Julius Obsequens, On Prodigies

Julius Obsequens, On Prodigies, roughly retranslated from the Latin Library text by Brady Kiesling (borrowing heavily from the translation made by Napthali Lewis (1911-2005) in his The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity (1976) and that of Alex T. Nice at http://www.alexthenice.com/obsequens/text/text.html). A list of marvels illustrative of old-fashioned Roman religiosity gleaned from a mostly lost summary of Livy. No restriction is placed on its reuse, but no warranty is offered as to accuracy or readability. This text has 301 tagged references to 143 ancient places.
CTS URN: urn:cts:latinLit:stoa0214.stoa001; Wikidata ID: Q87771448; Trismegistos: authorwork/6028     [Open Latin text in new tab]

§ 1  L. Scipio, C. Laelius consuls [A.U.C. 564]
The temple of Juno Lucina was struck by a lightning bolt so as to deform the pediment and the doors. Many thunderbolts hit nearby. At Nursia a downpour from a calm sky drowned two men. It rained earth at Tusculum. A she-mule gave birth at Reate. A supplication was held using ten boys with living fathers and mothers, and the same number of virgins.

Event Date: -190 LA

§ 2  M. Messala, C. Livius consuls [A.U.C. 566]
There was light between the third and fourth hour of the night. In the Aventine a rain of stones was expiated with a nine-day ritual. In Spain military affairs prospered.

Event Date: -188 LA

§ 3  Sp. Postumius Albinus, Q. Marcius Philippus consuls] [A.U.C. 568]
A nine-day ritual was held because in Picenum it rained stones and celestial fires raised in many places with a light wind, scorched the clothing of many. The temple of Jove in the Capitolium was hit by a lightning bolt. In Umbria a semi-male (hermaphrodite) almost twelve years old was found and killed by order of the haruspices. The Gauls who crossed the Alps into Italy were ejected without battle.

Event Date: -186 LA

§ 4  M. Claudius, Q. Fabius Labeo consuls [A.U.C. 571]
There was a rain of blood for two days in the precinct of Vulcan, and for the same length of time in the precinct of Concord. Off Sicily, a new island in the sea arose. Hannibal died of poison in Bithynia. The Celtiberians were overcome.

Event Date: -183 LA

§ 5  L. Aemilius Paulus, Cn. Baebius Tamphilus consuls [A.U.C. 572]
A violent tempest damaged the City and threw down bronze statues in the Capitolium, and tipped over statues with their columns in the Circus Maximus, and smashed the pediment of several temples, breaking them from the roof. A three-legged mule was born in Reate. The temple of Apollo at Caieta was struck by a lightning bolt.

Event Date: -182 LA

§ 6  P. Cornelius Cethegus, M. Baebius Tamphilus consuls [A.U.C. 573]
In the piazza of Vulcan and Concordia it rained blood. The spears of Mars were moved. At Lanuvium the image of Juno Sospita wept. The funeral offerings (Libitina) did not suffice for a pestilence. From the Sibylline books there was a supplication, since it had not rained in six months. The Ligurians were defeated in battle and destroyed.

Event Date: -181 LA

§ 7  Quintus Fulvius, Lucius Manlius consuls [179 B.C.]
A succession of storms threw down several statues on the Capitol. A great amount of damage was done by lightning in Rome and round about. At the banquet spread for Jupiter, the heads of the gods turned about during an earthquake; the platter with its lids which was placed before Jupiter fell down. Mice nibbled the olives on the table.

Event Date: -179 LA

§ 8  M. Iunius, A. Manlius consuls [A.U.C. 576]
Many things were destroyed by a fire near the Forum, and the temple of Venus was consumed leaving no trace. The fire went out in the inner chambers of Vesta. A virgin denied it would ever go out again, but was flogged to death by order of M. Aemilius the Pontifex Maximus.

Event Date: -178 LA

§ 8a  C. Claudius, Ti. Sempronius Gracchus consuls [A.U.C. 577]

Event Date: -177 LA

§ 9  Cn. Cornelius, Q. Petillius consuls [A.U.C. 578]
While the consuls were immolating the victims the liver disappeared. Cornelius returning from the Alban Mount died at the Aquae Cumanae, seized in his limbs; Petilius was slain fighting against the Ligurians.

Event Date: -176 LA

§ 10  M. Lepidus, Q. Mucius consuls [A.U.C. 579]
During a grave pestilence the funerary offerings (Libitina) were insufficient and the bodies of men and cattle were lying there, but no vulture appeared. The Celtiberians were destroyed.

Event Date: -175 LA

§ 11  Q. Aelius Paetus, M. Iunius consuls [A.U.C. 587]
At Rome several places, both consecrated and common, were struck by lightning. At Anagnia there was a shower of earth. At Lanuvium a blazing meteor was seen in the sky. At Calatia on land owned by the state blood trickled for three days and two nights. King Gentius of Illyricum and King Perseus of Macedonia were conquered.

Event Date: -167 LA

§ 12  M. Marcellus, C. Sulpicius consuls [A.U.C. 588]
In Campania it rained earth in many places. In Praenestine territory showers of blood fell. At Veii wool sprouted from trees. At Terracina in the temple of Minerva, three women, who were seated working, were killed [by lightning]. At the grove of Libitina water poured for a long time from the mouth and foot of a bronze equestrian statue. The Ligurian Gauls were destroyed. The comitia became too demanding and because of this the senate was held in the Capitolium, a kite dropped a weasel snatched up from the cella of Jupiter into the middle of the senators' meeting. Around the same time the temple of Salus was hit from the sky. On the Quirinal hill blood drenched the earth. At Lanuvium a torch was seen in the night sky. Many places at Casinum were struck by lightning and the sun was seen at night for some hours. At Teanum Sidicinum a boy with four hands and the same number of feet was born. After the city had been lustrated there was peace at home and abroad.

