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A great prodigy of the earth, which never happened more than once, I have found mentioned in the books of the Etruscan ceremonies, as having taken place in the district of Mutina, during the consulship of Lucius Martius and Sextus Julius1. Two mountains rushed together, falling upon each other with a very loud crash, and then receding; while in the daytime flame and smoke issued from them; a great crowd of Roman knights, and families of people, and travellers on the Æmilian way, being spectators of it. All the farm-houses were thrown down by the shock, and a great number of animals that were in them were killed; it was in the year before the Social war; and I am in doubt whether this event or the civil commotions were more fatal to the territory of Italy. The prodigy which happened in our own age was no less wonderful; in the last year of the emperor Nero2, as I have related in my history of his times3, when certain fields and olive grounds in the district of Marrucinum, belonging to Vectius Marcellus, a Roman knight, the steward of Nero, changed places with each other4, although the public highway was interposed.

1 In the year of the city 663; A.C. 90.

2 In the year of the city 821; A.D. 68.

3 The continuation of Aufidius Bassus' history; our author refers to it in the first book.

4 We have no authentic accounts of this mutual change of place between two portions of land, nor can we conceive of any cause capable of effecting it. Our author mentions this circumstance again in book xvii. ch. 38.

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