra luporum sudasse, et Capuae speciem caeli ardentis fuisse lunaeque inter imbrem cadentis.  inde minoribus etiam dictu prodigiis fides habitat: capras lanatas quibusdam factas, et gallinam in marem, gallum in feminam sese vertisse.
his sicut erant nuntiata expositis auctoribusque in curiam introductis consul de religione patres consuluit. decretum ut ea prodigia partim maioribus hostiis, partim lactentibus procurarentur, et uti supplicatio per triduum ad omnia pulvinaria haberetur; cetera,  cum decemviri libros inspexissent, ut ita fierent quem ad modum cordi esse divis e carminibus praefarentur.  decemvirorum monitu decretum est Iovi primum donum fulmen aureum pondo quinquaginta fieret et Iunoni Minervaeque ex argento dona darentur et Iunoni reginae in Aventino Iunonique Sospitae Lanuvii maioribus hostiis sacrificaretur matronaeque pecunia conlata,  quantum conferre cuique commodum esset, donum Iunoni reginae in Aventinum ferrent lectisterniumque fieret, et ut libertinae et ipsae, unde Feroniae  donum daretur, pecuniam pro facultatibus suis conferrent.
haec ubi facta, decemviri Ardeae in foro maioribus hostiis sacrificarunt. postremo Decembri iam mense ad aedem Saturni Romae immolatum est lectisterniumque imperatum—eum lectum senatores straverunt—et convivium publicum,  ac per urbem Saturnalia diem ac noctem clamata, populusque eum diem festum habere ac servare in perpetuum iussus.

Another example of various prodigies:

Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, The History of Rome, Book 24,10, 6

After enlisting the city legions and raising troops to make up the numbers of the others, the consuls, before they quitted the city, expiated the prodigies which were reported.  Prodigies in large numbers —and the more they were believed by men simple and devout, the more of them used to be reported —were reported that year: that at Lanuvium ravens had made a nest inside the temple of Juno Sospita; that in Apulia a green palm took fire; that at Mantua a lake, the overflow of the river Mincius, appeared bloody;  and at Cales it rained chalk, and at Rome in the Cattle Market blood; and that on the Vicus Insteius an underground spring flowed with such a volume of water that the force of a torrent, as it were, overturned the jars, great and small, that were there and carried them along;  that the Atrium Publicum on the Capitol, the temple of Vulcan in the Campus, that of Vacuna and a public street in the Sabine country, the wall and a gate at Gabii were struck by lightning. Moreover other marvels were widely circulated: that the spear of Mars at Praeneste moved of itself; that an ox in Sicily spoke; that among the Marrucini an infant in its mother's womb shouted “Hail, triumph!”;  that at Spoletium a woman was changed into a man; that at Hadria an altar was seen in the sky, and about it the forms of men in white garments.  In fact at Rome also, actually in the city, directly after the appearance of a swarm of bees in the Forum —a wonder because it is rare —certain men, asserting that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum, aroused the city to arms, whereas those who were on the Janiculum denied that anyone had been seen there except the usual dwellers on that hill.  Atonement was made for these prodigies with full-grown victims on the advice of the soothsayers, and a season of prayer to all the gods who had festal couches at Rome was proclaimed. (Translated by Frank Gardener Moore).

prodigia eo anno multa nuntiata sunt, quae quo magis credebant simplices ac religiosi homines, eo plura nuntiabantur: Lanuvi in aede intus Sospitae Iunonis corvos nidum fecisse;  in Apulia palmam viridem arsisse; Mantuae stagnum effusum Mincio amni cruentum visum; et Calibus creta et Romae in foro bovario sanguine pluvisse;  et in vico Insteio fontem sub terra tanta vi aquarum fluxisse ut serias doliaque quae in eo loco erant provoluta velut impetus torrentis tulerit;  tacta de caelo atrium publicum in Capitolio, aedem in campo Volcani, Vacunae in Sabinis publicamque viam, murum ac portam Gabiis.  iam alia vulgata miracula erant:  hastam Martis Praeneste sua sponte promotam; bovem in Sicilia locutum; infantem in utero matris in Marrucinis “io triumphe” clamasse; ex muliere Spoleti virum factum; Hadriae aram in caelo speciesque hominum circum eam cum candida veste visas esse.  quin Romae quoque in ipsa urbe, secundum apum examen in foro visum—quod mirabile est, quia rarum—adfirmantes quidam legiones se armatas in Ianiculo videre concitaverunt civitatem ad arma,  cum qui in Ianiculo essent negarent quemquam ibi praeter adsuetos collis eius cultores adparuisse.  haec prodigia hostiis maioribus procurata sunt ex haruspicum responso, et supplicatio omnibus deis quorum pulvinaria Romae essent indicta est.

List and incomplete classification of the prodigies appeared in the work of  Livy:

Celestial
     - Sun eclipses: 7,28,7 / 30,38,8 / 37,4,4 / 38,36,4
     - Moon eclipses: 44,37,8-9 / 26,5,9
     - Plurality of suns, moons, etc .: 28,11,3 / 29,14,3 / 41,21,12 / 22,1,9 / 22/1/10 / 30,38,8 / 30,2  , 11-12 / 38,36,4
     - Blood color sun: 25,7,8 / 31,12,5
     - Other celestial prodigies:
     - Sky that burns: 3,9,14 / 3,10,6 / 7,28,7 / 22,1,12 / 30,2,12 / 31,12,5 / 32,9,3 / 39,22 ,3/
     - Huge torch burning: 30,2,12 / 43,13,3 / 45,16,5
     - Figure of ships burning in the sky: 21,62,4 / 42,2,4 /
     - Shields flying through the air: 22,1,9
     - The sun struggling with the moon: 22,1,9 /
     - The torn sky and a great light shining: 22,1,11 /
     - The moon falling in the rain: 22,1,12
     -  A huge stone flying: 23,7,8
     -  Appearance of light at night: 28,11,3 / 29,14,3 / 32,29,2 /
     -  Rainy earth, Stone falling from the sky: 41,9,5 /
- Seismic movements: 3,10,6 /
     - Storms: 2,62,2 / 26,11,2 / 40,58,6 /
     - Rays: Luterbacher says , collected by Jose Jiménez Delgado in Helmántica, 12, 1961, that 28 rays fell in the temples, 18 in walls, 3 in statues, besides those that fall in men, animals, plants, inanimate beings. Some examples: 1,3,9 (to Rómulo) / 10,31,8 / 22,1,8 / 25,7,8 / 27,7,7 / 27,11,12 / 27,2,2 / 27 / 37.2 / 24,10,9 / 24,44,7 / 27,37,2 / 32,1,10 / 32,9,2 / 36,37,3 / 27,23,3 / 37, 37.2 / 28.11 / 28.11 / 32.1.10 / 32.29.1 / 40.2.4 / 45.16.5 / 21.62.4 / 25.7, 7 / 27,11,2 / 24,10,9 / 42,20,1 / 32,9,2 / 26,23,4 / 33,26,8 / 42,20,1 / 27,4,11 / 30.38,9 / 41,13,1 / 27,37,2 / 22,1,8 / 24,44,8 / 26,223,5 / 27,11,2 / 27,23,3 / 29,14, 3 / 30,38.9 / 35,21,4 / 37,3,2 / 45,16,5 / 25,7,8 / 32,9,2 / 32,29,2 / 36,37,3 / 32.1,12 / 35,9,3 / 45,16,5 / 30,38,9 / 36,37,3 / 42,20,5 /
     -  prodigious rains: earth 10,1,8 / 34,45,6-7 / burning stones 22,1,9 / stones 25,7,7 / 39,22,3 / 37,3,2 / 27,11, 5 / blood 34,45,6-7 / 39,46,5 / 42,20,5 / 24,10,7 / meat 3,10,6 / lime 24,10,7 / Milk 27,11,5 /
    - Others  7, 28/ 10, 31/ 21, 62/ 22, 36/ 23, 31/ 26, 23/ 27, 32/ 29, 10/ 29, 14/ 35, 21/ 37, 3/ 39, 56/  40, 19/ 42, 2/ 43, 15/ 44, 18/ 45, 16.
 Many others less frequent or important

 Terrestrial
     - Blood in sources and rivers: 22,1,10 / 24,10,7 / 24,44,8 / 27,11,3 / 27,23,4 / 27,37,3 / 45,16,5 /
     - Images that are crying or sweating: 22,1,12 / 22,36,7 / 23,31,15 / 27,4,14 / 28,11,4 / 40,19,2 / 43,13,4 /
     - Sacred forests: 27,4,12-14 / 27,37,2 / 41,9,4 /
     - Bee swarm: 21,46,1 / 24,10,11 / 27,23,2 / 35,9,4 /
     - Presence of wolves: 3,29,6-9 / 10,27,8 / 21,46,1 / 21,62,5 / 27,37,3 / 32,29,2 /  
          33,26,9 /
     - Snakes: 1.56,4 / 7.17,3 / 25,16,2 / 26,19,7 / 27,4,13 / 28,11,2 / 41,9,6 / 
         41,21,13 / 43.13
     - Birds of good and bad omen: 10,40,14 / 21,62,4 / 22,1,13 / 24,10,6 / 27,4,12 /
       30,2,9 /
     - Flames and mysterious auras: the head of Servius Tullius burns 1,39,1 / 
       inflamed darts 22,1,8 / inflamed palm 24,10,7 / head on fire 25,39,16 / head 
       of Vulcan 34,45, 7 /
     - Bleeding ears: 22,1,10 / 28,11,2 /
     - Bleeding shields: 25,39,10 /
     - Mice gnawing gold of the temple: 27,23,2

Monstrosities
     -  Androgynous: 27,11,4 / without sex 27,37,5 / 31,12,6 /
     -  Children without eyes and nose and hands: 35,21,3
     -  Monstrous animals
     -  Goats with wool: 22,113 /
     -  Cow that stops a foal: 23,31,15 /
     -  Pork with two heads: 28,11,3 / pork with human face: 27,4,14 / 32,9,3 /
     -  A lamb is born with an udder full of milk: 27,4,11 /
     -  In Reate a mule gave birth 26,23,5
     -  Lamb male and female at the same time: 28,11,3 /
     -  Lamb with two heads: 32,9,3 /
     -  Colt with five legs: 31,12,7 / 32,1,11 /
      - Three chickens with three legs each: 32,1,11 / one dick with wool,  Goat that stops six kids: 35,21,3 /
      -  Mule that stops: 37,3,3 / Mule with three legs: 40,45,5 / 42,20,5 /
      -  Asses with sturdy legs: 42,20,5
      -  Speaking animals: A talking cow: 3,10,6 / 43,13,3 / 27,11,4 / 28,11,4 / 35,21,4 /
            - Talking children: six months: 21,62,2 / in the womb of his mother: 24,10,10 /
            - Ox that climbs to the third floor and is thrown from it / 21,62,3 / oxen that go up to the roof: 36,37,2 /
           - Fecundated bronze cow: 41,13,2
     -  mysterious voices: huge voice: 1,31,3 / 2,7,2 / more than human: 5,32,6 / 6,33,5 /
     -  Visions, dreams: Hannibal's dream: 21,22,6 /

If any reader of this blog believed that the miracles were own and exclusive of his own belief, he was very wrong: once again "Nihil novum sub sole".

The remaining texts announced remain for another article ..

   
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