Event Date: -166 LA

§ 13  Cn. Octavius, T. Manlius consuls [A.U.C. 589]
Afflicted with pestilence and famine, after consulting the Sibylline Books the people sat down around the cross-roads and shrines to observe religious rites. In the temple of the Penates at night the doors opened of their own accord, and wolves appeared on the Esquiline and on the Quirinal hill at midday and were driven off. After the city had been lustrated nothing bad occurred.

Event Date: -165 LA

§ 14  Ti. Gracchus, M'. Iuventinus consuls [A.U.C. 591]
At Capua the sun was seen at night. In the territory of Stellate part of a flock of wethers was killed by lightning. At Terracina triplet boys were born. At Formiae two suns were seen during the day. The sky blazed with fire. At Antium a man was burnt by a beam from a mirror. At Gabii it rained milk. On the Palatium many places were hit by lightning. In the Temple of Victory a swan slipped through the hands of its captors and escaped. At Privernum a girl was born without a hand. In Cephallenia a trumpet seemed to sound in the sky. It rained earth. A tempestuous storm destroyed buildings and damaged the fields. It thundered frequently. At night at Pisaurum an image of the sun shone forth. At Caere a pig was born with human hands and feet, and boys with four legs and four arms. In the forum of Aesum an ox was not harmed by flames that came from its mouth.

Event Date: -163 LA

§ 15  P. Scipio Nasica, C. Marcius consuls [A.U.C. 592]
At Anagnia the sky blazed with fire at night. Many places were shattered by lightning. At Frusino a cow spoke. At Reate a mule was born with three legs. Cn. Octavius, legate in Syria, was killed in a gymnasium by Lysias, tutor of the boy Antiochus.

Event Date: -162 LA

§ 16  L. Lentulus, C. Marcius consuls [A.U.C. 598]
A violent storm on the Capitol shook the temple of Jupiter and all the places around . The building of the Pontifex Maximus with its columns collapsed into the Tiber. In the Circus Flaminius the portico between the temple of Juno Regina and the temple of Fortuna was struck, and around it several buildings were destroyed. A bull when it was being led to its sacrifice, fell down because of this. The Dalmatian Scordisci were overcome.

Event Date: -156 LA

§ 17  Q. Opimius, L. Postumius consuls [A.U.C. 600]
As he was setting out for his province the consul Postumius when sacrificing did not find the lobe of the liver in several victims. And on the seventh day after he set out it was reported in Rome that he died of sickness. At Compsa weapons were seen flying in the sky. Many places were struck by lightning. The Romans were greatly troubled in war by the Gauls and Lusitanians.

Event Date: -154 LA

§ 18  M. Claudius Marcellus, L. Valerio Flaccus consuls [A.U.C. 602]
Through the force of a whirlwind in the Campus the column in front of the temple of Jove was toppled with its gilded statue; and when the haruspices responded that there would be deaths of magistrates and priests, all the magistrates resigned immediately. Because it had rained stones at Aricia, a supplication was held, and also because in many places at Rome there appeared visions of toga wearing men that deceived the eyes of those approaching them. In Lusitania the fighting had mixed results, while in Gaul it went well.

Event Date: -152 LA

§ 19  Spurius Postumius, L. Piso consuls [A.U.C. 606]
After a large fire at Rome when the Regia was also burnt, the sanctuary and one of the two laurel trees remained intact in the middle of the flames. The False Philip was defeated.

Event Date: -148 LA

§ 20  P. Africanus, C. Livius consuls [A.U.C. 607]
At Amiternum a boy with three feet and one hand was born. At Rome and around many places were struck by lightning. At Caere the land flowed with a river of blood and at night the sky and earth seemed to be on fire. At Frusino mice gnawed the sacred gold. At Lanuvium between the third and fifth hour two bicolored circles surrounded the sun, the one with a red line, the other with a white one. A star blazed for thirty two days. * * and when Carthage was besieged, because of the cruelty inflicted on the Roman captives by Hasdrubal in the barbarian manner, Carthage was razed by Aemilianus.

Event Date: -147 LA

§ 21  Appius Claudius, Q. Metellus consuls [A.U.C. 611]
At Amiternum a boy was born with three legs. At Caura streams of blood flowed from the earth. When a defeat was inflicted on the Romans by the Salassians, the decemviri pronounced that they had found in the Sibylline books that whenever war was to be waged against the Gauls they ought to sacrifice inside the borders.

Event Date: -143 LA

§ 22  L. Metellus, Q. Fabius Maximus consuls [A.U.C. 612]
Since there was famine and pestilence, a supplication was conducted by the decemviri. At Luna a hermaphrodite was born and on the orders of the haruspices was carried down to the sea. The plague was so great amongst the Lunenses, that there were corpses lying everywhere in public and there were insufficient people to make the funeral arrangements. In Macedonia the Roman army was hard pressed in battle. Against Viriathus the army fought with varying fortune.

Event Date: -142 LA

§ 23  P. Caepio, C. Laelius consuls [A.U.C. 614]
At Praeneste and in Cephallenia standards were seen to have fallen from the sky. Mount Aetna overflowed with fire. The prodigy was expiated with forty greater victims. The year was peaceful after the defeat of Viriathus.

Event Date: -140 LA

§ 24  M. Aemilius, C. Hostilius Mancinus consuls [A.U.C. 617]
When they were taking the auspices at Lavinium, the chickens flew from their coops into the Laurentine wood and could not be found. At Praeneste a blazing torch was seen in the sky, and it thundered on a calm day. At Terracina the praetor M. Claudius caught fire from a thunderbolt on his ship. The Fucine lake overflowed for almost five thousand paces in all directions. In the Graecostasis and the Comitium it flowed with blood. On the Esquiline a foal was born with five legs . Many places were hit by lightning. The consul Hostilius Mancinus at the port of Hercules when he had embarked on his ship for Numantia, heard an unexpected voice: “Stay, Mancinus.” When he had left and afterwards embarked on a ship at Genua, a snake was found on the ship and escaped from his hands. The consul himself was defeated, then handed over to the Numantines.

