Text #1680

Pliny. Natural History. Series: Natural History. Vol. 1
[Plin. Nat. 2.51. Translated by H. Rackham. Harvard University Press. 1938. (10 Vols.) p. 275]

Of thunderbolts themselves several varieties are reported. Those that come with a dry flash do not cause a fire but an explosion. The smoky ones do not burn but blacken. There is a third sort called ‘bright thunderbolts,’ of an extremely remarkable nature: this kind drains casks dry without damaging their lids and without leaving any other trace, and melts gold and copper and silver in their bags without singeing the bags themselves at all, and even without melting the wax seal. Marcia, a lady of high station at Rome, was struck when pregnant, and though the child was killed, she herself survived without being otherwise injured. Among the portents in connexion with Catiline, a town-councillor of Pompei named Marcus Herennius was struck by a thunderbolt on a fine day.

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