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Text #1663

Pliny. Natural History. Vol. 1
[Plin. Nat. 2.26. Translated by John Bostock and H. T. Riley. George Bell and Sons. 1900. (6 Vols.) p. 241]


Other similar meteoric lights are ‘beams,’ in Greek dokoi, for example one that appeared when the Spartans were defeated at sea and lost the empire of Greece. There also occurs a yawning of the actual sky, called chasma, XXVII and also something that looks like blood, and a fire that falls from it to the earth – the most alarming possible cause of terror to mankind; as happened in the third year of the 107th Olympiad,(349 BC) when King Philip was throwing Greece into disturbance. My own view is that these occurrences take place at fixed dates owing to natural forces, like all other events, and not, as most people think, from the variety of causes invented by the cleverness of human intellects; it is true that they were the harbingers of enormous misfortunes, but I hold that those did not happen because the marvelous occurrences took place but that these took place because the misfortunes were going to occur, only the reason for their occurrence is concealed by their rarity, and consequently is not understood as are the risings and setting of the planets described above and many other phenomena.

Text #9127

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

The description suggests auroral displays.

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