Event Date: -137 LA

§ 25  L. Furius, S. Atilius Serranus consuls [A.U.C. 618]
Almost all of Rhegium was consumed by a fire without any trace of human crime or negligence. A boy was born of a servant with four feet, hands, eyes, ears, and double private parts. At Puteoli in the hot springs the banks flowed with blood. Several places were hit by lightning bolts. The boy was burned by order of the haruspices and his ashes thrown in the sea. A Roman army was slaughtered by the Vaccaei.

Event Date: -136 LA

§ 26  Ser. Flaccus, Q. Calpurnius consuls [A.U.C. 619]
Mt. Aetna burned with larger fires than usual. At Rome a boy was born solid in his posterior part. At Bononia field produce sprouted in trees. The voice of an owl was heard first in the Capitolium and then around the city. After a reward was posted, the bird was captured by a fowler and burnt. Its ashes were scattered in the Tiber. A cow spoke. In the Numantine area things were badly handled and a Roman army suffered.

Event Date: -135 LA

§ 27  P. Africanus, C. Fulvius consuls [A.U.C. 620]
Consulship of Publius Africanus and Gaius Fulvius: In Amiternum the sun was seen by night, and its light appeared for some length of time. An ox spoke, and was maintained at the public charge. There was a rain of blood. At Anagnia the tunic of a slave blazed up, and when the fire had died out no trace of flame was visible. On the Capitol at night a bird uttered groans which sounded human. In the temple of Queen Juno a Ligurian shield was struck by lightning. Runaway slaves began a war in Sicily, after a conspiracy of slaves in Italy had been crushed.

Event Date: -134 LA

§ 27a  P. Mucius, L. Piso consuls [A.U.C. 621]
Tiberius Gracchus . . . was killed while offering legislation. It is handed down that Tiberius Gracchus, on the day he died, ignored bad omens, when dire things were portended as he sacrificed at home and in the Capitolium, and when he was leaving his house he hit the big toe of his left foot on the threshold, and crows dropped a fragment of tile from the eaves in front of his feet. In the Roman lake the banks flowed with milk. At Luna an area of four iugera sank deep and gave back a lake from the cave. It rained earth at Ardea. At Minturnae a wolf mangled a watchman and escaped in the uproar. At Rome an owl and another unknown bird were seen. In the temple of Queen Juno the voice of a baby was heard after the doors had been shut for two days. Shields were spattered with fresh blood. A girl was born with four legs. In the Ferentine territory a hermaphrodite was born and thrown in the river. Three nines of singing virgins lustrated the city.

Event Date: -133 LA

§ 27b  P. Popillius, P. Rupilius consuls [A.U.C. 622]
In Italy many thousands of slaves who had been conspiring were caught with difficulty and eliminated with torture. In Sicily fugitives killed Roman armies. Numantia was destroyed.

Event Date: -132 LA

§ 28  Ap. Claudius, M. Perperna consuls [A.U.C. 624]
At Reate a mule was born with five feet. At Rome it rained milk in the Graecostasis. A wolf and a dog fighting at Hostia were killed by lightning. In Apulia a flock of sheep was killed by lightning. A praetor of the Roman people was killed by a single lightning strike. At Terracina under a clear sky the sail of a ship was blown into the sea, and fire destroyed all the materials that were there. Publius Crassus was killed in the fighting against Aristonicus. A statue of Apollo shed tears for four days; according to the soothsayers this portended the destruction of Greece, whence the god had been brought; then sacrifice was offered by the Romans and gifts were placed in the temple. Phrygia was recovered and Asia was bequeathed to Rome in Attalus's will. Swallows built a nest in the tent of King Antiochos of Syria, who was in the field with a huge army; he ignored the omen, joined battle, and was killed by the Parthians.

Event Date: -130 LA

§ 28a  C. Sempronius, M'. Aquilius consuls [A.U.C. 625]
. . . M. Fulvius Flaccus triumvir . . . discord in making laws . . . Two black snakes slipped into the cella of Minerva, portending civil slaughter.

Event Date: -129 LA

§ 29  M. Aemilius, L. Aurelius consuls [A.U.C. 628]
Several temples on the Capitol were shaken by a storm at night. At Rome and nearby many buildings were demolished by lightning. Mt. Aetna through an earthquake spread fires far and wide above its summit; at the Liparan Islands the sea boiled and the heat burned up some ships and killed many sailors with the steam. It scattered a great quantity of dead fish, which poisoned the stomachs of the Liparitans, who greedily scooped them up and feasted on them, so the islands were devastated by a new plague. According to the interpretation of the seers this prodigy portended civil unrest, which did in fact occur thereafter.

Event Date: -126 LA

§ 30  M. Plautius, M. Fulvius consuls [A.U.C. 629]
Grain sprouted on trees. In the region of Veii it rained oil and milk. An owl was seen in the Capitolium. At Arpi a rain of stones fell for three days. A huge army of locusts appeared in Africa; blown out to sea by the wind, they were washed by the waves at Cyrene where their unbearable smell and deadly vapor spread a pestilence among the cattle; it is reported that 800,000 people also died of the disease. Fregellae, which had conspired against the Romans, was razed. The Sallyes of Liguria were slaughtered.

Event Date: -125 LA

§ 31  C. Cassius Longinus, C. Sextius consuls [A.U.C. 630]
In the Graecostasis it rained milk. At Croton a flock of sheep was killed by lightning together with its watchdog and three shepherds. At Satura a two-headed calf was born. There was rioting in the city when Gaius Gracchus introduced his legislative program.

Event Date: -124 LA

§ 32  Cn. Domitius, C. Fannius consuls [A.U.C. 632]
At Forum Vessanum a hermaphrodite was born and cast into the sea. In Gaul three suns and three moons were seen. A two-headed calf was born. An owl was seen on the Capitol. Catina was destroyed by fire from Aetna. The Sallyes and the Allobroges were defeated.

