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We have accounts of many different kinds of thunder-storms. Those which are dry do not burn objects, but dissipate them; while those which are moist do not burn, but blacken them. There is a third kind, which is called bright lightning2, of a very wonderful nature, by which casks are emptied, without the vessels themselves being injured, or there being any other trace left of their operation3. Gold, copper, and silver are melted, while the bags which contain them are not in the least burned, nor even the wax seal much defaced. Marcia, a lady of high rank at Rome, was struck while pregnant; the fœtus was destroyed, while she herself survived without suffering any injury4. Among the prognostics which took place at the time of Catiline's conspiracy, M. Herennius, a magistrate of the borough of Pompeii, was struck by lightning when the sky was without clouds5.

1 "fulgur." The account of the different kinds of thunder seems to be principally taken from Aristotle; Meteor. iii. 1. Some of the phænomena mentioned below, which would naturally appear to the ancients the most remarkable, are easily explained by a reference to their electrical origin.

2 "quod clarum vocant."

3 This account seems to be taken from Aristotle, Meteor. iii 1. p. 574; see also Seneca, Nat. Quest. ii. 31. p. 711. We have an account of the peculiar effects of thunder in Lucretius, vi. 227 et seq.

4 This effect may be easily explained by the agitation into which the female might have been thrown. The title of "princeps Romanarum," which is applied to Marcia, has given rise to some discussion among the commentators, for which see the remarks of Hardouin and Alexandre, in Lemaire, i. 348.

5 Sometimes a partial thunder-cloud is formed, while the atmosphere generally is perfectly clear, or, as Hardouin suggests, the effect might have been produced by a volcanic eruption. See Lemaire, i. 348.

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