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Besides these, we learn from certain monuments, that from the lower part of the atmosphere2 it rained milk and blood, in the consulship of M'Acilius and C. Porcius, and frequently at other times3. This was the case with respect to flesh, in the consulship of P. Volumnius and Servius Sulpicius, and it is said, that what was not devoured by the birds did not become putrid. It also rained iron among the Lucanians, the year before Crassus was slain by the Parthians, as well as all the Lucanian soldiers, of whom there was a great number in this army. The substance which fell had very much the appearance of sponge4; the augurs warned the people against wounds that might come from above. In the consulship of L. Paulus and C. Marcellus it rained wool, round the castle of Carissanum, near which place, a year after, T. Annius Milo was killed. It is recorded, among the transactions of that year, that when he was pleading his own cause, there was a shower of baked tiles.

1 There is strong evidence for the fact, that, at different times, various substances have fallen from the atmosphere, sometimes apparently of mineral, and, at other times, of animal or vegetable origin. Some of these are now referred to those peculiar bodies termed aërolites, the nature and source of which are still doubtful, although their existence is no longer so. These bodies have, in other instances, been evidently discharged from distant volcanoes, but there are many cases where the substance could not be supposed to have proceeded from a volcano, and where, in the present state of our knowledge, it appears impossible to offer an explanation of their nature, or the source whence they are derived. We may, however, conclude, that notwithstanding the actual occurrence of a few cases of this description, a great proportion of those enumerated by the ancients were either entirely without foundation or much exaggerated. We meet with several variations of what we may presume to have been aërolites in Livy; for example, xxiv. 10, xxx. 38, xli. 9, xliii. 13, and xliv. 18, among many others. As naturally may be expected, we have many narratives of this kind in Jul. Obsequens.

2 The same region from which lightning was supposed to proceed.

3 We have several relations of this kind in Livy, xxiv. 10, xxxix. 46 and 56, xl. 19, and xliii. 13. The red snow which exists in certain alpine regions, and is found to depend upon the presence of the Uredo nivalis, was formerly attributed to showers of blood.

4 This occurrence may probably be referred to an aërolite, while the wool mentioned below, i.e. a light flocculent substance, was perhaps volcanic.

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