Event Date: -122 LA

§ 33  L. Opimius, Q. Fabius Maximus consuls [A.U.C. 633]
A pack of wolves scattered the boundary markers that had been placed by Gaius Gracchus in the distribution of lands. Gracchus himself was killed on the Aventine Hill.

Event Date: -121 LA

§ 34  L. Aurelius Cotta, L. Caecilius consuls [A.U.C. 635]
An eight year old hermaphrodite was found in the Roman Field and thrown in the sea. Three nines of virgins sang in the city.

Event Date: -119 LA

§ 35  M. Cato, Q. Marcius consuls [A.U.C. 636]
When Cato the consul was sacrificing the main organs had decayed and the lobe of the liver could not be found. It rained milk. The earth shook with a groan. A swarm of bees settled in the Forum. There was a sacrifice from the Sibylline books.

Event Date: -118 LA

§ 36  L. Caecilius, L. Aurelius consuls [A.U.C. 637]
At Rome and nearby lightning struck many buildings. At Praeneste it rained milk. The spears of Mars in the Regia moved. At Privernum the earth in an area of seven iugera collapsed into a cave. At Saturnia a hermaphrodite ten years old was discovered and drowned in the sea. Twenty-seven virgins lustrated the city with a song. The rest of the year was peaceful.

Event Date: -117 LA

§ 37  M'. Acilius, C. Porcius consuls [A.U.C. 640]
When Publius Elvius, a Roman of the equestrian order, was returning to Apulia from the Ludi Romani, his virgin daughter, who was riding on a horse, was struck by lightning and killed, her tunic being pulled down to the groin and her tongue sticking out, as if the fire had sprung from her lower parts to her mouth. The interpretation was that this portended disgrace to young girls and to the equestrian order, because the horse trappings had been scattered. Three Vestal Virgins of the highest nobility suffered the penalty for incest together with a number of Roman knights. A temple was built to Venus Verticordia (turner of hearts).

Event Date: -114 LA

§ 38  C. Caecilius, Cn. Papirius consuls [A.U.C. 641]
The Alban Mount was seen to flame at night. A shrine and its statue were struck from the sky. The Altar of Safety was broken. The earth gaped widely in Lucania and the region of Privernum. In Gaul the sky seemed to burn. The Cimbri and Teutones crossed the Alps and inflicted a terrible slaughter on the Romans and allies.

Event Date: -113 LA

§ 39  P. Scipio, L. Calpurnius consuls [A.U.C. 643]
A great part of the city was destroyed by fire along with the temple of the Magna Mater. It rained milk for three days, and this was expiated with major sacrifices. The war with Jugurtha began.

Event Date: -111 LA

§ 40  Servius Galba, M. Scaurus consuls [A.U.C. 646]
A firebird and an owl were seen in the city. In the quarries a man was eaten by another man. From the Sibylline Books sacrifice was offered on Cimolia (?) island by thirty free-born boys with living fathers and mothers and the same number of virgins. Many thousands of people were drowned by the overflow of the Padus river and the marsh at Arretium. It rained milk twice. At Nursia twins were born to a free-born woman. the girl with all limbs intact, the boy with the following deformities: in front his abdomen was open, so that naked intestine could be seen. and behind he was solid; after one cry he died. The war against Jugurtha was carried on successfully.

Event Date: -108 LA

§ 41  Q. Servilius Caepio, C. Atilius Serranus consuls [A.U.C. 648]
At Amiternum as a baby boy was being born to a servant girl it said "Ave!" In the Perusian territory and in a few places at Rome it rained milk. Among many things struck by lightning at Atella, four fingers of a man's hand were sliced off as if with a knife. Stamped silver was melted by a flash of lightning. In the Trebulan territory a woman married to a Roman citizen was struck by lightning but did not die. A rumbling was heard in the heavens and javelins were seen to fall from the sky. It rained blood. At Rome in the daytime a flaming torch was seen flying high up in the sky. In the temple of the Lares a flame shot from the pediment to the topmost point but did no damage. The lawcourts were shared by the consul Caepio between senators and knights. Otherwise it was peaceful.

Event Date: -106 LA

§ 42  P. Rutilius, Cn. Manlius consuls [A.U.C. 649]
At Trebula Mutusca before the games got underway, while the flutist was playing, black snakes surrounded the altar. When he stopped playing they glided away. When they appeared the next day they were stoned to death by the populace. When the doors of his temple were opened, a wooden statue of Mars was found standing on its head. A Roman army was slaughtered by the Lusitanians.

Event Date: -105 LA

§ 43  C. Marius, C. Flavius consuls [A.U.C. 650]
An owl was seen outside the city. A cow spoke. At Trebula Mutusca the statue in a temple, which had an uncovered head, was found covered. At Nuceria an elm uprooted by the wind righted itself onto its roots and continued to flourish. In Lucania it rained milk, at Luna blood. At Ariminium a dog spoke. Celestial arms seemed to fight both from the sunrise and the sunset and to conquer from the sunset. On the opinion of the haruspices the people brought a money donation to Ceres and Proserpina. Twenty-seven virgins brought it singing hymns. The moon appeared in daylight with a star from the third hour to the seventh. The Thurine regions were pillaged by fugitives and deserters. The Cimbri crossed the Alps after laying waste to Spain and joined with the Teutones. A wolf entered the City. Vultures were killed on a tower by a lightning strike. In the third hour of the day a defect of the sun obscured the light. A swarm of bees settled in front of the temple of Salus. It rained milk in the Comitium. Three suns were seen in Picenum. In the Vulsinian territory a flame was seen to rise from the earth and touch the sky. In Lucania two lambs were born with horse's feet, another with an ape's head. In Tarquinia streams of milk gushed from the earth. On the opinion of the haruspices two armed olive-wood statues were erected and there was a supplication. In Macedonia the Thracians were subdued.

