Geographical sites:

  • Etna (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #462077)
    Pleiades_icon Aetna M. mountain Geocontext: Mt. Etna
    Description: An active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily (known today as Mount Etna).
  • Praeneste (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #423013)
    Pleiades_icon Praeneste urban, settlement, temple, cave Description: An ancient city of central Italy, the eighth and seventh century B.C. origins of which demonstrate high level trade contact with the Eastern Mediterranean world. The city withdrew from the Latin League (499 BC) and opposed Rome in the Latin war; Cincinnatus eventually subdued Praeneste. Sulla founded a new colony there in the first century B.C.
  • Cephallenia (click here to focus in map) (see also GeoNames #260311)
    Geonames_icon Kefalonia Island island Geocontext: Europe/Athens


Text #2764

Obsequens. "A Book of Prodigies After the 505th year of Rome"


23.Q. Caepione C. Laelio coss. AUC 614/140 BC

At Praeneste and in Cephallenia standards were seen to have fallen from the sky. Mount Etna overflowed with fire. The prodigy was expiated with forty greater victims. The year was peaceful after the defeat of Viriathus.

Text #9446

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

The description of objects falling from the sky that looked like standards suggests a rain of fireballs with smoky tails.

The Roman Standard (Latin: Signum or Signa Romanum) was a pennant, flag, or banner, suspended or attached to a staff or pole, which identified a Roman legion. The Standard of a cavalry unit was emblazoned with the symbol of the serpent (Draconarius) while a legion of infantry was represented by a totemic animal. The most famous of these is the eagle (Aquila) but there were also legions identified by the boar, the wolf, the horse, and minotaur. See:

The location of the falling objects was too far from Etna to have been ejecta from the volcano.

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