Event Date: -104 LA

§ 44  C. Marius, Q. Lutatius consuls [A.U.C. 652]
There was a nine day ritual, because in Tuscia it had rained stones. On the orders of the haruspices the City was lustrated. The ashes of the victims were scattered in the sea, and for nine days in accordance with the magistrates a procession of supplication was led around all the temples and municipia. The spears of Mars in the Regia moved of their own accord. It rained blood around the river Anio. A swarm of bees settled in the Forum Boarium in the small sanctuary. In Gaul in the camp a light shone at night. A free-born boy at Aricia was surrounded by flames and was not consumed. The temple of Jupiter which was closed was struck by lightning. Because he had first demonstrated its expiation the haruspex Aemilius Potensis received a reward, and for the others who concealed it, it portended death for them and their children. The pirates were destroyed in Cilicia by the Romans. The Teutones were slaughtered by Marius.

Event Date: -102 LA

§ 44a  C. Marius, M'. Aquilius consuls [A.U.C. 653]
The sacred shields rattled and moved of their own accord. A slave of Quintus Servilius Caepio emasculated himself in devotion to the Great Mother, and was shipped across the sea, that he might never return to Rome. The city was purified. A she-goat with horns ablaze was led through the city, expelled by the Naevian Gate, and abandoned. On the Aventine it rained mud. The Lusitanians were subdued, and Farther Spain enjoyed peace. The Cimbri were wiped out.

Event Date: -101 LA

§ 45  C. Marius, L. Valerius consuls [A.U.C. 654]
A blazing meteor was seen far and wide at Tarquinia, falling in a sudden plunge. At sunset a circular object like a shield was seen to sweep across from west to east. In Picenum houses were flattened in pieces by an earthquake, while some, torn from their foundations, remained standing out of plumb. A clash of arms was heard from the depths of the earth. Gilded four-horse chariots in the Forum sweated at the feet. The runaway slaves in Sicily were butchered in battles.

Event Date: -100 LA

§ 46  M. Antonius, A. Postumius consuls [A.U.C. 655]
When an owl was seen the city was lustrated. Very many buildings were destroyed by rains and a storm, and many things were struck by lightning. At Lanuvium in the temple of Juno Sospita drops of blood were seen in the goddess’ chamber. At Nursia a temple was thrown down by an earthquake. The rebellious Lusitanians were subdued. When Sextus Titius, tribune of the people, against the stubborn opposition of his colleagues was proposing a law for distributing lands to the people, two crows flying high fought so violently above the assembly that they mangled each other with their beaks and claws: the haruspices ordained that propitiatory rites of Apollo should be performed and the law under discussion withdrawn. A rumbling that seemed to rise from underground to heaven portended scarcity and famine; to Ceres and Proserpina the people gave a donation, the matrons a treasure, the virgins gifts, and the rites were sung by twenty-seven virgins. Two cypress-wood statues were erected to Queen Juno. In Lusitania the fighting was carried on successfully by the Romans.

Event Date: -99 LA

§ 47  Q. Metellus, T. Didius consuls [A.U.C. 656]
An owl was seen on the Capitol above the statues of the gods; while this was being expiated the sacrificial bull fell dead. Many things were struck by lightning. The spears of Mars in the Regia moved. It rained white chalk at the games in the theater, portending good weather and crops. It thundered in a clear sky. When the decemvirs were sacrificing at the temple of Apollo the lobe of the liver was not there, and those performing the sacrifice found a snake at the altar. A hermaphrodite was thrown into the sea. In the Circus fire spread among the soldiers’ javelins. The Spaniards were defeated in several battles.

Event Date: -98 LA

§ 48  Cn. Cornelius Lentulus, P. Licinius consuls [A.U.C. 657]
A supplication was held in the city because a hermaphrodite had been found and thrown into the sea. At Pisaurum rumblings of the earth were heard. Battlements of the wall fell down here and there without an earthquake, portending civil discord. At Nursia a statue of Jove turned to the left. Cypress-wood statues were erected to Queen Juno by twenty-seven virgins who were lustrating the city. The Celtiberians, Maedians and Dardanians were subjugated.

Event Date: -97 LA

§ 49  Cn. Domitius, C. Cassius consuls [A.U.C. 658]
A wolf got into the city and was killed in a private house. An owl was killed on the Capitolium. Many things were damaged by lightning. The gilded statues of Jupiter were thrown down together with their columns. At Faesulae the earth trickled blood. At Arretium spikes of wheat grew out of a woman’s nose. and she vomited kernels. The city was lustrated. Ptolemy. king of Egypt, died at Cyrene leaving the Roman senate and people as his heir.

Event Date: -96 LA

§ 50  L. Crassus, Q. Scaevola consuls [A.U.C. 659]
At Caere it rained milk. At Lebadia Eutychides entered the temple of Zeus Trophonius and brought out a bronze tablet on which was written matters pertaining to Roman affairs. Many animals were killed by a stroke of lightning. At Venafrum the earth subsided in a deep chasm. Vultures mangling a dead dog were killed and eaten by other vultures. A two-headed lamb, and a boy with three hands and as many feet were born at Atesta. The spears of Mars in the Regia moved. A hermaphrodite born at Urbinum was thrown into the sea. There was peace at home and abroad.

Event Date: -95 LA

§ 51  C. Caelius, L. Domitius consuls [A.U.C. 660]
There was a nine-day ritual because it rained stones among the Volsci. At Vulsinii the new moon went missing and did not reappear until the next day at the third hour. A girl with two heads. four feet, four hands, and twin female genitals was stillborn. A firebird was seen and killed. At a villa in the region of the Vestini it rained stones. A flaming torch appeared in the sky and the whole sky was seen to be on fire. The earth trickled blood. which congealed. Dogs gnawed on rocks and tiles in public. At Faesulae a huge crowd in mourning clothes and pale appearance was seen in broad daylight to walk in groups among the tombs. The Spanish chieftains who had rebelled were put to death under torture by Nasica and their cities were razed.

Event Date: -94 LA

§ 52  C. Valerius, M. Herennius consuls [A.U.C. 661]
At Rome and round about much damage was done by lightning. A servant girl gave birth to a boy with one hand. At Fregellae the temple of Neptune opened at night. When the organs of a male calf were removed two little calves were found in its belly. At Arretium a bronze statue of Mercury sweated. In Lucania a flame surrounded a flock of wethers while they were feeding, and at night in their fold, but burned nothing. At Carseoli a torrent flowed with blood. Wolves entered the city. At Praeneste wool flew about. In Apulia a she-mule gave birth. A kite was caught in the temple of Apollo at Rome. Twice when the consul Herennius was sacrificing the lobe of the liver was missing. In the course of a nine-day ritual a dinner for the goddess was eaten by a dog before it was offered. At Vulsinii at first light a flame was seen to flash in the sky; then it came together and took on a rust color; then the sky was seen to split open and tips of flame appeared in the gap. This was expiated with lustrations, successfully, since the whole year was tranquil at home and abroad.

Event Date: -93 LA

§ 53  C. Claudius, M. Perpenna consuls. [A.U.C. 662]
An owl caught in the temple of Equestrian Fortune died in its captors' hands. At Faesulae a rumbling of the earth was heard. A servant girl gave birth to a boy with no opening for making water. A woman was discovered with a double nature. A flaming torch was seen in the sky. A cow spoke. A swarm of bees settled on the roof of a private house. At Volaterrae a river trickled blood. At Rome it rained milk. At Arretium two hermaphrodites were discovered. A four-footed chicken was born. Many buildings were struck by lightning. A supplication was held. The people brought a donation to Ceres and Proserpina and twenty-seven virgins lustrated the city singing a hymn. In Macedonia the tribe of the Maedians laid waste to the province.

Event Date: -92 LA

§ 54  L. Marcius, Sex. Julius consuls [A.U.C. 663]
When Livius Drusus, the tribune of the plebs, was introducing legislation at the outbreak of the Italic war, many prodigies appeared in the city. At sunrise a ball of fire appeared in the north accompanied by a huge noise in the sky. At Arretium when they were breaking bread gore flowed from inside. Among the Vestini it rained stones and bricks for seven days. At Aenaria a flame rose from a fissure in the earth and flashed up to the sky. At Rhegium part of the city and its wall was destroyed by an earthquake. In the Spoletine region a gold-colored ball of fire rolled down to the earth, and enlarged from the earth it was seen to move off to the east, and it was so large it covered the sun. In the citadel at Cumae a statue of Apollo sweated. The temple of Pietas in the Circus Flaminius was struck, when closed, by lightning. At Asculum Romans were slaughtered during the games. When the Latins were bringing their cattle and plow animals from the countryside into the city a slaughter of men occurred here and there: the oxen were excited to such frenzy that they wrought havoc among their own masters as if attacking enemies, and weeping dogs with great emotion presaged calamity for their dear ones.

Event Date: -91 LA

§ 55  L. Julius Caesar, P. Rutilius consuls [A.U.C. 664]
Caecilia Metella in a dream saw Juno Sospita departing because her temples were defiled with unclean things; recalled by her prayers with difficulty, the goddess said that her temple had been polluted by the disgraceful and ill-omened attendance of the matrons, who allowed a dog to have its bed and litter at the foot of the statue of the goddess; a supplication of purification was held and the temple was restored to its pristine splendor. Romans were barbarously crucified by the Picentines. Defeats were suffered everywhere in Latium. Rutilius Lupus failed to find the lobe of the liver among the organs; by ignoring the rites, he lost his army and was killed in battle.

Event Date: -90 LA

§ 56  L. Sulla, Q. Pompeius consuls [A.U.C. 666]
By entering in triumph into the town of Bovianum, which he had captured, Popedius Silo showing the enemy an omen of victory since a triumph is held in a victorious, not a conquered, city. In the next battle he lost his army and his life. Prodigies appeared as Mithridates was preparing to wage war on our allies: in the camp where his senate met, crows pecked a vulture to death with their beaks; in the same place a huge star fell from the sky; the figure of Isis was seen attacking with lightning; when Mithridates was setting fire in a grove of the Furies a loud laugh was heard with no author. When, on instruction of the haruspices, he was sacrificing a virgin to the Furies, a laugh rising from the girl’s throat disrupted the sacrifice. Mithridates’ fleet was sunk by the Romans in a battle off Thessaly.

Event Date: -88 LA

§ 56a  Cn. Octavius, L. Cinna consuls. [A.U.C. 667]
While Cinna and Marius were cruelly savaging Rome with war, in the camp of Gnaeus Pompeius the sky was seen to fall, arms and standards were hit, soldiers were killed. Pompeius himself died, blasted by the star. The people tore apart his bier and the body was dragged on a hook, because during the civil disturbance he had not come to the help of his fatherland in peril, when he had both imperium and the largest army.

Event Date: -87 LA

§ 56b  L. Cinna, C. Marius consuls [A.U.C. 668]
At Piraeus when Sulla was besieging it in a lengthy effort, a soldier was killed by lightning while carrying rubble. The haruspex opined that his head, lying in the direction of the town, signified entry and victory for the Romans. Soon after Athens and Piraeus were captured by Sulla. When Ilium was burned by C. Fimbria and the temple of Minerva also caught fire, a very ancient image stood unharmed in the ruins portending hope of restoration to the town.

Event Date: -86 LA

§ 57  L. Scipio, C. Norbanus consuls [A.U.C. 671]
In the time of Sulla, between Capua and Vulturnum a huge sound of standards and weapons was heard accompanied by a terrifying noise, so that it seemed that two battle lines had met for several days. For those who observed the miraculous event more intently traces of horses and men and freshly trampled grass and bushes were seen and this portended the burden of a huge war. In Etruria at Clusium a mother of a family gave birth to a live serpent, which, on the orders of the haruspices, was thrown into the flowing water and swam across. After five years, L. Sulla returned to Italy as victor and caused great fear amongst his enemies. By the crime of a temple keeper the Capitol burnt down in one night. Because of Sulla’s cruelty, there was a cruel proscription of leading citizens. One hundred thousand men are said to have been killed in the Italian and civil war.

Event Date: -83 LA

§ 58  Mam. Aemilius, D. Brutus consuls [A.U.C. 677]
Decimus Laelius the legate of Pompey, (who had a prodigy at Rome when two snakes were seen in his wife’s bedroom, that glided away in opposite directions, and as he was sitting beside Pompey in the camp a hawk had settled on his head), was killed among the foragers while fighting in Spain against Sertorius.

Event Date: -77 LA

§ 59  Cn. Octavius, C. Scribonius consuls [A.U.C. 678]
At Reate sacred shrines in the town and the fields were shaken by an earthquake, the stones paving the forum were shattered, bridges broke, the banks of the river which flows past the city collapsed into the water, rumbling was heard from underground and after a few days, those buildings which had been shaken, collapsed. A living rock, as it was rolling along, stood motionless on a precipitous crag. In Spain a Roman army was slaughtered by Sertorius. Against the Maedians the fighting had mixed results.

Event Date: -76 LA

§ 60  C. Aurelius, L. Octavius consuls [A.U.C. 679]
When Sertorius was leading his army in Spain the following prodigy occurred: the outer side of cavalry shields and javelins and horses’ chests appeared bloody. Sertorius interpreted this as favorable to himself. because the outer part is usually stained with the enemy’s blood. The battles continued successfully for him.

Event Date: -75 LA

§ 60a  M. Varro, C. Cassius consuls [A.U.C. 681]
When Mithridates was besieging Cyzicus, Proserpina appeared to Aristagoras, the city’s chief magistrate, in a dream, telling him she had provided a trumpeter against flute players; the next day the siege towers of the enemy were thrown down by a windstorm. A sacrificial cow came down from the mountains unbidden, swam through the enemy fleet, and presented itself at the altar to be struck down.

Event Date: -73 LA

§ 61  M. Cicero, C. Antonius consuls [A.U.C. 691]
Many things were struck by lightning. At Pompeii Vargunteius was struck dead out of a clear sky. A burning beam stretched from the setting sun to heaven. All of Spoletum was shaken by an earthquake and some things collapsed. It was reported among other things that two years before on the Capitolium the wolf of Remus and Romulus had been struck by lightning and the statue of Jupiter knocked down along with its column; by the advice of the haruspices it was relocated in the Forum. The bronze tablets of the laws were struck by lightning and the letters melted. From these prodigies the sinister conspiracy of Catiline began.

Event Date: -63 LA

§ 61a  D. Iunius, L. Murena consuls [A.U.C. 692]
When the proconsul Gaius Antonius defeated Catiline in the territory of the Pistorians he brought his laureled fasces to his province. There he lost his army in an attack by the Dardanians and was forced to flee; apparently he had foretold victory for the enemy when he carried to them the laurel of victory that he should have deposited in the Capitolium.

Event Date: -62 LA

§ 62  Quintus Metellus, L. Afranius consuls [A.U.C. 694]
Though the whole day had been clear before, around the 11th hour night fell, and then the sun resumed shining. Roofs were thrown down by a whirlwind. A bridge collapsed and men were hurled into the Tiber. In the fields, a number of trees were torn up by the roots. The Lusitanians and Gallaecians were defeated.

Event Date: -60 LA

§ 63  Cn. Domitius, M. Messala consuls [A.U.C. 701]
Wolves were seen in the city. Doleful howling of dogs was heard at night. The image of Mars sweated. Lightning went around the whole city, struck several statues of the gods, and killed people. The city was lustrated. Because of Pompey's dictatorship, there was major unrest in the city.

Event Date: -53 LA

§ 64  L. Domitius, Appius Claudius consuls [A.U.C. 700]
M. Crassus advanced against the Parthians. When he was crossing the Euphrates he ignored many prodigies. When a windstorm sprang up and snatching a standard from its bearer sank it in the stream; by that and by an overflowing vessel of rain clouds he was barred from crossing. Stubbornly persisting, he died together with his son and army.

Event Date: -54 LA

§ 65  L. Paulus, C. Marcellus consuls [A.U.C. 704]
A she-mule gave birth. signifying civil discord, death of good people, change in the laws, and offspring of matrons by adultery. A fire that destroyed the greater part of the city was regarded as a prodigy. Civil war broke out between Caesar and Pompey.

Event Date: -50 LA

§ 65a  C. Caesar, P. Servilius consuls [A.U.C. 706]
As Pompey was marshaling in Macedonia his own army and the friendly tribes he had won over to fight Caesar, lightning flashed repeatedly in front of the forces coming from Dyrrachium. A swarm of bees on the standards was another portent. Panic struck the army at night. The day before the fight Pompey himself dreamed he was received with huge applause in his own theater. Then he was defeated in battle and murdered in Egypt. On that very day in many places his statues turned around spontaneously; a cry and the clash of arms was heard at Antioch. such that they twice rushed to man the walls; and it was heard at Ptolemais, and the sound of drums was heard at Pergamum. At Tralles in the temple of Victory, right at the foot of the statue of Caesar, a blooming palm tree sprang to full height between the stones of the pavement. On that same day at Patavium, when the birds were released, the augur Gaius Cornelius proclaimed that the battle was on and Caesar would win.

Event Date: -48 LA

§ 66  C. Caesar, M. Lepidus consuls [A.U.C. 708]
Pompey’s son Gnaeus saw the eagles of ten legions dropping the thunderbolts they held and flying away into the sky. The young Pompey was defeated and was killed trying to escape.

Event Date: -46 LA

§ 67  C. Caesar, M. Antonius consuls [A.U.C. 710]
For Caesar the dictator no heart was found among the sacrificed organs. His wife Calpurnia dreamt that the pediment added to their house by senatorial decree collapsed. At night the doors of their bedchamber, which were shut, opened spontaneously so the light of the moon shone in and awakened Calpurnia. Caesar, with twenty-three wounds, was killed by the conspirators in the Curia of Pompey.

Event Date: -44 LA

§ 68  M. Antonius, P. Dolabella consuls [A.U.C. 710]
By Caesar’s will, Gaius Octavius formally joined the Julian gens at Brundisium. As he was entering Rome surrounded by a huge crowd, at the third hour under a clear calm sky the sun encircled him with the end of a rainbow such as it usually arches under clouds. At the games of Venus Genetrix, which he offered on behalf of his colleague, all eyes were drawn at the 11th hour to a comet streaming in the north; because it appeared at the games of Venus, it seemed best to dedicate it as an sign of the head of the deified Julius. Although Caesar suffered much because of the monstrous malice of the consul Antony he showed a noble persistence in resisting him. There were earthquakes in rapid succession. The docks and many other places were struck by lightning. A violent whirlwind broke the limbs and threw down a statue which M. Cicero had placed in front of the cella of Minerva, on the day before he went into exile in accordance with the plebiscite; with its shoulders, arms and head broken it portended dreadful things for Cicero himself. The bronze tablets from the temple of Fides were torn off by a whirlwind. The doors of the temple of Ops were broken. Trees were uprooted and many roofs torn off. A torch in the sky seemed to move to the east. A star burned bright for seven days. Three suns shone, and around the lowest sun a crown similar to ears of grain in a circle gleamed out and afterwards when the sun had been reduced to one orb the light was dim for months. In the temple of Castor some letters from the names of the consuls Antony and Dolabella were shaken out, which indicated that both of them would be exiled from their homeland. The baying of a dog was heard during the night in front of his home, from these things especially as the dog was mutilated by the others it portended shameful infamy to Lepidus. At Hostia a school of fish was left on dry land by the flow of the sea. The Padus flooded and when it subsided inside its banks it left a large number of vipers. There was civil war between Antony and Caesar.

Event Date: -44 LA

§ 69  C. Pansa, A. Hirtius consuls [A.U.C. 711]
When Caesar was sacrificing after honors and imperium against Antonius had been decreed, two sets of organs appeared. Prosperous events followed it. An equestrian statue of Pansa the consul fell down at the house of (Antonius?). A decorated horse, galloping, fell down in his sight. One of the people who had slipped in the blood of the victims gave him a palm spattered with gore as he was starting out. These were the dire portents that as soon as he began fighting against Antonius he was mortally wounded. An appearance of arms and missiles seemed to be borne with a loud noise from the land to the sky. Legionary standards left by Pansa at the City praesidium were seen wrapped in spider webs as if they had long sat there unused. Several things were hit by lightning. In the camp of Caesar at first light an eagle sat on the peak of the praetorium above the lintel; whence, aroused by smaller circling birds it flew out of sight. A voice was heard at the oracle of Apollo saying "madness of wolves in winter, in summer no grain harvested." When Caesar's veterans demanded his consulate there was a terrible uproar in Rome. When Caesar was leading his army into the Campus Martius six vultures appeared. And when he was ascending the rostrum as consul again six vultures were seen as if they were giving a sign to Romulus with the auspices for founding a new city. After the reconciliation between Caesar, Antonius, and Lepidus there was a harsh proscription of leading citizens.

Event Date: -43 LA

§ 70  M. Lepidus, Munatius Plancus consuls [A.U.C. 712]
A she-mule at Rome gave birth at the twelve gates. The dead dog of a temple attendant was dragged away by a dog. A light shone at night so brightly that people got up to work as if day had broken. in Mutina the statue of Marian victory facing south turned of its own volition to face north at the fourth hour. While these things were being expiated with sacrifices, three suns were seen in a circle at the third hour, and suddenly shrank into one sphere. When on the Alban Mount they were sacrificing in the Latin rites, gore dripped from the upper arm and thumb of Jove. The war was waged by Cassius and Brutus in the provinces by plundering the allies. It is noted as a prodigy that P. Titius the praetor abrogated his colleague in office because of dissensions; and he died before the year was over. It was noted that no one who had withdrawn his colleague in office survived the year. They were the following: Lucius Junius Brutus consul by Tarquinius Collatinus, Tib. Gracchus by M. Octavius, Cn. Octavius by L. Cinna, C. Cinna the tribune of the plebs by C. Marullus, Tullius... When Brutus and Cassius were going out to battle against Caesar and Antonius, a swarm of bees settled in the camp of Cassius. By order of the haruspices, the place was closed off by a wall. A huge flock of vultures and other birds whose food is slaughtered corpses flew over the army. A boy being carried in the procession of Victoria fell from the litter. At the lustration the lictor put the laurel on with the fasces reversed. While the soldiers of Brutus were going out to battle they encountered an Ethiopian at the gate, and he was killed by the soldiers. Cassius and Brutus died.

Event Date: -42 LA

§ 71  C. Furnius, C. Silanus consuls [A.U.C. 737]
In the villa of Livia, the wife of Caesar, below the Apennines, the earth was shaken by a huge movement. A heavenly torch stretching from south to north made the night like daylight. A tower of the gardens of Caesar at the Colline Gate were struck from the sky. By the wiles of the Germans the Romans under M. Lollius the legate were surrounded and seriously harmed.

Event Date: -17 LA

§ 72  Paulus Fabius, Q. Aelius consuls [A.U.C. 743]
In Germania in the camp of Drusus a swarm of bees settled in the tent of Hostilius Rufus, the camp prefect, in such a way as to wrap around the stretched rope and poles of the awning. A multitude of Romans were done in by treachery.

Event Date: -11 LA
Event Date: 2017

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